In 2005, I was bequeathed a seat in a 10-game Red Sox ticket package by my friend Steve who was moving to New York. Sitting in a group of 4 that included my college friend Heather and 2 of her old roommates, our section-mates eventually learned my name (I was called “New Steve” for the entire first season I was there) and thus inherited a truly wacky Fenway family that became one of my favorite groups of people in Boston. Wednesday marked my last day with this family. Watching David Ortiz hit career homer #299 and a pinch-hitting Nomar get a standing ovation from an appreciative crowd, I couldn’t help but get a little misty-eyed thinking about all the good times I’ve had in that park.
I saw Johnny Pesky’s number get retired, and watched David Ortiz break the Red Sox single season home run record. I watched the Sox dismantle my Angels in the ALDS (again and again), and wonder if I could ever cheer for them again, and then watched them do things like go back-to-back-to-back-to-back off the Yankees and realize that I could.
I've watched a lesbian couple and a North Shore tough guy who works at a video store become friends. We’ve judged professional baseball players by their at bat music and fellow fans by their signs. I’ve seen a drunk guy in a Cecil Fielder jersey get kicked out of the bleachers – twice in one game.
I’ve said no to the FanFoto guys about 25 million times. I've pilgrimaged to Pesky Pole and to the fried dough stand that’s literally the last place you can reach in the stadium. We’ve snuck in burritos and cookies and flasks and wondered why on earth they don’t sell cupcakes as a concession.
I missed Trot Nixon’s last game as a Red Sox, because it happened to be after a 6+ hour rain delay. We’ve waited out rain delays too, keeping ourselves warm with $7 beer.
We’ve busted down the door at the Cask & Flagon on Drinking Sundays, turned down free Brahma beer (it’s just that bad) and shared packets of sunflower seeds. I’ve sung to Caroline Kennedy at the top of my lungs, and watched the crowds filter out until the end of 'Joy to the World.' It’s been a good run.
Though it feels like an end, this is certainly not na-na-na-na-hey-hey-hey-goodbye to Fenway Park. Just like Nomar, eventually I’ll be back.