How Did a Yankees Fan Like His First Game at Fenway Park?
Yankees-Red Sox. In the annals of heated rivalries, this may only be surpassed in intensity by Donald Trump and modesty.
A lifelong New York Yankees fan, I have never made the trek to Beantown to see a game at Fenway Park. That all changed recently when the fighting-for-their-pennant-lives Bronx Bombers pulled into Boston to square off against the fighting-to-avoid-last place Red Sox.
Decked out in my Yankees jersey and hat (thank you, New York Yankees Fantasy Camp!), I walked into Fenway on the kind of warm early September day that teases you into thinking summer will never end. I didn't know what to expect. Would I be booed? Would someone hurl a Fenway Frank in my face? Would I be drop-kicked all the way to TD Garden?
As it turned out, I was safer than if I'd been holed up in a suit of body armor while locked in a panic room.
The Yankees quickly erased an early 1-0 Sawx lead with an impressive 8-run second inning that essentially squeezed all the energy out of the afternoon crowd on hand. Boston staged a valiant comeback and showed signs of life late, but, it was all for naught as the Bronx Bombers held on for a 13-8 win.
The combination of the Red Sox being well out of the playoff conversation with the Yankees pulling out to an insurmountable early lead made the experience a lot less intense than I thought it would be. Fans of last place teams simply cannot get worked up when trailing by 10 runs, especially when it's at the hands of your most bitter rival.
Even the traditional playing of "Sweet Caroline" left a lot to be desired (and this Yankees fan irked). Note the empty seats and the roar of indifference among the fans sitting in my section. Who'da thunk that Red Sox fans would be more interested in checking their cell phones than taking part in one of Major League Baseball's most well-known traditions?
The one-sided affair made my brief time at Fenway Park, which opened in 1912, rather uneventful. I certainly appreciated the history of the landmark. In an era marked by new stadiums across the country, this felt different. From the narrow concourse to the seats which felt as if they were right on top of one another, this is definitely a park from a different time. I may be a Yankees fan, but I can truly say it was a refreshing throwback.
The final verdict? The Yankees won, so, naturally, I was a happy camper, but I was also left with a sense of longing. If this game had been played in 2003 or 2004, you can bet the atmosphere would've been choked with tension and I may not have felt so safe in my Yankees get-up (although, there is safety in numbers -- there were lots of Yankees fans at the game, just as I've seen lots of Red Sox fans at Yankees games).
When the Sox get back on track -- history, of course, suggests they will -- and find themselves in a pennant race with the Yanks again, I'll have to make another pilgrimage up here to feel the intensity in person.
I can't wait.