Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees at Fenway Park

Trip Start Aug 24, 2011
1
9
37
Trip End Sep 30, 2011


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Where I stayed

Flag of United States  , Massachusetts
Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chris was keen to make an early start again today because we’d come so far already, he didn’t want to even contemplate traffic issues and not getting in to Boston on time for the game. It started at 7:10pm so I assured him we’d make it because we only had 4 hours left to drive. He had the choice between a really early start or a whingy wife who hadn’t had enough sleep or good coffee for days now. He made the wise decision of allowing me to sleep in and we got going at about 10am. 
 
Because of the later start, we missed breakfast at the hotel but the Concierge told us there was a great diner right next door so we went to check that out. We walked through the doors and I almost squealed with delight. A REAL AMERICAN DINER! OMFG!!! It was so exciting. Chris was very amused at my excitement but I couldn’t contain it. I’ve been to a few diners in some of the bigger cities in the States but they’re only replicas of the originals. I think the locals were as entertained by us as we were by them. Everyone was watching our every move and listening to everything we were asking the waitress who also didn’t quite know what to make of us. It took her a couple of goes at understanding what it was we wanted because of our accents but we got something in the end. We had a coffee at the counter and ordered some small snacks ‘to go’ so we could hit the road. I didn’t want to leave this place I loved it so much. It was just like the road-side diners you see in movies. I was sitting there listening to the locals chatting away and had to fake cough away a giggle every now and then. Chris eventually pulled me out before I caused too much trouble from just staring at people wide eyed. I’m completely in love with diners now and will stop at as many as possible along the rest of the road-trip. Fabulous people watching places they are!
 
Back on the road and it didn’t take long before we found ourselves in some really thick traffic. I could see the beads of sweat forming on Chris’ forehead but I assured him we would make this game. We tuned in to one of the traffic stations to learn the delay was due to an accident about 4 miles up the road. Next time I see on the news that there was 12 car pile up somewhere in America I’m going to understand why. Talk about tailgate. Far out! All I ever seemed to see when looking out the revision mirror was the front of the car behind me who was sitting right on my bum. There is no way on earth you can stop a car doing 110km quickly so the only other option is to slam into the car in front of you. I kept to the right (the slow lane) as did Chris as much as possible because that way, we weren’t in anyones way and they could go as fast as they pleased. We’d seen enough policemen pulling people over for speeding so far to know there were plenty around and we don’t want to be dealing with a fine.
 
About an hour of sitting in traffic and crawling slowly we were passing the accident site. It wasn’t a pile up at all, but a truck that had tipped over the edge of the road and fallen into the bush. My guess would be the driver had fallen asleep so I hope he wasn’t injured. Trucking seems to be a dangerous business because they have such tight deadlines to make. I can’t believe how many trucks we saw on the road here, there were hundreds of them.
 
We made off past the accident site and were back driving at normal speed, but slowed down again about 30 minutes in because of road works this time. I’ll admit I was getting nervous at this point. We’ve come so far....we can’t miss the game! Ironic isn’t it that someone (i.e. me) who couldn’t give a damn about any kind of sport was so focused on getting to this blessed game! It was mostly because Chris so desperately wanted to see it, but also because I had planned to buy him a 7th wedding anniversary present there. It was our 7th anniversary on the 23rd of July and each year I buy Chris a gift in line with what the anniversary symbolises. The 7th anniversary is wool, so I was intent on buying him a woolen Boston Red Sox baseball cap because that’s his team. I’d done my research and knew they were hard to find but were available at a few stalls inside the ground. If we didn’t make it there he wouldn’t be getting one.
 
We weren’t held up for so long this time and were off again. We decided not to make any stretch stops today given we’d already been held up for so long, but we did want to stop somewhere close to Boston to pick up a city map. I’d booked us a room at the Hyatt Regency before leaving this morning and we had some idea of where it was, so we thought, but needed a map to get us to it. 
About 20km out of Boston we pulled in to a petrol station, grabbed a map and Chris looked over that while I drove. Woohoo!!! 20km to Boston and it was 2pm. We’re gunna make it!!
 
We hit Boston right on 2:30pm and were both wriggling in our seats with excitement! We made it, we made it, we made it!!! Now to find the hotel, “it’s on Lafayette Avenue” Chris says. So driving around trying to find that, we found out that Boston is a bugger of a town to drive in! It’s not on a grid system and there are streets going all over the place! There are also a number of interstate roads that cut through along with a river so if you don’t get in the right lane you soon find yourself heading out of Boston again or on the wrong side of the river. We did both of those things. Drove into Boston, drove out of Boston, got towards the city centre, then found ourselves on a Bridge going away from the city centre and over the river. Fark!! “Chris! Pay attention for God’s sake, this is stressing me out!” That was it, temper tantrum had, foot stomped and we were parked on the side of the road and pulling out the iPhone. God bless them! I haven’t managed to find myself a local sim yet so this meant putting the phone on data roaming but I didn’t care. I couldn’t sit in this damn traffic for one more minute. I’ll no doubt find myself with a bill for hundreds of dollars but it will be worth it!
 
We found the street we needed, got directions from where we were and head off in search of it stopping to refresh the directions whenever we may have taken a wrong turn. After about an hour of driving around the city first with the crap map, then the iPhone, we found the street, which was not the street the hotel was on. We drove to Lafayette Avenue, the hotel is actually on Avenue De Lafayette on THE OTHER SIDE of town. Chris got THE stare for that. The ‘you know you’re in trouble’ one that says ‘just give me directions and don’t speak otherwise’ which he did, using the iPhone again because the map we picked up was useless. It took us about another half an hour to locate the right street this time and I had cut into lanes and mounted the pavement in the process. I’d sent a poor man diving for cover and left Chris with white knuckles but we found the hotel! Yay!!!! Get me out of this Goddamn car!
 
1.5 hours of driving within the city streets to find the Hyatt and we were now standing at the check-in counter. Bliss! This is by far the most expensive hotel we’ve booked on our trip but we had no options given we were booking the same day as arrival and by what I saw when searching, Boston is an expensive town anyway. We checked in, dropped off our bags, got changed very quickly then head out again. We had to return the car so again had to navigate those bloody awful streets. The rental returns place was only a couple of streets away so that was found easily. Thank God!
 
5:00pm and we were finally, without car, without stress, we were in Boston and we were going to the game. Chris was beyond excited, I mean school boy excited. He was almost pulling me up the road trying to figure out how to get to Fenway Park. We found out from asking around that we needed to get on the Green Line subway and go five stops up. The station was a bit tricky to find but once inside, there were thousands of Red Sox fans so we just followed them.
At precisely 6:10pm we walked into Fenway Park. I thought I was going to get on my knees and kiss the pavement I was so happy to have finally made it here. I would have too but Chris was still dragging me along wanting to find our seats. He bought tickets in a box area with waiter service because he wanted to enjoy the game with some beers and not have to miss a second of it. After stopping to ask a few kind souls we found our seats at 6:30pm and had a beer in hand by 6:45pm, precisely 25 minutes before the game started. Phew! Friggin’ incredible! Cheers to one hell of a start to our road trip!!
 
The American anthem was sung, “play ball” was yelled and the game was on! Even I was excited, I don’t get excited by sport. Put me in an art gallery anywhere and I’ll show you excitement, but sport generally doesn’t do it for me. The atmosphere at the baseball is pretty cool though, and funnily enough I do enjoy watching the game live. I think it was created for people like me with very short attention spans. It’s nowhere near as painful as watching a football match because things happen in shorter spurts and you don’t have to focus as long. 
 
I’d taken my little traveling lap top to the game with me so was watching in between typing. It prompted the lady beside Chris to ask if I was blogging which sparked some conversation between them. We soon learned that the couple were called Ann and Will, and that Ann had bought these seats as a birthday gift for Will. They were a really lovely couple who were keen to know a bit about Sydney and also to hand over some tips on where to go and what to see in Boston. I love locals who love their town! They give you some gems that you’ll never read about. We took note of the things Ann was telling us but have made a conscious decision not to see anything here in Boston other than the game and what we see walking between the hotel and subway stations. We figured we can’t do the town justice in a couple of hours so will return here on another trip and check it out properly.
 
Chris was whooping and hollering his way through the game which was turning out to be a cracker. The Red Sox are at the top of the American League and the New York Yankees are half a game behind so second on the ladder. I didn’t know what the hell was going on half the time but cheered when told to so I didn’t cause a disturbance in our seats with people thinking I was a Yankees fan. As is the custom we took a stretch at the 7th inning, and whilst this is the time the crowd normally sing ‘Take me out to the ball game’ the Red Sox fans don’t. The 7th inning stretch is a break between the two halves of the inning and it’s history is somewhat disputed although all versions of the story say it was used to give the crowd and the players a break after long stints of sitting or playing. Chris’ favourite version of the story is the one where President William Howard Taft was getting a sore backside at a Washington Senators game in 1910 after sitting for so long so decided to stand up and take a stretch. The spectators felt obliged to stand when the president did so they too got up.

There was also a new tradition for me to learn about tonight which is a song between the halves of the 8th innings. Not all teams do this and the song can vary between teams. For the Boston Red Sox it’s Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ which they started singing sporadically back in 1997 but it started being sung at every game in 2002. Ann told Chris that the inspiration for ‘Sweet Caroline’  was actually Caroline Kennedy which neither of us knew. I’ve since read that Neil Diamond sang this song to her on her 50th birthday in 2007, and she was only 11 when the song was written.

In no time at all the game was over. I couldn’t believe how quickly the time had passed. It had taken us just over a day of driving to get here and the game was over in three and a bit hours. But, the Red Sox won, the fans were happy, Chris was ecstatic and we finally, FINALLY saw THAT game. It’s not one we’re going to forget in a hurry.

We bid farewell to Ann and Will, and got the subway with the hoards of other fans back into the city. We stopped in at one place (the Bean Town pub) on the way back to the hotel to have a nightcap but moved on swiftly because I was beyond ready for bed.

What a mammoth effort to get to a baseball game. I’m so glad they won, I would have gone down to give them a good scolding if they hadn’t after everything we’d been through to get there!

Sweet Caroline....oo oo oo. You can smell the atmosphere just looking at the photos. If you’re ever in the States, I would definitely recommend checking out a ball game. It’s quite an experience.
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Comments

Liane on

Only you would take a laptop to a game Gabby!! So glad you made it there.

aunty diana on

Wow!! breathtaking commentary - could have told you it is a complex town in which to drive even back in the stone age 1958 it was a challenge coming in on the Massachusets turnpike, but you must go back as it is a gracious place. Did chris get his baseball beanie??? All well here, keep driving!!lol

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