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Baseball’s big in Boston: touring Fenway Park

Ask anyone in Boston, Massachusetts directions somewhere or the price of something in a store, and you’ll eventually find yourself talking about last night’s Red Sox baseball game. It doesn’t take long when in the city to realize why they call it “Red Sox Nation.” The city is always abuzz with talk of the team, and game day or not, you see people wearing BoSox gear everywhere, even at a Bruins playoff hockey game. In this city, it is clear that baseball isn’t only their pastime, it’s also their passion.

Even as a fan of another baseball team, it’s hard not to be captivated by such a historic franchise and their passionate fans. And while many baseball teams have moved out of their aging stadiums and into sleeker, modern ones over the years, the Red Sox have remained at the charming Fenway Park. Built in 1912, it is the oldest Major League ballpark still in use, and it’s definitely worth a visit and a tour.

Yup, that's a seat

The hour-long tour takes you through several sections of stadium to experience the different types of seats and views. Unlike newer ballparks, the Grandstand section at Fenway still has old wooden seats, some of which don’t have springs in them to fold back up. While a little uncomfortable, these seats are a warmer alternative in chilly weather to the metal ones in other parts of the park. This particular section in other baseball stadiums may seem far away from the field, but at Fenway, you feel a lot closer to the action because it has a much smaller capacity.

The tour even takes you to the seats atop the 37 foot high Green Monster. These green swivel chairs were added in 2003 and are available to fans through the lottery system. Not only can you touch the famed Green Monster from this section, but it also provides a spectacular panoramic view of the field. These seats are definitely not for those who are scared of heights, however, or for those who don’t want to get too over-heated in the summer.

In addition to venturing into the different sections at Fenway, the tour guide also tells visitors other unique features about the ballpark. The old-time scoreboard, for example, is manually-operated from behind the wall for the American League games, and on the field between innings for the National League ones. There is also a lone red seat in the right field bleachers which marks the longest home run ever hit in the ballpark (by Ted Williams).

Touring the historic Fenway Park is one thing, but attending a game there is an entirely different experience. The atmosphere and energy in this stadium on game day is unsurpassed and can give even non-baseball fans chills. Well before the first pitch is even thrown out, loyal Red Sox supporters, with baseball gloves in hand, talk about their team and the match-up with such intensity you’d think it’s the deciding game of the World Series, not just one of 162 in a long baseball season. Seeing how emphatic Red Sox fans in Boston are day in, day out, it’s unimaginable what the city was like after finally winning the World Series in 2004 after an 86-year drought.

While everyone is used to seeing the traditional peanuts and Cracker Jacks sold at ballparks, what is unique about Fenway Park is that they sell clam chowder as well. It’s a hearty New England staple, and the perfect food for chilly nights at the game. And those brisk Atlantic winds make for very chilly nights.

It’s also commonplace to see fans singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch at baseball stadiums. While they do that in Boston too, this song takes the back seat to “Sweet Caroline” played in the eighth inning. Seeing 37,000 fans get up on their feet to belt out every word of that song with such enthusiasm, you’d think you’re at a Neil Diamond concert instead of a baseball match. I guess when you’re taking in a game at the historic Fenway Park with Red Sox Nation, good times never seem so good.

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