Monday, May 29, 2000
(Originally posted on Squeezebunt.com in 2000. It turns out Old Fenway is still there five years later.)
The ballpark may not be there five years from now, so every visit to Fenway Park is another chance to soak it all in one more time before the wrecking ball comes. Much of a Fenway visit, from the ride on the packed Green Line trolley to the odd way your seat is situated, can be viewed as either horrible or charming. The new ballpark is supposed to be built adjoining the current property so the Green Line ride probably isn't going to change, but the seating areas will be more logical.
I caught the Red Sox on consecutive weekend days recently, two bad days as it turned out. Nomar Garciaparra was on the disabled list, Pedro Martinez wasn't scheduled to pitch, it was cold and cloudy, and the home team managed to lose twice in a row (to the Tigers) at Fenway for the first time this season. I didn't do much camera work at these games but did try out a new wide angle zoom lens (17-35mm for those who care about such things), so that's what you see on this page.
On the first day, our seats were in the centerfield bleachers. This offers an excellent view of the field, much better than the somewhat more expensive seats down the right field line. Despite stern posted warnings about ejections, beach balls were flying around in abundance. Along with "The Wave" and all forms of arena rock ("We will we will rock you....") one can only hope that some day this idiotic activity will pass into history.
Given that the primary activity of many bleacher denizens was trooping down the stairs to fetch two beers every inning or so, it was ironic that the following day my seat was down the left field line in the beer-free seating area. There is no ramp to Section 33, so fans either have to go up and around, or climb over the fans in Row 1 of Section 32. This gets old in a hurry, so it's obvious why these sections were chosen to be the "family" area – no beer traffic. The view from this area is unique as you are looking almost directly down the foul line and the Green Monster looms just over your left shoulder. You can also get up and roam around the rest of Fenway Park, an opportunity you don't have with a bleacher seat.
I also managed a trip to Turner Field in Atlanta last month, but can't prove it with any photos. I tried the $5 seats in the right field upper deck for a Dodgers-Braves game and can only say the view of downtown Atlanta from this area is very good. They even sell a few $1 tickets to each game, an idea I'm guessing the Braves stole from the Diamondbacks.
Subtlety is rarely an attribute of anything with "Turner" attached to it. Considering that the Braves have spring training at Walt Disney World, it's not too surprising that Turner Field resembles an amusement park. You can decide for yourself whether that's a good thing.
Andres Galarraga seems to be a shoo-in for Comeback Player of the Year. On this night he hit a homer (as did Andruw Jones and Chipper Jones) to lead the Braves to victory during the middle of their 15-game winning streak. The Dodgers looked pretty hapless, but as of this writing the Dodgers are only five games behind Arizona and 1/2 game out of the Wild Card.
Coming up next month is a trip to the Big Ballpark in the Bronx for a Yankees-Mets matchup. That will be great, but I'm also looking forward to the start of the Cape Cod League season. To me it's usually more fun to get good photos of top college prospects than to get distant bleacher views of Mike Piazza and Derek Jeter. Speaking of beer, the Yankees just banned beer in their bleacher section, so once again it looks like a beer-free day.
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