Friday, June 12, 2009

Fenway's the best

Full disclosure: I'm writing this fresh on the heels of a come-from-behind 4-3 Red Sox win over the Yankees. Which is hard not to like.

But still I maintain that Fenway Park is the best place I've ever been to watch a ballgame. If I'm counting correctly, I've been to 13 major league parks, and though almost all of them can beat Fenway for comfort and amenities, none of them can compare in terms of atmosphere.

Let's face it, the Green Monster is cool. The Citgo sign works for me, too. But it's also about the fans. They just care more. Not only are they louder, and more emotionally wrapped up in the success of their team, but they're more into it -- they know more details about the Sox, and their opponents, than other fan bases do.

Let's put it this way -- if I walk into a convenience store and the woman at the counter has a Boston accent, I can expect with some confidence that she cares about and knows about the Sox. Not just in a "go Sox" kind of way, but in a knows-who-they're-playing-tonight-and-maybe-who's-pitching kind of way. And she knows how Papi is hitting, and how Dice-K is throwing.

Of course you can find a few fans like that anywhere, but there are just plain more of them around here.

Best of the ballparks I've been to to watch a ballgame:

(1) Fenway Park, Boston -- 'nuff said.
(2) PNC Park, Pittsburgh --Beautiful, comfortable, cool, and a ballfield.
(3) Camden Yards, Baltimore -- See (2).
(4) Safeco, Seattle -- Lovely and relaxing.
(5) Crosley Field, Cincinnati -- Guessing here; I was just a wee bairn.
(6) Shea, Queens -- It was a pit, but the fans are good, and hey, I'm a Mets fan
(7) RFK, Washington -- Kinda ugly, but at least it had natural grass.
(8) Riverfront, Cincinnati -- Actually not bad for a concrete monstrosity.
(9) Three Rivers, Pittsburgh -- See (8).
(10) Metrodome, Minneapolis -- A dome is a dome is a dome.
(11) Kingdome, Seattle -- All you needed was the smell of rotting wrestling mats for this place to feel like a high school gym.
(12) Olympic Stadium, Montreal -- Seemed somehow even more artificial than the previous four. Mets fans made more noise than the Expos fans did.
(13) The "old" Yankee Stadium (2008), The Bronx -- The Yankees in their arrogance basically dump on the customers. We watched and listened to loudly clanging dumpsters out in center field throughout the game. No straws at the concession stand, even early in the game, for us rabble out in the bleachers. No cheap little TV monitors, like every other stadium has, so we can see what's going on while we're overpaying for bad food. Something dripping on us throughout even though it wasn't raining. They're just not that into their customers. I doubt the new one is much better.

Wrigley beckons in July...

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