“If you're going to Boston, you have to catch a ball game” was the advice of a good friend. No problem, I used to play baseball and what better team to check out and ground to visit than the hallowed turf of Fenway Park.
Fenway is the oldest ballpark still in use today being over one hundred years old. Judging by a few of the characters lurking around pre-game, the fan base is almost as old. Ball parks are curious things if you are used to others sports; soccer, grid iron or aussie rules. The first thing that you notice is how small the filed really is; a couple of good kicks and a handball from end to end. Secondly, the crowd is close enough to the first and third bases to be able to 'sledge' really effectively if they chose. This is the US so that is not a problem.
We took the guided tour on the Friday with the intention of seeing the game that night. Hurricane Andrea ensured that enough rain was dumped on us to rule out any possability of a game being played. Our game was rescheduled for the following day at 1pm. The players still had to front up again that night for the scheduled match. Any other sporting code and that might be a tall order but with baseball, aerobic stamina isn't an issue, a bit like cricket really.
I used to play baseball (believe it or not) and it was nothing like the spectacle of Kenway. The noise of the crowd, the announcer, numerous “now please stand….” for various things and endless calls from the concession vendors racing up and down the stands. “Candy”, “Pop”, “Nuts”, “Jacks”, “Lemonade” and on and on the ceasless procession of feed went. The nut guy was my favourite. 10 rows back he would see someone think about nuts and toss a bag with pin point accuracy. By the time the guy had reached that isle, the cash was ready to go. The vendors all had the prices on a button on their shirts. Even the tip was built in as as the prices was typically $X.50. No one asked for change. Now if they were to match the aerobic fitness of these guys compared to the baseball players, I know who I'd have my money on.
The American national anthem was written by a musical sadist as the obviously talented young woman who had the priviledge of singing it, strained to hit the anthem's high notes. Maybe the 5 YO boy who got the mic to call out “play ball” would have had a good shot at the high notes. Castrato's had their place after all.
Boston went down to LA 5:9 but redeemed themselves that night; of course we were not there to watch. Whilst the baseball was great to watch, most of the crowd used the game as a social event, catching up with friends, spending time with family and the actual action on the field merely serves as the backdrop to a 'day at the ball game'.