No Such Nonsense

A little of this, that and... what was I talking about again? It's TV, sports, pop culture and politics - all the stuff that really matters in life.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Baseball as it was meant to be played

Finally saw baseball, really, for the first time this week. Don't get me wrong, I've seen lots of Jays games in person, at the concrete monstrosity formerly known as Skydome. But now, for the first time, I've seen professional baseball as it was meant to be seen.

It's all about the ballpark and this week, I saw my first game at Fenway Park.

Walking into it for the first time - green walls, painted wooden seats, lush, real grass and dirt close enough that you can see and smell it - Fenway feels smaller than it is. It feels inviting, comforting, welcoming. Emerging from the tunnels, I honestly felt something akin to awe. I felt I was walking into a cathedral of baseball.

In row 31 of the grandstands, we were closer to the players than even those in the best seats at Rogers Centre. Sitting around the way from the Green Monster, I could see the expressions on player's faces.

Surrounded by a sea of Sox tee and jerseys and hats, I felt what it was like to be part of a baseball game for the first time. The crowd has a palpable energy - good natured and rowdy. They shouted Yooooook for their first baseman at every opportunity, cheered just a little louder than normal for their slumping Big Papi, stood and hooted at every pitch from closer Papelbon, good-naturedly teased the dorky Canadians in their midst. They ate weirdly pink Fenway Franks and caught bags of peanuts from the vendors. Drunkenly sang along with Sweet Caroline. They were at the game.

See, living in Toronto, we've only seen a pale facsimile of a real baseball experience. Cold. Sterile. Quiet. Boring, really. And what really stymies me is how anyone who had ever been to Fenway could have designed a 'ballpark' like Skydome. Guess we deserve what we got.


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