A Father's Day Walk in the Park
June 20, 2004
With the team on the road for Father's Day, the Red Sox invited fans for an open house. The $5 admission fee went to the Red Sox Foundation, and we were all given Red Sox duffel bags as we entered. I went straight onto the field, where we could walk around the warning track. The visitors' bullpen was open, and kids were given baseballs that they could toss to their fathers in the bullpen. I went and sat on the bench in the Red Sox dugout. Of course I had to try out the phone to the bullpen, picking it up and saying, "Anyone but Mendoza, please." (The person after me picked it up and said, "Timlin in the eighth, Williamson in the ninth," the mantra repeated all off-season by fans traumatized by the previous October.) As I left the dugout, I made sure to step with both feet on each step all the way up, the way Nomar always does. I went around to the visitors' dugout, where Red Sox legend Frank Malzone, third baseman from the 1950's and 60's, was signing autographs. Next was the base of the Green Monster, where we could touch The Wall and peek inside the Monster. I was a little appalled to see all the graffiti written on the outside of the wall, as well as both foul poles. Players and Fenway workers have been signing the inside of the Monster for decades - if you're ever lucky enough to be in there, go for it - but fans writing on the outside of the wall, like people putting their names on the Morse code, is just plain vandalism, and offends me as a true fan of this venerable ballpark.
Watching the game from the right field roof
The batting cages under the bleachers
The view from the Red Sox dugout
Inside the Green Monster
Fans get a close-up look at the scoreboard
When I had completed my warning track circuit, I headed up on top of the Green Monster, and then onto the new right field roof area. I had a standing room ticket there for a game in August, but this was the first time I had ever been up on the right field roof. There are three rows of home-plate-shaped tables with stools around them. I was also happy to see that there was a counter behind the last row where standing room patrons could lean. There's also a bar, and a seating area with tables and chairs. The counter tops at the bar are made up of lanes from the bowling alley that used to be under the ballpark. I was on the roof when the game started, so I grabbed a table with a good view of the scoreboard.
In San Francicso, Bronson Arroyo was going against Jason Schmidt. It was scoreless after three innings, when I noticed that the door under the bleachers where the batting cages are was open, so I went down to take a look. I had never seen the batting cage before, and fans were able to take a few swings if they liked. After that, I sat in the right field stands for a while. The seats near Pesky's Pole face the wrong direction if you're trying to see home plate, but they're perfect for watching the scoreboard. After five innings, it was still scoreless, and Schmidt had yet to give up a hit. Arroyo had had plenty of baserunners, but had been able to pitch out of trouble each time. In the sixth, I went back up to the roof. Kevin Youkilis led off the innning with a double, breaking up Schmidt's no-hitter. But in the seventh, the Giants got two men on base, and Arroyo was lifted for Alan Embree to face Barry Bonds. Bonds hit a single, one of the few hits he had in the series with the Red Sox, loading the bases. Mike Timlin came on and gave up a grand slam to Edgardo Alfonzo, ruining Arroyo's good outing.
In the eighth, I looked down and realized the crowd that had been near the Red Sox dugout had thinned out to only a couple of people. I went down to the dugout. There were a couple of kids in one end, so I sat on the bench on the other end, and watched the eighth inning. It was so cool to be able to just hang out in the Red Sox dugout! That was when I noticed that the panel on the scoreboard where the camera is stationed had been removed. I went over and was able to poke my whole head into the Monster, instead of just peeking through the slots like I had done earlier. All the numbers used for posting the score were hanging on the wall. There was a small table with a laptop computer and a Red Sox cap. The guy posting the score was sitting in the back, reading the paper. The Red Sox ended up going down in order in the ninth, and the afternoon was over. Despite the frustrating game, it had been a very fun event in which I got to see a lot of sides of Fenway that I had never seen before. And unlike a tour,
where fans are rushed from one place to another, I was able to see it all at my own pace.
Return to 2004: Diary of a Season