10 Tips for a Home-Run Visit to Fenway Park | Curses, Legends & Lingo
Photo Credit : Courtesy of The Hotel Commonwealth
Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox on their 2018 World Series win! Looking forward to a visit to Fenway Park next season? If you’ve never experienced the joy of a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway, or if you’re looking to brush up on your Fenway “fast facts,” we’re here to help with this (very unofficial) guide to Fenway Park.
Fenway Park History
Fenway Park was considered state-of-the-art when it hosted its first baseball game on April 20, 1912, just five days after the sinking of the Titanic and some two years before the Red Sox acquired a young power-hitting pitcher named George Herman “Babe” Ruth. Today Fenway Park is the oldest active ballpark in Major League Baseball and one of the best-known sports venues in the world. Added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 7, 2012, Fenway continues to host not only baseball games but also special events, including a popular summer concert series.
Learn More: Where Is Fenway Park? | Directions & History
10 Tips for a Home-Run Visit to Fenway Park
Unofficial Advice from Yankee Magazine
1. Traveling into Boston for the game? Trust us and take the T, especially for a midweek game. Part of Fenway’s charm is that it dates back to 1912 and is located smack-dab in the middle of a major city — but that comes with the headaches of clogged streets, jaywalking college students, and expensive parking. Determined to drive? Our Getting to Fenway Park guide has the basics when it comes to Fenway parking advice.
2. If you can’t wait for the standard ballpark grub and aren’t rendered powerless by the aromas coming from the sausage carts on Yawkey Way, we suggest checking out senior food editor Amy Traverso’s recommendations for the best places to eat in Boston near Fenway Park. Eastern Standard on Commonwealth Avenue offers something for everyone: the burger with Vermont cheddar for the after-game set, the carrot agnolotti for vegetarians, the curated cheese plate and oyster bar for the foodie crowd. Craving comfort food? Sweet Cheeks Q, star chef Tiffani Faison’s homage to Southern cooking, serves up giant, pillowy biscuits and pulled pork good enough to earn a blue ribbon.
Learn More:Best Places to Eat in Boston
3. Dreading the travel time and want to make things extra easy by spending the night in town? You won’t do better than the Fenway Park Suite at the Hotel Commonwealth. With park views, an entire wall mimicking the Green Monster, retired Fenway park seats on the balcony, and extras like miniature bags of Fenway Park dirt tucked against the pillows during turn-down, there’s no more fun or appropriate place to stay for diehard Sox fans.
Learn More:Home-Run Hotels Near Fenway Park
4. For the classic ballpark dining experience, treat yourself to a Fenway Frank, nestled in a New England–style hot dog roll. What makes the Fenway Frank so good? Unlike many ballpark hot dogs, which are usually either steamed or grilled, Fenway Franks are boiled and then slightly grilled. This allows the Fenway Frank to retain all the juiciness of a boiled dog but still have the “just-grilled” snap.
5. Know your curses and moments of shame. The Curse of the Bambino was the 86-year period from 1918 to 2004 when the Red Sox failed to win the World Series, allegedly as retribution for Babe Ruth (aka “the Bambino”) being sold to the New York Yankees. You should also know (but then try to forget) about the Bill Buckner1986 World Series heartbreak, when a 10th-inning ground ball rolled past Buckner’s glove, ending game 6 of the 1986 World Series against the New York Mets, who won it all in game 7. Other low points? Tony Conigliaro getting hit in the face by a pitch during the Red Sox “Impossible Dream” season of 1967, Bucky Dent’sthree-run homer that gave the New York Yankees the lead in the 1978 AL East division tie-breaker, and Aaron Boone (another Yankee) hitting a homer during game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, ending the Sox season and extending “the curse” for another year.
6. On the flip side, know your legends and moments of pure joy. It’s players like Ted Williams, Carl “Yaz” Yastrzemski, Pedro Martinez, and David Ortiz that kept Red Sox fans feeling eternally hopeful during the long decades of “the curse,” which finally ended with a triumphant World Series win over the St. Louis Cardinals in 2004. Even sweeter? It was followed up with two more World Series wins in 2007 and 2013.
7. Brush up on the lyrics to “Sweet Caroline.” A crowd favorite, it’s played at every game before the bottom of the eighth inning. The main role of the spectators (by now 75 percent full of several innings’ worth of beer and Fenway Franks) is to bellow out the “So good! So good! So good!” response. You can also count on hearing the 1965 classic “Dirty Water” by the Standells and the 2004 cover of “Tessie” by the Dropkick Murphys.
8. Know your Fenway landmarks. The Citgo Sign means you’re close to Kenmore Square, and the trek over the Mass Pike via the David Ortiz Bridge to Lansdowne Street and Fenway Park. The bright yellow foul pole in right field is Pesky’s Pole, is named after Johnny Pesky, who played second base, shortstop and third base from 1942 to 1952 (minus a few years to fight in World War II). The “Red Seat” marks the spot (502 feet into right field) where Ted Williams hit the longest home run ever at Fenway in 1946. And last but not least, the 37-foot, 2-inch green wall in left field is the Green Monster.
9. Speaking of the Green Monster, it’s worth noting that the current Red Sox mascot, Wally the Green Monster, is a more literal (yet kid-friendly) interpretation of the phrase. Resembling a green Muppet, Wally made his debut in 1997. If you’re taking in a game with kids, Wally’s Clubhouse delivers a family-friendly space to enjoy the fun.
10. Can’t make it to a game but don’t want to miss out on the Fenway experience? Guided Fenway Park tours are offered daily, year-round, in all weather.
Note: We toured a secret garden at Boston’s Fenway Park in a season 2 episode of Weekends with Yankee, our public television show in collaboration with WGBH. Check the Weekends with Yankee site to learn more about the series, plus when and where to catch episodes.