Park # 175
What I Remember
For better or worse, In League with America is not a book about baseball parks. It tells the story of two young people that visited an awful lot of them and their adventures along the way, but not much is written about most of the ballparks themselves. Fenway Park in Boston is an exception and so, to avoid writing again what I have already written, here is a passage from the draft of Chapter 9 – The Sun Set in Tucson.
If you have never been to Fenway Park in Boston you should go. It is a living museum of baseball although it is not quite the same experience it once was. When I lived in Boston in the mid-1980s the Red Sox were coming out of a period of mostly mediocre teams and, although they had been in the World Series the year before, I remember watching the Sox on television a few times in the neighborhood I lived in a couple of miles away and deciding, on a whim, to take “the T” down to the park, buy a cheap ticket and watch the end of the game live.
Three World Series titles later, tickets are hard to come by in Boston and the fans who had once resigned themselves to the Curse of the Bambino regularly have high expectations. If you pay the requisite fortune to get a ticket and go to a game at Fenway, you might be forgiven for having high expectations yourself – perhaps you would upgrade to sit in the new bleachers on top of the Green Monster. Maybe you would sit behind home plate or in a skybox and order craft beers and lobster rolls. But if you did, you might just walk out on to Lansdowne Street at the end of the game and wonder what all the fuss had been about. Fenway isn’t magical because it’s fancy. It is magical because it isn’t. There are all kinds of weird angles and sightlines. The old seats are too small and there are a few in which a pole blocks your view from home plate. But Fenway Park is the last remnant, even more than Wrigley, of an era in which baseball was every man (and woman’s) game, a game played just down the street, not on the edge of town next to an Interstate highway.
The walls of the hallways and concession areas under the stands were painted in a strange hue of light green, not far from the color of the Statue Of Liberty and, for whatever reason, I happened to be shooting some of that paint peeling on the October night Sue and I came to town. I came across some cobwebs on the ceiling and made a comment on the tape about it being an old park and pointed out the cobwebs, but I also added that it was an amazing place. I don’t think I knew at the time how amazing. As a lifelong Baltimore Orioles fan, I will confess that I came to resent the success that the Red Sox have had in the years since “breaking the curse” in 2004. Everyone in these parts seemed to be wearing Red Sox gear, even people who I am pretty sure never went to games before the 2004 World Series. But I never stopped being amazed by Fenway. It was designed to become a part of the city of Boston, not an escape from it, and was the truest representation of the central thesis behind our trip, that you could see and experience America through its baseball parks.
Boston Red Sox 5 Detroit Tigers 3
A Note about this Site
This site is intended to be a companion to the upcoming book In League with America. Although some games were particularly notable and will appear in the book, most of the results of the 199 games we saw over the course of the 1991 season will not. Our journey was never really intended to be about the games themselves, it was about the places we saw and the people we met along the way.
However, there is now an historic nature to the results from this season. All of the players we saw then, even in the minors, have long since retired. Some of the players we saw at Class A are now members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. These pages, then, will function as kind of a digital appendix with a brief recollection of each day, the result of the game(s) we saw that day and a map of our daily drive.