“Hey batta batta…”

Sure, there’s the clam chowder, Ivy League schools, and a thick, distinct accent, but you can’t talk about Boston without acknowledging its huge sporting motif. It’s a big sports town: both professional and college leagues of baseball, basketball, football, and hockey coming out the wazoo.

And you can’t live as long as I have in Boston and not check out at least one Red Sox game. I’ve done just that and ironically, for 9 of the 11 years that I’ve been in Boston, I lived literally just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Fenway Park stadium. But last week I did something I didn’t imagine I’d ever do: I caved attended a baseball game. A good friend enticed me with tickets in the owner’s box – an offer I couldn’t refuse. It’s part of the local culture. And when in Boston, do as the locals…


I take issue with the sport itself, or rather, the game. I know the ground rules … yeah, I got ‘em … but I still don’t like it. Soccer has always been my sport of choice, and with the current World Cup fever running rampant, I’m in good company. I like its speed, the strategy, and the realistic duration of a match …whereas I find baseball drags needlessly… But I digress.

As opposed to a megaplex outside of the city, I do like the fact that this classic ballpark is located in an urban neighbourhood, though its constrained location creates parking nightmares and its renovations and additions over the years are limited in scope and quirky in form. It is the only one of the original standard ballparks that is still in use. (Actually, they say that about the subway here too, the ‘Green Line’, which, in my humble opinion, is nothing to brag about). The park has also been the site of some cultural events, concerts where outsiders like myself are camped outside, partaking in a little Springsteen, par example…


I’ve always dreaded all things baseball: walking past cheesy souvenir shops (Yankees suck! T-shirts: the rivalry is positively cutting) and hotdog/pretzel stands, profuse sports bars filled to the brim with ‘cap people’, inhaling the smell of beer-soaked pavements the morning after a game. Many a time I’ve been that one lone unfortunate soldier walking home against the current just moments after the crowds exited the stands – the most miserable person of the lot.

But to my surprise, I enjoyed the event more than I expected. Sitting in the A/C infused ‘fishbowl’, snacking on chicken tenders and Caesar salad, sure, the game was fun. All 4 hours of it. I participated in a couple of rounds of ‘the wave’; cheered and booed at the appropriate times; stood for the national anthem… Perhaps even more than the other sports’, baseball fans here are hard-core and their dedicated, steadfast support is admirable. Every Red Sox home game has sold out. It could be minutes leading up to start-time, with torrential rains, and still, the masses would be sweeping in, buses with hordes of out-of-towners descending upon the site, public parking attendants waving the cars in with their orange flags and $40/game signs…

I do have a beef with the term ‘World Series’ but I won’t get into that here, and risk alienating my readers!

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2 responses to ““Hey batta batta…”

  1. Nikkola James

    Steph, I think you’d appreciate baseball more if you attended in an area where it’s still just a game, not a religion. As an adult I’ve had the great fortune of attending some minor league games (like the Durham Bulls) & it almost makes you like baseball. But it definately let’s you appreciate life. Relaxing (with a beer is optional) as the innings go by. Kids can enjoy the game without obscene vocabulary builders. It’s quite a pleasant experience. You should definately try it sometime. Oh & the most expensive seat in the house is maybe $20 as opposed to $40 standing room only. So you can actually offer to buy the peanuts & cracker jacks for the full experience.

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    • Nik, I think you’re totally right. It’s indeed a religion (!) in Beantown – yet the experience was fun enough to make me want to try another venue so I’ll give it a go. Thanks for reading, lady!

      Like

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