Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Big Green Wall

Being in upstate New York has its advantages.  Even though we're a million miles away from our friends and families, we're really close to a ton of super cool stuff.  We also realized that in the South the states are bigger and it takes you at least 8 hours to get anywhere.  In New England, you have all these little bitty states and you can practically drive to Florida in 8 hours.  When we found out that our friend Melissa Simas (Boston native and former K8'er) was getting married in Taunton, Massachusetts we quickly RSVP'd and started planning our first trip to Beantown.  
Welcome to Boston
It's a short 2.5 hour drive from Clifton Park to Boston but our bad timing put us right in the middle of rush hour traffic.  Boston may be full of smarty pants with all of it's fancy-schmancy colleges and universities, but we decided that no one gave transportation a great deal of thought because roads there were awful!  No center lines, no shoulders and sometimes the lanes would just suddenly merge into one with little or no warning.  Driving was crazy!




We finally made it to our Priceline hotel and got situated.  The Needham Sheraton was about 20 minutes from downtown Boston.  Ever notice the nicer the hotel, the fewer accommodations?  When you can get free wi-fi at McDonald's, why would you expect for us to pay for it at your hotel?  Don't even think about a continental breakfast or the mini 'fridge.  Overall, we've had really good luck on Priceline but were not at all impressed with that joint.  Two thumbs down, no holiday fun.

Luckily, Heather had packed the Fodor's Travel Guide to Boston and in no time, the Garretts were off to the closest Massachusetts Transportation Bay Authority station (the T for short).  We bought our Charlie Card week link pass and headed to Fenway Park!  Frommer's told us that the CharlieCard is named after a fictional character in a folk music song called "Charlie on the MTA," which tells the story of a man trapped forever on the Boston subway because he can't pay the 10-cent surcharge required to get off the train.  If only Boston would have cut a version of that song...

Whether you love the Red Sox or not (and we don't, not since the '04 World Series), Fenway is "America's Most Beloved Ballpark" and the oldest MLB stadium currently in use.  It's almost surreal to walk through the gates into a stadium where Babe Ruth and Ted Williams, among other greats, once played.  Open since 1912, Fenway is simply classic.  A beautiful ballpark with a rich history! We learned at the Baseball  Hall of Fame that Fenway's owners have their names in Morse Code on the scoreboard.  That's a fact you won't find in Fodor's!

Forget Willy Wonka...this is
the Golden Ticket
Red Sox fans are something else.  Die hard loyalists, Fenway has sold out every single home game since May 15, 2003!  Getting tickets are no easy feat, the stadium holds less than 38,000 and it's an intimate fit to say in the least.  Wear lots of deodorant and pray the person next to you thought to do the same.  Brett tried his usual craigslist trick but when our crappy hotel couldn't provide us with a printer to get the tickets, we had to hit the streets like hookers on Hollywood Blvd.  Although not really a fan of bartering, this time it was Heather that noticed the lonely street hot dog vendor stuffing two tickets into his shirt pocket in the bottom of the 2nd inning.  She struck up a conversation and the next thing you know, the Garretts were sitting a few rows back from third base for a mere $25 a ticket...that was less than face for bleacher seats.

The Big Green Wall/Monster
"Hey Brett look! There's that big green wall!" Heather announced loudly as soon as they found their seats...in the middle of the Red Sox Nation.  (Sometimes the minor details are a little blurry for her.)  She quickly realized  the correct title of the most distinguishing feature of Fenway and then spent the rest of the game dodging the foul balls that came flying into their section.  The 37' 2" left field wall is one of the most famous icons in baseball and is 305-315 feet to home plate.

Well, you can't go to Fenway without trying a Fenway Frank!  We were back to those crazy top cut hot dog buns, but this time with little fanfare when it came to toppings.  Don't expect much more than the basic condiments here.  Bostonians are apparently happy with just a little mustard or ketchup, while New Yorkers try to make the food pyramid out of the things.  Not bad, but now that we've become hot dog connoisseurs, we've got big expectations for our weenies!

The Sox beat the Cleveland Indians 6-2 and we were on hand to see Adrian Beltre hit a grand slam over the Green Monster.  Talk about a crowd going wild!  While we would have much rather seen Pujols knock one out of the park any day of the week, Heather did managed to catch Beltre's big hit on video:





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