An Ode to Fenway, From One of the Faithful

I know most of you are used to my parenting posts, but, this relates to my daughter on a different level. You see, she loves the little stuffed ‘Wally’ I sit with on the couch, for every Red Sox game, and she keeps asking to go see “big, huge Wally.” Heart-broken, I tell her that we can’t, because Wally lives very far away, in Boston, and we are here, in Georgia. So, she replies, “I wanna be a Red Sox, so I can play with the big, huge Wally.” I think she sees him as one giant stuffed animal, only the Red Sox can play with, which is pretty awesome, honestly.

I, too, have been a fan, since before I can remember. I’ve been rooting/crying/celebrating with and for the Red Sox, through tales of the great Yastrzemski, watched a skinny Roger Clemens pitch for us in the eighties (when my grandmother adored Jim Rice), and never heard the name Bucky Dent, sans its trademark expletive. I saw Nomar play for the Pawsox (they used to give us free tickets in school; it was great), and even had a baseball card from a cereal box or a Happy Meal with him in that cheap, AAA uniform. I saw him rise up, from this gangly thing, not much older than I was, to a legendary player with that magical reach of a born shortstop. I watched Mo Vaughn through the early nineties, and I remember Eckersly in both the hated A’s ¬†and the beloved Sox uniforms. I was at Fenway on Easter Day, 2004, when Curt Schilling pitched his first home game in a Boston uniform, and Wally came from behind me, startling me to the point of utter blasphemy (I screamed, “Jesus Christ!!”), on that sacred day. I own a shirt that reads, ‘Damon: Looks like Jesus, Acts like Judas, Throws like Mary.’ I’ve seen Millar hang out with ‘The Mad Fisherman’, and delighted in Manny’s lumbering antics; a big, stoned, six-year-old, will go down as one of the greatest left-fielders in our illustrious history. I remember Aaron f@#$ing Boone’s 2003 solo homer, like it was yesterday. And last night was the first time ever, that I allowed the words, “Come on, Yankees,” to slip past these lips.

There is nothing that can compare to the sights, smells, and feel of that lovely old ballpark. My heart stops for a minute, there on Yawkey Way, looking up at it, with the aroma of sausage and pepper grinders lingering seductively, in my nostrils, and the crack of the bat, calling me in to see what promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime game. I am not so old that I remember them, but the ghosts of the Royal Rooters fill the seats, legends in their own right, and we take our places next to them, the new generation of Fenway Faithfuls, waiting, again, for next year. And that’s alright, by me.