The Fenway Park Experience

Ale Xander

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Speaking of jerseys, on Saturday like 40% of the jerseys were the city connect. Hopefully by 4/22 or so, it should be less. Unless they’re petitioning to change team name to the Yellow Sox.
 

8slim

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I was also surprised that their seemed to zero jerseys with historical names on them - Yaz or Williams or Fisk or something like that. Maybe I was just in the wrong place, maybe I have already bought all the Red Sox gear I will ever need, but nothing seemed interesting at a decent price. I'm certainly in the cranky old man demographic referenced above, so maybe this is just my crankiness.
April of 2022 my kid wanted a retro jersey and ended up buying a Varitek, because "he punched ARod". Maybe it was different last season, but there were a ton of old names available 2 years ago.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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I don't disagree that good food is better than bad food, but what doesn't align with how I view things is the focus on good food.

You are there for a few hours. You are there to see baseball. Games typically are not around meal times. We grab food outside the park and inside the park, if we get hungry, ballpark stapes are 100% OK. I like beer better than stuff made by Coors or Bud, but it is completely 100% ok to grab a Coors Light, particularly if it's from a vendor that drops it off at your seat. About the only thing that I'd like easier at all ballparks is more coffee options. I can't time how damn tired I am at times and sometimes a coffee helps getting through the game.

This is consistent with all the ballparks that I've been to, but I don't understand why there can't be hundreds of vending machines selling peanuts and crap like that. Even if I don't feel like peanuts I'd rather grab from from a vending machine in 30 seconds than waiting in a line 20 minutes for some nachos.
It has to be the people who go for 80 games, right? This is so unimportant to me. I get a hot dog. Whatever. The best ballpark food I have ever had is at the San Francisco ball park, and a close second is in Seattle. Both were fantastic. Both took and inning and a half. And it was before the pitch clock. When I go to Fenway I want to see every pitch. Before and after the game, I want to see the field not the concourse. I get to go there maybe once a year for a couple two three games so I guess I'm not the usual case. But I can eat anywhere. I can only see baseball in a few places.
 

nvalvo

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I agree with this completely. A New England fan has a lot of options if they want to attend a homogenized sporting event that is largely indistinguishable from attending an event in any other American city. Go to the Garden, or Gillette, or any number of minor league and college venues across the region.

Personally, the only real issue I have with Fenway is the obstructed view seating. It's a colossal PITA to have to analyze potential ticket options on A View From My Seat to make sure I'm not sitting somewhere I can't see home plate or the mound.

Aside from that? The food and beverage options are good enough for me, I don't need gourmet meals or 8% alcohol Triple IPAs at the ballpark. The concourses and rest rooms are as accessible as many other venues I go to (try squeezing your way through the concourse at the Dome in Syracuse and you'll actually appreciate Fenway). Access has the same challenges that one encounters attending any inner-city venue -- convenient parking is expensive, but public transportation is fairly easy. Still, it's, what, $60 to park at Gillette these days? It won't be much cheaper if they build a new park out in the burbs.

Anyway, I like Fenway a lot, and I feel that most of the issues with it are simply a function of the footprint limitations and being snuggled into a city neighborhood. Which also provides unique advantages as well.
This is so spot-on. It's not actually much cheaper or easier *even from the suburbs* to get to and from suburban stadiums, because the thing about suburban stadiums is that everybody wants to leave at once, and the traffic engineering involved in making that happen is just impossible.

I was in Los Angeles for a year a few years back, and I saw the Red Sox at the Big A in Anaheim.

Getting to Anaheim was terrible — Orange County rush hour — but perhaps less predictably, leaving Anaheim was also a major pain even at 9:30 pm or whatever, as 20,000+ cars pile onto the 5 simultaneously. There is nowhere else to go, no postgame activities that might stagger people's departure, so it's just ballgame —> parking lot traffic jam —> home. Kind of anticlimactic.

I'm not really a football fan and haven't been to Gillette since I was a kid, but I gather this is what that experience is like.
 

biollante

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Since I started going to games back in 1969, the biggest changes have been more expensive tickets, food and booze and more women attend games. I really don't remember many women attending games until the 90's at some point. There seem to be fewer fights and less day games. The physical changes have been fine except for SRO tickets. Oh and the insane big screen and endless loud noises and music. The team has been better generally overall starting in the 2000s (recent years excepted) but they should do more day games and some quiet games. Jesus, I feel old, but I still like to see a game and follow them irrationally.
 

YTF

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Since I started going to games back in 1969, the biggest changes have been more expensive tickets, food and booze and more women attend games. I really don't remember many women attending games until the 90's at some point. There seem to be fewer fights and less day games. The physical changes have been fine except for SRO tickets. Oh and the insane big screen and endless loud noises and music. The team has been better generally overall starting in the 2000s (recent years excepted) but they should do more day games and some quiet games. Jesus, I feel old, but I still like to see a game and follow them irrationally.
SRO in the grandstand areas is horrible, especially behind home plate. No airflow, hot as a mofo in the summer and anything hit in the air isn't visible due to the overhang of the upper deck. However, if you are able to stand, we found that standing in the pavilion sections to be quite nice. It's been about 4 years, but i think the price was $35. You are completely covered from the elements with a complete view of all the action. Plenty of TVs mounted behind you make it nice for reviewing the plays that just happened. No one is allowed in the Pavillion section without Pavillion tix which means short concession lines and no bathroom lines and there is about a 4 foot wall with countertop right behind the Pavillion seating that you can just lean on with plenty of space to set your drinks or food on.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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Behind home plate, yes, hot as hell in front of the concession area. Move a few sections left and you get a great breeze from Jersey Street, move right and the open air behind section 17 or so is a good place to watch from. True, you lose high flies, but that is the same in most grandstand rows due to the roof. Which is nice to have on hit sunny days and rainy days,
 

8slim

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This is so spot-on. It's not actually much cheaper or easier *even from the suburbs* to get to and from suburban stadiums, because the thing about suburban stadiums is that everybody wants to leave at once, and the traffic engineering involved in making that happen is just impossible.

I was in Los Angeles for a year a few years back, and I saw the Red Sox at the Big A in Anaheim.

Getting to Anaheim was terrible — Orange County rush hour — but perhaps less predictably, leaving Anaheim was also a major pain even at 9:30 pm or whatever, as 20,000+ cars pile onto the 5 simultaneously. There is nowhere else to go, no postgame activities that might stagger people's departure, so it's just ballgame —> parking lot traffic jam —> home. Kind of anticlimactic.

I'm not really a football fan and haven't been to Gillette since I was a kid, but I gather this is what that experience is like.
Agreed. I find that with a little bit of research and planning one can find a way to get in/get out of most venues by car fairly painlessly.

I don’t know anything about the Big A experience, but it may be like MetLife, which is one of the few venues that has precious few parking options (which happens when you build a stadium in the middle of a swamp). So there’s no way I know of to avoid the hour wait in the lot to get out.

For Gillette it’s easy enough to park a mile up Route 1 in either direction. Walk 20 minutes, hop in your car, and you’re typically on the highway 5-10 minutes later.

For Sox games the past dozen years or so I almost always park in that hotel garage that’s about a mile from Fenway (I think it’s a Marriott). After a game it’s a 20 minute walk back to my car, quick departure from the garage, and I’m on the Pike in no more than 10 minutes. Easy peasy.

And when I don’t drive in, I tend to take the T from Riverside. It’s slow, but easy and cheap.

Meanwhile the last time I went to a concert at SPAC I sat in the lot for 2 hours before I could get out.

I get some of the complaints about Fenway. But the access/parking stuff doesn’t land with me. There ain’t many sports or concert venues that are easy and cheap to get in and out of.
 

JimD

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I get some of the complaints about Fenway. But the access/parking stuff doesn’t land with me. There ain’t many sports or concert venues that are easy and cheap to get in and out of.
This. I get the frustrations about the poor state of MBTA services these days, but the Fenway/Kenmore Square area is just not suited for large inflows and outflows of automobile traffic. Part of the experience of seeing a game is crowding onto a Green Line train at Park Street, climbing the stairs and exiting into the Square, and joining the mass of humanity crossing the Brookline Ave. bridge as the ballpark looms into view. There's the shared camaraderie with fellow fans, and (for me, anyways) the appreciation of getting to the game the same way that my dad, uncle and grandfathers did back in their times going to both Fenway and Braves Field. I'm sure rideshare traffic is a mess these days as it it is, the last thing we need is a giant garage across from the park vomiting more traffic onto streets not designed to handle it.
 

HfxBob

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Nov 13, 2005
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This. I get the frustrations about the poor state of MBTA services these days, but the Fenway/Kenmore Square area is just not suited for large inflows and outflows of automobile traffic. Part of the experience of seeing a game is crowding onto a Green Line train at Park Street, climbing the stairs and exiting into the Square, and joining the mass of humanity crossing the Brookline Ave. bridge as the ballpark looms into view. There's the shared camaraderie with fellow fans, and (for me, anyways) the appreciation of getting to the game the same way that my dad, uncle and grandfathers did back in their times going to both Fenway and Braves Field. I'm sure rideshare traffic is a mess these days as it it is, the last thing we need is a giant garage across from the park vomiting more traffic onto streets not designed to handle it.
Well said. One's vehicle shouldn't be part of the equation to begin with.
 

Max Power

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I went to a Padres game last summer and it literally took an hour to get out of the garage afterwards. Give me the dispersed transportation options of Fenway any day over that.
 

RS2004foreever

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FSG has done a great job with Fenway. The grandstand seats are too damn small (I am 6 for 4) but I can cram myself into them. I would far rather do that than see them lose seats and capacity. The right-field corner seats are some of the worst in the MLB - so I know to avoid those - but the park is awesome. The food is decent when compared to other parks - and believe it or not is cheaper than the Rays charge.

The best park I have been to is ATT in SF. A lot of that is the view - some of it is the food (the orange chicken is made in front of you and is awesome) and some of it is the quirk of seeing balls go into the bay. The New Yankee Stadium did a good job of keeping the old Yankee stadium feel and is awesome too.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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FSG has done a great job with Fenway. The grandstand seats are too damn small (I am 6 for 4) but I can cram myself into them. I would far rather do that than see them lose seats and capacity. The right-field corner seats are some of the worst in the MLB - so I know to avoid those - but the park is awesome. The food is decent when compared to other parks - and believe it or not is cheaper than the Rays charge.

The best park I have been to is ATT in SF. A lot of that is the view - some of it is the food (the orange chicken is made in front of you and is awesome) and some of it is the quirk of seeing balls go into the bay. The New Yankee Stadium did a good job of keeping the old Yankee stadium feel and is awesome too.
You had me until the next-to-last word. I hate the new Toilet -- the most corporate-feeling ballpark I've ever seen.
Citi Field, on the other hand, feels much for democratic (small 'd') and accessible and eager-to-please.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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You had me until the next-to-last word. I hate the new Toilet -- the most corporate-feeling ballpark I've ever seen.
Citi Field, on the other hand, feels much for democratic (small 'd') and accessible and eager-to-please.
Agree, the new Yankee Stadium has no soul. It’s a replica, that is fooling no one- I feel like Sox / Yankee games there have not been the same since they opened it. Feels a shame to have just discarded so much history for no real reason.. I like Citi Field, but it was replacing a dump.
 

Tony Pena's Gas Cloud

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As Kate McKinnon said "I stray from the pack", but I absolutely detest the MBTA and avoid it all costs. It's partly that I don't enjoy being packed like a sardine into a small trolley that wasn't designed to handle that mass of humanity. It's also partly from a time where both the MBTA employee on the platform and the sign on the trolley were wrong (it stopped at Park Street rather than continuing), forcing my then-pregnant wife and I to walk down the long, hot, rat-infested tunnel from Park to Downtown Crossing. There's always drama on the orange line as well, with constant "maintenance closures", forcing everyone on to shuttle busses and is just fabulous for my Meniere's. Fuck all that. We get there early, pay the $50 bucks to park just past the old Beer Works and sure there's a wait to leave the lot, but it beats the MBTA bullshit. If I'm going to a game, I'm expecting some sunk cost anyway. Plus we can listen to the post-game in the car.
 

Ale Xander

Hamilton
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This. I get the frustrations about the poor state of MBTA services these days, but the Fenway/Kenmore Square area is just not suited for large inflows and outflows of automobile traffic. Part of the experience of seeing a game is crowding onto a Green Line train at Park Street, climbing the stairs and exiting into the Square, and joining the mass of humanity crossing the Brookline Ave. bridge as the ballpark looms into view. There's the shared camaraderie with fellow fans, and (for me, anyways) the appreciation of getting to the game the same way that my dad, uncle and grandfathers did back in their times going to both Fenway and Braves Field. I'm sure rideshare traffic is a mess these days as it it is, the last thing we need is a giant garage across from the park vomiting more traffic onto streets not designed to handle it.
David Ortiz bridge
 

Ale Xander

Hamilton
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Oct 31, 2013
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I went to a Padres game last summer and it literally took an hour to get out of the garage afterwards. Give me the dispersed transportation options of Fenway any day over that.
Do they not allow street parking on Sherman Heights or Grant Hill (what kind of name is that, btw)
 

Otis Foster

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I've been going to Fenway since the 1950s (hello, Ellis Kinder) and I still get a lump in my throat when I emerge into the grandstand on a sunny day and get a first view of the Monster and the expanse of green in front of it.
 

Sin Duda

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I've been going to Fenway since the 1950s (hello, Ellis Kinder) and I still get a lump in my throat when I emerge into the grandstand on a sunny day and get a first view of the Monster and the expanse of green in front of it.
I still remember that image of emerging from the Fenway grandstand tunnel for the first time and taking in the bright emerald, perfectly manicured grass as a young teen 40+ years ago. It's an image and feeling that never gets old.
 

jacklamabe65

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My parents would be stunned by all of the new improvements made to Fenway since they last attended a game in the 1970s. From the seats to the concession stands to the bathrooms, to the Monster Seats, to the new scoreboard, they would be in awe. When you look at anything through the eyes of your departed folks, it gives you a sense of perspective.
 

RS2004foreever

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I've been going to Fenway since the 1950s (hello, Ellis Kinder) and I still get a lump in my throat when I emerge into the grandstand on a sunny day and get a first view of the Monster and the expanse of green in front of it.
First time I took my son to Fenway (we were Rays partial STH and all he knew was the Trop) the expression on his face as he came up the ramp was priceless.
 

dirtynine

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I don’t want Fenway to be comfortable. It’s a specific experience, not a Disney ride. The seats are small and sideways and the hot dogs are just ok and it’s too hot (unless it’s too cold) and you bump into people, and you yell and get annoyed at runners LOB and the guy in front of you and the beer gets too warm too quickly and you have to wait in a cattle call to get back on the green line when it’s over. It smells like stale beer and rust and peanut shells during a nice breeze. During the game you take a half-inning to stroll along the lower infield walkway, pausing for 3-2 pitches. You hope to see some late drama, maybe a triple or a stolen base, something to stand up for, maybe something you’ve never seen before, and a win’s a bonus. That’s the 3 hours I want. Frustrating but worth it, like going home. Parking, merch, food and convenience are really not priorities for me. You can get that at the mall.

I do wish the in-game entertainment would go away. Fenway crowds have been entertaining themselves really well for decades.
 

Devizier

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I’ve always been a fan of taking the commuter rail to Yawkey, but I know that’s not an option for everyone.
 

nvalvo

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If you go again park in the Hilton garage and exit Harbor Drive. You're welcome. :)
I was saying last fall that we should have a forum somewhere where we assemble our collective logistical wisdom about attending ballparks and maybe other sports venues: where to park, which transit works well, what other amenities are nearby, stuff for kids or that people with mobility challenges or older folks would want to know, etc.

I should probably start that.
 

Skiponzo

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I was saying last fall that we should have a forum somewhere where we assemble our collective logistical wisdom about attending ballparks and maybe other sports venues: where to park, which transit works well, what other amenities are nearby, stuff for kids or that people with mobility challenges or older folks would want to know, etc.

I should probably start that.
I LOVE this idea and would contribute all I know. In a few years my plan is to retire and visit every MLB ballpark where I’ve never seen a game.
 

Max Power

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Having just gone to the Link in Philly and the Garden a few weeks ago, Fenway's concession prices are a bargain in the sports world. The same sausage that costs you $15 at those places is "only" $10 at Fenway. Beers that are $15 to $20 there are $10 to $15 at Fenway. It's still low quality, super slow service, and more than I'd want to pay, but not bad by comparison.
 

PC Drunken Friar

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My parents would be stunned by all of the new improvements made to Fenway since they last attended a game in the 1970s. From the seats to the concession stands to the bathrooms, to the Monster Seats, to the new scoreboard, they would be in awe. When you look at anything through the eyes of your departed folks, it gives you a sense of perspective.
Can't you say this about literally any stadium experience from someone 50 years ago?
 

ookami7m

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One thing that I think keeps getting missed in this thread is there is a significantly different experience for someone who goes to Fenway multiple times a season versus someone who goes once every few (or more ) years. Much like the average fan has a different experience of the team than crazy internet people like us do, I have a very different experience of my visit to Fenway 2 summers ago that I planned for over a year than a season ticket holder or even regular visitor.

The ownership group has to find a way to maximize both streams and I would love to see the per visit spend breakdown between those two groups to see how those changes have gone over time.
 

Ale Xander

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I didn’t try it and forgot to check the price but there’s a new Aramark offering called Tender something Chicken. I asked Aramark management on the way out about garlic fries and they said depending on supplier so that sounds like a no.
 

Muddy Chicken

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I remember seeing that on Tuesday and thinking WTF is that about?
Also, the food sucks at Fenway. I’ll eat the hot dogs and sausages, but the rest is terrible. I saw someone pay like $40 for an undercooked pizza the other day. It was sad.
 

soxhop411

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It's MLB wide, not just the Red Sox. I have no idea whete it came from.
League wide partnership apparently
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The BuildSubmarines.com platform will be featured across a number of MLB Jewel Events throughout the season, including MLB All-Star Week, the MLB Postseason, the World Series presented by Capital One, and presenting partnership of Opening Day. The partnership will also include BuildSubmarines.com promotion across 40 Minor League ballparks.
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View: https://twitter.com/BuildSubmarines/status/1772643512120467806
 

8slim

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Having just gone to the Link in Philly and the Garden a few weeks ago, Fenway's concession prices are a bargain in the sports world. The same sausage that costs you $15 at those places is "only" $10 at Fenway. Beers that are $15 to $20 there are $10 to $15 at Fenway. It's still low quality, super slow service, and more than I'd want to pay, but not bad by comparison.
Quite true. I was at the Linc last weekend and paid $18 for a beer. A cheap, watery, light beer. Meanwhile the 2 hot dogs, fries and souvenir cup soda "deal" was $31. And the dogs weren't exactly gourmet.

Fenway's pricing and food quality is similar to many other venues.
 

8slim

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One thing that I think keeps getting missed in this thread is there is a significantly different experience for someone who goes to Fenway multiple times a season versus someone who goes once every few (or more ) years. Much like the average fan has a different experience of the team than crazy internet people like us do, I have a very different experience of my visit to Fenway 2 summers ago that I planned for over a year than a season ticket holder or even regular visitor.

The ownership group has to find a way to maximize both streams and I would love to see the per visit spend breakdown between those two groups to see how those changes have gone over time.
I do think that people understand those differing dynamics. Most of the complaining about comfort comes from those who attend games more frequently. I'm certain that infrequent attendees spent a lot more on their visit, if only due to the souvenirs they'll gobble up.
 

zenax

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Most of the complaining about comfort comes from those who attend games more frequently.
I find the seating at Fenway Park uncomfortable; one reason being that I've been 6'4" since I was 14. While I haven't been to a large number games there since I spent the greatest portion of my life living far from Boston, I suspect that I've been to far more major and minor league ball parks than just about all the folks reading this and I have to say that Fenway does not rank high on the comfort list. However, there are sections in Fenway that are great...if you can afford them or get the seats. But back in 2006, the Sox began Futures at Fenway , where they had a couple of their minor league clubs playing season games as part of a doubleheader while they Sox were on the road and all tickets were open at lower prices so I was able to watch games from places I didn't know existed. That lasted until 2014 but there was a rain-out one year and another with no games scheduled.
 

lexrageorge

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I find the seating at Fenway Park uncomfortable; one reason being that I've been 6'4" since I was 14. While I haven't been to a large number games there since I spent the greatest portion of my life living far from Boston, I suspect that I've been to far more major and minor league ball parks than just about all the folks reading this and I have to say that Fenway does not rank high on the comfort list. However, there are sections in Fenway that are great...if you can afford them or get the seats. But back in 2006, the Sox began Futures at Fenway , where they had a couple of their minor league clubs playing season games as part of a doubleheader while they Sox were on the road and all tickets were open at lower prices so I was able to watch games from places I didn't know existed. That lasted until 2014 but there was a rain-out one year and another with no games scheduled.
Futures at Fenway was a great way to introduce my kids to the Fenway experience when they were young. Tickets were amazingly cheap, and so I didn't care if they wanted to leave early due to fatigue or boredom (always a risk with 4-7 year olds). I thought it was really cool to see Lowell win a game with a walk-off hit, and the 15,000 or so fans in the park erupt in applause while Dirty Water played in the background. Turned out to be Will Middlebrooks that got the winning hit the second time.

One year Lowell was followed by Portland, and then Pawtucket the next. When the AA and AAA players came in during the break between games, you got to see the players and staff from both teams posing for selfies in front of the Green Monster. You could tell it was truly a special moment for these players. Too bad they don't do that anymore.
 

SuperDieHard

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Not sure if this is actually the ideal thread for this but I’m here at today’s game and a guy wearing a Wakefield jersey is here with his 2 young kids In the row in front of me 3rd base side. He just caught 2 foul balls in 2 consecutive innings. Hard to believe and probably statistically almost impossible. If they can arrange that kind of experience for everyone then they have something.
 

Cassvt2023

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Not sure if this is actually the ideal thread for this but I’m here at today’s game and a guy wearing a Wakefield jersey is here with his 2 young kids In the row in front of me 3rd base side. He just caught 2 foul balls in 2 consecutive innings. Hard to believe and probably statistically almost impossible. If they can arrange that kind of experience for everyone then they have something.
That's cool, one for each of his kids. And he has the right jersey on so maybe just good karma. As the saying goes, there is always a chance to see something you've never seen before when you go to a baseball game. Enjoy.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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Not sure if this is actually the ideal thread for this but I’m here at today’s game and a guy wearing a Wakefield jersey is here with his 2 young kids In the row in front of me 3rd base side. He just caught 2 foul balls in 2 consecutive innings. Hard to believe and probably statistically almost impossible. If they can arrange that kind of experience for everyone then they have something.
I went to a White Sox game in Chicago on the night of OJ's white Bronco chase in 1994. The guy I went with, a White Sox season ticket holder, had never caught a foul ball in his life until, the night before, he caught two fouls balls in the same Robin Ventura at bat.