Exactly this time last year I was negotiating the intimidating highways leading in to Boston to return my rental car following a little road trip around New England. It was World Series time, and despite being off the grid for a little under a week, I knew the Red Sox were in the play-offs leading up to baseball’s pinnacle event. As I surfed the radio stations and eventually landed on a Boston one, I learned the Red Sox had indeed made it through — and Game One was that very night at Fenway Park.I couldn’t believe my luck — I was actually in one of the US’s most loyal, passionate and historical baseball cities the very same night they would…I’m actually really struggling for words to describe just how big these games are; I’ve written and deleted this sentence several times over. Suffice to say, if you are familiar with the world of baseball, you will understand, and if you are not, let me just say that such games are monumental and have the potential to be talked about over many, many beers for years afterward, so you could say it’s a big deal.
Baseball is the great American pastime, and many American kids grow up with the game being strongly linked with fond childhood memories they will then replicate with their kids. Though I am Australian, I think my relationship with the sport is very similar. My dad used to play for Australia and has since worked in baseball for many years, so some of my earliest memories are of being at various baseball fields. Plus, my brother and I had a fondness for baseball movies growing up, so we probably watched the same films as American kids, on repeat (and repeat, and repeat).
The idea of actually attending a World Series game had never even occurred to me, so much did it seem an impossibility — it was something I thought perhaps my dad would one day do, but never myself. But the opportunity was there, so I decided to see if I could get my hands on tickets. I did find last minute tickets, and they were not cheap, but this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so my parents made it clear this could be my early Christmas present. It turned out to be impossible to buy the tickets online as the sites kept crashing (I suppose we were not the only ones trying), so we eventually gave up.There were many reasons for the night to end there, but with a little encouragement from mum, I decided to at least walk to Fenway Park and see what I could find; if only to soak up the atmosphere. Just walking there was exciting, as I was surrounded by increasingly numbers of enthusiastic and happy people on their way to the game. When I arrived I found a line for last-minute tickets. I joined thinking this was surely too good to be true (as the people either side of me thought also), but as the line progressed and I realised people were not coming back out, it seemed as though there were actually tickets available — was I seriously going to get in?
I was. I got to the front desk and there were standing tickets available for $90, which was a serious reduction from what I had found online. I purchased my ticket without hesitation and went through the turnstile, then just stopped. I was in complete shock. I texted mum: “I’m in. Have a good day at work!” (It was already tomorrow morning in Australia) then went to get a hot dog.And so it was that I was present at Game One of the 2013 World Series, when the Boston Red Sox defeated the St Louis Cardinals 8-1 before going on to win in a six-game series.
All my American friends were shocked when I told them the story — they couldn’t believe such a thing was possible either. It just goes to show that if you never try, you really will never know.
The photos are not the best, as I opted to leave my good camera at my hostel and therefore had to make do with my not-so-great phone camera, but you get the idea. The last picture is from where I was standing, and as you can see, I could not possibly complain about the view.