A Perfect Night at Fenway Park

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FENWAY PARK, BOSTON — We have returned to the shrine of my youth after a three-year hiatus caused by the pandemic and a move to the country in the middle of last summer that precluded any opportunities to travel. It was worth the wait.

My Beautiful Mystery Companion and I are seated on the third base side, in prime foul-ball territory about 10 rows from the field. Several of the fans, both adults and children, have brought baseball gloves to the park in hopes of snagging a souvenir. If I somehow catch one, I’ll give it to the cute little boy behind us. (I didn’t.)

The Red Sox uniforms when at home honor Ukraine — yellow jerseys with blue lettering, and blue caps. This is a touching gesture, in my view. Displaced Ukrainians are arriving daily in Massachusetts, according to published reports, joining emigrants already living in Boston and the many outlying towns.


I have watched games in this venerable park, which turned 90 this year, for at least 55 years. Memory is hazy beyond that, but I know where I was in September 1967: In right field with my dad and best N.H. friend, Bruce Courtemanche. It was the next-to-last game of the season. Improbably, the Red Sox could tie the Minnesota Twins with a win for the pennant and have a chance to clinch on the final day, sending them to the World Series for the first time since 1946. They had finished last or next-to-last for most of the previous decade. Their rise to the top was dubbed “The Impossible Dream” in a bit of marketing magic.

We were there because my dad bought tickets early in the season as a treat, none of us never dreaming the lowly Sox would be battling for the pennant. They won that game as we cheered from right field and held up a banner that Bruce and I painted.

I have lost track of how many times I have visited Fenway. Maybe 20? I went to the first game of the 2007 World Series, a pricey trip but one to scratch off the bucket list. Five years ago, my BMC shelled out for the best seats we have ever had, five rows behind home plate. We soon became temporary friends with four guys from the Boston area sitting behind us and keeping us entertained with their colorful insults. Boston fans are not shy about expressing their opinions, most of which I am reluctant to commit to print. These guys were hilarious without being vulgar. We took a group photo after the game ended.


On this early summer night, the dad behind us is clearly knowledgeable about the game, explaining the intricacies to his son, who looks to be about 6. Although I rarely watch a game until the playoffs begin — and only if Boston is involved — I keep up daily online. The Red Sox started slowly in April, quickly finding themselves in last place and several games under .500. But they have come back nicely and now find themselves in second place, though the Yankees have a 13-game lead. I’m hoping we can just grab a wild-card spot. If that happens, anything goes.

It is simply lovely to be back in this ballpark, especially on a cool summer night, taking in the familiar surroundings that have changed little in my decades visiting. I am actually wearing a long-sleeved Sox shirt and a windbreaker, while my BMC decided the cool breeze justified buying a new Sox hoodie before the game begins. She looks adorable in it. We grab a couple of Sam Adams beers and split a large sausage frank, covered in grilled onions, mustard and relish. Somehow, I manage not to spill any of it on myself. This is perhaps a first.

The Tigers were in town, and the Sox jumped to an early lead and never looked back. We headed out after the crowd sang “Sweet Caroline” in the middle of the eighth inning, a tradition that began sporadically in 1997 and became a fixture in 2002. It’s sweet and goofy, and we participated with gusto. Then we slowly made our way down the concrete ramps to Landsdowne Street, keeping a watchful eye on the TV monitors in case things went south in the game. They didn’t.

It was past 10 p.m., and we had a 2-mile walk ahead of us to our hotel room. A perfect night for a long walk.

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