There’s a reason it’s taken me three days to lay down a record of my trip up to Boston last Sunday: it was a day packed so full of fun and memories that I hadn’t even recovered until now. So let’s begin at the beginning.
In my line of work, I am rarely but occasionally given the opportunity to purchase tickets for events at expensive-but-not-outrageous prices. Typically, I care nothing for the events featured, but the stars aligned this week and gave me the chance to get Red Sox bleacher seats for their theoretical Game 7 ALCS clash against the Cleveland Indians at Fenway. I managed to secure six seats in a row at $100 each, bringing the full price of my order to $5 more than I paid for my car. It would be me, Angelina, Marta, Dan, Paul and Steve basking in the glow of playoff baseball in Beantown. All that was left was for Boston to win Game 6. This they did with style, 12-2. The stage was set.
My aforementioned car happens to be a 1990 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurowagon, purchased from Craigslist. With comfortable seating for up to 7 people, it was just the vehicle to make the trip north and east. After filling it with some badly-needed power steering fluid, inflating some soft tires and gassing up, we picked up the rest of the crew and piled in, setting out around 1:30 PM on Sunday, October 24. The trip gave everyone a chance to enjoy the rustic appeal of my automobile. The upholstery on the ceiling sags. The front and back bumper both look like they’re riddled with bullet holes and about to fall off. I have to open the door at toll booths since my window won’t open. The front-side passenger needs to bench 120lbs in order to have the requisite strength to open their door. In short, it’s a perfect car for a road trip.
We powered down I-84 and the Mass Pike to the tune of Dan’s iPod, blasting an eclectic mixture of baseball songs and 1990 hillbilly Radiohead esoterica. To everyone’s relief, the car survived the first leg of the journey and we pulled into Riverside station on the outskirts of Boston to ride the “T” into the city.
We arrived at Fenway Station around 3 PM, five hours before the game was due to start. There was already a palpable buzz around the place, people looking to score tickets, others just hoping to soak up the atmosphere and some booze. The fact that we already had tickets placed us firmly in the latter camp, and we strolled over to the Boston Beer Works to wet our whistles. It was still early, so the crowds weren’t bad and we sidled into the largest booth I’ve ever seen.
For the next few hours, we ate all manner of nachos, burgers and fries, washing it all down with several pitchers of Boston Beer Works’ finest. Though we fell short of our stated desire to get a pitcher of everything on the beer menu, we made a valiant effort. The food, the drink, the conversation and the shoulders comprised the perfect pre-game program and we walked out well-satisfied around 6:30 PM. The gates to Fenway Park weren’t open yet, so we opted to pass some time playing foosball at the mafia-owned Jillians just down the road. I was able to drop some jaws and raise my social status with a series of powerful goals and miraculous saves en route to a thorough spanking of all opponents.
After that exercise, it was time to enter Fenway Park, the night’s theater of dreams. Arriving over an hour before the game gave us ample time to stock up on $8 Sam Adams Oktoberfest and find our seats in the bleachers. For the life of me, I can’t understand why anyone would want to sit anywhere else. There’s no place in the stadium where the passion and rowdiness is so evident and so enjoyable. New England aloofness is discarded like so much junk mail, and people become friendly.
That early before the game, though, there were only a few people and they were lined up at the top of the wall waiting to catch balls from batting practice. We had to make do with watching the Indians warm up, which turned out fine when Grady Sizemore turned and tossed a ball up in our direction. I plucked it out of the air with my bare claw and gave it to Angelina, like any boyfriend who wants to stay out of the doghouse. She spent the rest of BP showing everyone how she grips her curveball and arguing with me about who Sizemore was trying to throw the ball to (we both grinned in his direction). Just to be safe, I told Grady that he was a bastard and that this girl was taken.
The game itself was a tense affair with the Red Sox scoring some runs, then being pegged back by the plucky Indians. After a rousing rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the 7th-inning stretch, they opened up a 5-2 lead. But it was “Sweet Caroline” in the middle of the 8th that really did the trick, with Dustin Pedroia doubling and Kevin Youkilis homering to send Fenway into a happy sort of chaos. We hung around after Papelbon closed the game out, watching the on-field celebrations, viewing the post-game interviews on the Jumbotron and taking pictures.
We took a detour after the game to hit up the convenience store and avoid the crowds at a T station besides Fenway. Unfortunately, it began to look like the trains were no longer servicing other stations, and we hoofed it back, managing to catch the last train out to Riverside. Once again, we piled into the car and started pulling out of the lot when the “Tailgate Ajar” light came on. Despite my half-assed efforts, I couldn’t get the latch to catch, so we headed home with the gate rattling. It didn’t seem to stop anyone from sleeping and no one fell out the back (as far as I know). We even had time to stop on I-84 so that Angelina could enjoy the crisp fall air, the brilliant night sky and the scent of the grass. As I helmed my car Manchesterward, I saw two shooting stars, which effectively summed up the entire trip. Imagine a great thing, and then imagine it doubled.
We dropped off the rest of the crew in Vernon and walked in our door at 4AM on Monday morning. Mocking reason, I woke up three hours later and put in a good day’s work before finally catching up on some sleep. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mock my brother for opting to stay in California instead of flying East for one night. Shame on you, Aaron. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t thank Angelina, Dan, Marta, Paul and Steve for a great day out. You can find more pictures of the day here. Go Red Sox!