Take Me Out To The Ball Game

Trip Start Mar 10, 2011
Trip End May 05, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Massachusetts
Friday, April 8, 2011

I have to admit, I have never quite understood Baseball. The rules are simple enough, but the format seemed slow, uneventful and burdened with the constant taint of steroid abuse.  Nonetheless, despite my suspicion I have been told many times that unless one was to attend a live game, the magic of the game could not be appreciated.
So it seems rather serendipitous that I arrived in Boston for Opening Weekend at Fenway Park.  To set the scene for all you non-fans.  Opening Weekend means that baseball mad Boston has been deprived of its most loved sports team for the winter, desperate for a fix.  Fenway Park is America's oldest stadium still in operation, with idiosyncracies of a bygone age such as a small capacity and a odd defect in left field - the famous Green Monster.  The opponent was the New York Yankees.  The rivalry between Redsox and Yankees it is said, is the deepest and most intense of all sports in the USA (for Melbournians, think Carlton Collingwood). Amazingly, every game at Fenway has been sold out since 2003.  So imagine my surprise when I managed to find some seats in the corner of right field (never mind the near astronomical price).  Also, the stakes were high for the Redsox, who were looking for a promising year but had yet to win in their first six games.   
I woke late, and slid into the stream of Redsox fans along the Fen, crossing the river I caught sight of my destination.  What is remarkable was actually how small this place was and how easy it was to navigate among the crowds. I found my seat amongst a group of die-hard Redsox fans (I'm not sure there is any other type) and watched as the crowd filtered into their seats and the electricity charged.
The game was started by a flyover,  it was continued by a pitch from a Redsox legend and reached a feverish pitch by the time the players reached the field.  During the game, everywhere I looked fans were on their feet.  Chants of "Yankees suck!" and "Let's go Redsox" rang deafeningly.  For the few unfortunate Yankees fans loving jests were fired and returned in volleys, but the spirit never wandered from a friendly banter. When the final innings arrived I could no longer hear my own thoughts through the roar.  The entire stadium shook with the claps and holler of the thirty thousand strong crowd. The Redsox had won, although the results seemed irrelevant to the outcome and the energy continued to pour unabated into the streets.
I left today with a new sense of appreciation for this tradition.  I have no doubt there are those who take the competition more seriously, but for the afternoon I spent at Fenway I knew why Baseball was America's favourite game.
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