As I planned my recent trip to Boston, touring Fenway Park was minimally on my radar. But when a walk through Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood led me straight to the ballpark, I thought it was too good of an opportunity to miss.
A longtime baseball fan, I grew up watching the Minnesota Twins play baseball in the infamous Metrodome. It wasn’t until I moved to Chicago and attended my first games at Wrigley Field that I finally enjoyed this magical concept of outdoor baseball. I even made it to a game at Fenway back in 2006 when I was in Boston for a conference. In a wonderful coincidence, they were playing the Twins when I was in town and I still remember the crowd giving Torii Hunter a great reception after he made a leaping grab of what would have been a Red Sox home run. I thought it was really classy and it made me feel that Boston fans were “true” baseball fans.
Fenway is the oldest ballpark in baseball, beating out Wrigley by just a couple years. Our tour began in the lower concourse level, where we got a look at the original Boston Strong jersey before moving on to see several ticket booths filled with memorabilia from years gone by. Then it was a quick stop into the visitors’ locker room, which was horrible nondescript. I almost wondered if it was really the real visitors’ locker room.
From there, we headed upstairs, passing by logos on the walls of the concourse from Boston’s past World Series’ championships, the guide aptly pointing out that after winning so many in the early twentieth century, they decided to take a break for a few decades and let everyone else catch up.
Next, we headed outside. Our guide instructed us to sit side by side in the original blue seats that fill part of the stadium. As we squirmed and squished our way into the narrow seats, we heard some more of the history of the Red Sox franchise, including the history of the Fenway Park and the famous Green Monster – the wall out in left field. And even though I had sat in these old seats in 2006, they felt a lot smaller this time around. I can’t even imagine sitting through an entire game in those seats!
From there, we made our way to the Green Monster, which now features seats up on top (I admit, I had no idea!). These seats are in extremely high demand due to the great views and the novelty, but are available only through a lottery system. Our guide warned that they can also be a bit dangerous as home run balls may come flying at you throughout the game.
After the Green Monster, we hit up the press box, which provided another great view of the entire field – and a chance to warm up a bit. Then was a quick walk through the Red Sox Hall of Fame, the highlight of which was a plaque honoring a “top moment” at Fenway by former Minnesota Twin Tom Brunansky. I also chuckled when our guide completely butchered the pronunciation of another former Twin’s name – Doug Mientkiewicz. Boston is kind of where former Minnesota athletes go to finally win championships (see also: David Ortiz, Kevin Garnett). But I digress…
The tour wound up with the chance to see the Red Sox World Series championship trophies and championship rings from 2004 and 2007. Altogether, the Fenway Park tour lasted just under an hour, but at $16, I thought it was well worth it. And if you’re a baseball fan, I would say it’s a can’t miss when you visit Boston.