Monday, July 7, 2008

Day 29 - At a Green Shrine

July 5 - The rest of the family took a day off from sightseeing. I took advantage of my lone opportunity to see a shrine - Fenway Park, the oldest baseball stadium in America. By 8:30 a.m. I was on the hotel shuttle to the train station. An hour later I was in the Red Sox gift shop with my wristband for the 10 a.m. tour. My timing was excellent as within 10 minutes both the 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. tours, the last two of the day, were sold out.

The outside of Fenway Park is nothing special, but the inside is amazing, particularly for a stadium that opened almost 100 years ago in 1912. The current management has done a great job updating the facility for the benefit of the fans, and to a great extent has avoided the relentless marketing that mars many other sports venues. Our guide told the stories of the Green Monster (the 37' high left field wall that by itself is synonymous with Fenway Park), the pervasive green color of the stadium (it's called Fenway Green, and it's trademarked), the fire that burned down a set of bleachers (which weren't removed or repaired because the team was broke at the time), the 502' home run hit by Ted Williams in 1946 that "knocked some sense" into a sleeping Yankee fan. At the end of the tour I coaxed one more story by asking to "go inside the Green Monster", where the operators of the manual scoreboard do their work. She said that not even she had been inside, but there wasn't much to see - a four-foot wide hallway with one electric light bulb and a laptop computer, no heat or A/C, and no rest room. Still, the scoreboard operators have missed a total of three games in 14 years, and 300 names are on a list to fill in for them.

I took a lot of pictures, but forgot to ask someone to take a picture of me, so I bought the souvenir shot--something I try hard not to do--but hey, it's Fenway Park--who knows if I'll get back here.

The girls came down to the ballpark area for lunch in a sports bar. We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing at the hotel. Dinner came at a strange venue up the street, Cafe Ascari at F1 Boston. F1 Boston is an elaborate go-kart track, where adults and kids pay $28 per race to run 15 laps around a serpentine go-kart track in vehicles that can reach about 35 mph. I wish I'd brought my camera, about the only time I decided to leave it at the hotel - I figured, what could I see at another restaurant? My bad.

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