As a lifelong, die-hard baseball fan, there’s some baseball stadiums that you absolutely have to check out some point in your lifetime. That notion has become a little more urgent recently when you consider how few old time stadiums are still standing.
Right now, the ones that stand out the most as “must visit” are Camden Yards in Baltimore, Wrigley Field in Chicago and Fenway Park in Boston. I hit up Camden yards in 2007. But the other two had eluded me.
Well now I can check Fenway Park — or should I say call it “Fenway Pahk” — off that list.
My first visit to Fenway coincided with my first ever visit to Boston this weekend. The weather was pretty shitty — low 50s, misty, breezy — but it was still a monumental moment for a lifelong baseball fan like myself.
Of course, I didn’t stay until the end of the game, which wasn’t really the point. I just wanted to see the stadium, check out the Green Monster, sit and enjoy some baseball, and by the 7th inning, I got all of that. The only regret I had was missing “Sweet Caroline,” which plays at every home Red Sox game. Neil, I wanted to party with you! (Saving Silverman quote).
I’m not really sure how it took me 26 years to finally visit Boston. It’s a mere 4.5 hour drive away, and throughout my life I’ve known plenty of people who have lived there. Perhaps I was just too scared to go after I saw the movie “The Town.”
But I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Beantown, and now allow me to share my thoughts and observations of my approximate 48-hour-stay in the city.
- Boston accents are not nearly as prevalent as one may think. During my two days in the city, I believe I came across two people who had thick accents. I don’t know if it was because I spent most of my time in tourist areas, or if it’s because heavy Boston accents are dramatized and embellished in mainstream movies and television. I’m thinking it’s a little bit of both. Or maybe I’ve just seen Good Will Hunting too many times.
- It’s the perfect size for a city. I love New York, but sometimes it can seem like a freaking adventure to try and relocate from one part of the city to another in any given night. But in Boston, you can pretty much get anywhere you want in less than 25 minutes. It’s key because you can travel to any part of the city for a late night booty call, if need be.
- Solid bar areas. Again, continuing the New York comparison — I can’t really think of one specific strip where there are several good bars in a row. I can think of areas where that is the case, but, in Boston, there was one strip where there was about a dozen bars all within a tenth of a mile. It’s like a beer drinkers dream. In fact, I think I did dream about it when I got back to the hotel that night.
- The history. We all know about the Boston Tea Party, the Boston Massacre, Paul Revere’s Ride and the Battles of Lexington and Concord. Guys like John Hancock and Ben Franklin lived there. But I actually was in a bar where the Sons of Liberty sat and conceived the idea to the revolt against Great Britain. That was kind of cool. I also ordered a beer in the same bar that came from a tap that had a baseball on it. So that was cool too.
I was really tempted to get a girl’s phone number so I could go up to some guy at a diner, tap on the glass and say “I got a numbah. How do you like dem apples?” Unfortunately, the acquiring of the phone number is the Part A to that equation that never quite came to be.
On Sunday, the weather improved a bit and some friends and I attended an inaugural music festival in the heart of the city called Boston Calling. About one thousand Bostonians attended the festival to see bands and/or acts like Ra Ra Riot, the Walkmen, Andrew Bird, Of Monsters and Men, Young the Giant and the National.
Finally, we made a small side trip to Cambridge to check out the Harvard campus. In the last two years, I have now visited Yale, Brown and Harvard — three schools that I never would have lasted a day in even if I was half-black and half-Native American, and descended from three generations of family members who attended these universities. But that’s three Ivy league schools I have now trespassed upon and there’s five left to go.
All in all, Boston was a sweet city, and it was a trip well worth the 26 year wait.
And now I am craving an apple.