I have decided that I can happily live the rest of my life without ever attending another Red Sox game. Ever.
In between sitting in my uncle’s company’s seats, I would often get invited to games with friends and the ungrateful daughter-of-a-bitch that I was, secretly complained about the terrible seats in the bleachers or the nose-bleed section. For me, just being there was never good enough, as it was/is for so many other people. My uncle’s seats ruined me.
Or did they? Dare I say it, but maybe the Sox winning the World Series ruined everything for me. I know this theory is 5 years old now, but I really haven’t spent much time inside Fenway since they won the World Series in ’04, so it’s taken me a bit longer to come to this conclusion.
For the past 5 years, I’ve only averaged about 1 game per season because we no longer have my uncle’s hook-up and people now have to re-mortgage their houses to take a family of 4 to a game. Our token 1 game per season is usually a gift, one that I am genuinely excited about each and every time I receive it.
My most recent trip to Fenway Park occurred last Friday night when the Sox played Tampa Bay. Driving south on 93 towards Fenway, Matt and I contemplated driving all the way in, parking somewhere and taking the T or parking somewhere and taking a cab the rest of the way in. Because I despise public transportation, Matt immediately ruled that option out; however, much to his surprise (and even more so my own), I was having a rational moment. Even better, it was a financially rational moment, at that! If I had a nickel for every time I’ve made a good money decision, I’d have 10 cents.
Since we were making pretty good time, I suggested we park at Sullivan Station and take the T to Kenmore. As soon as we descended the stairs at Sullivan, I noticed that someone had thrown up Red Sox all over the boarding area and I had to fight the urge to turn around. We were, literally, the only 2 people NOT wearing Red Sox paraphernalia. Of course, the non-conformist in me does this on purpose. But I STILL can’t understand why more people don’t follow suit. There is no need to prove that you are a Red Sox fan in the one area that is so blatantly predominantly Red Sox fans. You wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a band t-shirt to a concert, would you? (If you just answered “yes” then, I’m sorry, but we have to break up.)
Clearly the vomit has the same destination that we do, so we know that we will be surrounded by vomit for the duration of our evening. It is going to be a long night. As we deboard the train and make our way towards Landsdowne St., I wonder why I didn’t sell the damn tickets for a profit. I begin to think of a million other places I’d rather be: sitting in traffic somewhere, waiting in line at the post office, listening to Laid by James, driving around in a Mustang, watching Scary Movie, doing shots of Jagermeister at Rev Rock Bar with douchebags wearing Ed Hardy shirts…
Then I remember something. Of the 5 games that I’ve been to in the past 5 years, I’ve probably only spent a total of 9 innings inside the park. Seriously, 9 out of 45innings. I know that is not something I should be proud of. In fact, I suddenly feel an overwhelming sense of guilt as I think of all the people who would appreciate these tickets so much more than me.
So, why would I continuously spend money on tickets or accept tickets from someone else who spent that money when I know that a premature exit is planned? Well, the reason I go is because I have such fond memories of attending Red Sox games when I was younger and also because I’m having a hard time accepting the fact that the Fenway experience has changed since 2004. The reasons I leave early vary from game to game. It might be that the weather was crappy or the Sox were getting crushed or I realized I just dropped $9 on a terrible light beer when I could’ve had a delicious Belgian beer for the same amount, if not less, across the street. But, most often, the deciding factor is the clientele at Fenway Park. That’s right, the fans. Like New Year’s Eve and St. Patty’s Day, a Red Sox game (Friday or Saturday night, especially) may as well be amateur night out. I swear these fans did not exist in 2003 when I could actually get a seat on the green line and order a beer at a Kenmore Square bar an hour before the first pitch. Some people might argue that I’ve simply grown too old for the Fenway scene. But I disagree. The Fenway Park of today is not the same beloved Fenway Park from the 80s and 90s. It has morphed into the antithesis of my “scene.”
And here’s why…
1. Overpriced tickets, food & beer.
Worse: Missing an entire inning to waiting in line for overpriced food & beer.
2. Uncomfortable seats.
Worse: Uncomfortable seats with an obstructed view.
3. Waiting a painfully long time to use the bathroom.
Worse: Getting to the front of the line and realizing that peeing your pants would’ve been more sanitary than peeing in one of the stalls.
4. Being amongst a noticeably non-diverse crowd.
Worse: Being amongst a noticeably non-diverse crowd rooting for a noticeably non-diverse professional baseball team.
5. Red Sox face paint.
Worse: Red Sox tattoos.
6. The “Yankees Suck” chant.
Worse: The “Yankees Suck” chant when the Yankees aren’t in town.
7. Sweet Caroline.
Worse: The Dropkick Murphys.
8. Pink hats.
Worse: Groups of girls pretending to be Sox fans when really they just want to chat and have men admire them.
9. Dudes wearing shorts with tube socks.
Who knows, maybe I’ll change my mind after having a few kids. When you have kids, you’re better off following the opposite schedule that Matt has devised: bring the kids early for batting practice, try to get a few autographs and then bail after the 3rd inning. For now, I’m much more content watching the Sox from the comfort of my own couch. Watching from home, I actually see more of the game and I don’t have to spend a dime if I don’t want to. The best part, however, is that I can control the quality of the people that surround me.