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Nosing around

So based on Josh Beckett's first visit to Boston, I get a warm fuzzy feeling that the guy is going to love it here.


A young, hahd throwin' stud with a keen olfactory sense, what more could the sophisticated Boston fan ask for?


Absolutely. I love that Beckett mentioned the "smell" of Fenway. The scent of the game nevah gets enough attention.


Nothing stirs the soul like turning the corner to approach Fenway and getting that first whiff of sausage, peppahs, and onions …


And then the smell of the pahk itself, the tight, close, sinus-filling smell, of rust and hotdog water, of peanuts and flaking leaded paint, the scent of infield chalk settled on cement and warmed in the afternoon sun …


The smell of memory and shahed history …


The smell of hope and promise and wondah …


Author's Notes
The description of the ballpark smell is a slight tweaking of a beautiful passage on the nostalgic smell of old ballparks from the "The Baseball Crank."


--The residue from the football field long troughs that used to be in the men's room

--Puke embedded in the steps of the grandstands since the days beer was sold in the stands

--Pinky Higgens

lc,i remember the first two-but i forget what pinky higgins smelled like.

Mostly Old GrandDad

(sniff, sniff) Open a frickin' window in heah. That's either a half-ton of beer-soaked corned beef and Fluffernuttah rottin' in someone's locker, or David Wells is still in the house.

While not sharing the same affinity for what is nonetheless a baseball shrine, the graphic depictions of Fenway made me wish even more that the next 10 weeks would hurry up and pass as quickly as the 8 minutes after you hit the snooze button.

Just the thought of stepping from the concourse into the seats at Coors Field in a few months gives me a baseball boner. The grounds crew watering the infield, Dinger the Mascot making an ass of himself, some dumbass CEO throwing the ceremonial first pitch into the grass, singers belting out national anthem renditions that make you wish you were deaf... man, I miss baseball. Even if you live in a smaller market with a miserably bad home team, nothing beats a day at the ballpark.

louclinton: I suspect you and I are around the same age because your 1st post was, to me, spot on!
Don't forget that when the line for the pee troughs was backed up, there was the line to pee in the sinks as well.
--Don't forget the cigar smoke that hung like a haze over the 1st base grandstand.
--The breath of the leather-lung behind me screaming that Roman Mejias wasn't 33 yrs old, he was 43...(he really was!)

Honestly, Fenway is a dump.

And, no, you can't put lipstick on a pig,Luscious.

Anyone who has been to a game in San Diego, Baltimore, Atlanta, Texas or Coors in the last 5 years has to agree that Fenway is a dump. I have been going there for nearly 50 years, so don't tell me about the Cathedral of Baseball. I Get It.

Sure, San Diego feels more like a hockey area (with all the Zip! Zap! Whoosh! graphics) and Turner field is a day trip from downtown (You have to walk through a mall to get from the uh, subway to the shuttle bus), but at least you can get there by subway without smelling like a dog or walking a mile, or paying $30 to park in the MacDonald's lot. Coors is like a Day at the Park, quite literally. I'm not against old parks. In fact, one of my best days of baseball was taking in a Twi-Night Doubleheader between the Brewers and the RS in County Stadium a few years ago. Archimedes Pozzo started both ends at 3rd, if I recall right. No shit.

In short, Fenway is a burden, not an asset.


the last game of the playoffs was my first time out to the ballpark(29 years old) and those memories just came rushing back when you started with the sausage smells. then the bad memory of sitting in the rf grandstand with a leaky pipe dropping pukey smelling water on my buddy, me and two hot chicks. damn and they lost. ugh what a nightmare. The organization did come out and give us tshirts and other little gragbag things. I thought that was really really a class act move.

Let us not forget the fresh roasted peanuts. Always get your nuts from the peanut guy outside of the closed off Yawkey before games. Way better than the $10 bags they sell inside.

Since it was easier to get tickets to see the Sox in Baltimore, than in Boston, I had my first experience w/Camden Yards, and I have to agree w/louclinton. E-Z access and parking, sight lines w/o a friggin pole to block the view, seats made for people over 125lb. It would have been a perfect day had it not been for Juicy Palmeiro taking Wake deep.......

Sorry, Lou, but if you lived there, you'd be home right now.

What I mean by that is: Fenway is a great downtown ballpark. Not "great" as in Camden Yards' "redone within the last 15 years modern retake on a classic" great...or "great" as in Turner Field's "look at all this room...let's make it big!". No, "Great" as in Fenway's "how do you fit a ballpark in a city block". If you live near Fenway, it's great. I can walk from work to the game in under 5 minutes. There's nowhere to park nearby so when the game is on, the traffic impact is less than almost any other stadium I've ever seen. In fact, there's no highway(s) running to its front door which means you can walk all around the ballpark and hit shops, restaurants, bars, and anything else a city has to offer *and* a ballgame.

It doesn't have room for 50 feet of foul territory. It doesn't even have room for left field. It contains everything it needs in such a small space and provides a great experience from a game-viewing prospective. I can sit in the bleachers and still make out the play at the plate! There's almost no other ballpark in the majors that can say the same.

In my opinion, if you're worried about what the restrooms smell like in a ballpark, you're not focused on what's important...the game. And that's where Fenway excels for the fan, by keeping them in the game. No bells and whistles and clap-clap-clapclapclap coming out of the loudspeakers during the plays. No "check your program for the DeBeers ad...". No carnival in the foyer overselling overpriced crap.

I go for the game and that's what I get and I like it that way. When the game's over, I walk home and check my 10 Man Plan for my next date with the ol' gal, Fenway.

I'll grant you Camden is the best of the new retro ballparks, but still I never feel even half the vibe there that I get at Fenway.

But the Ballpark at Arlington? I dunno. It's nice and all and they really tried, but I feel like I'm at Disney or a theme restaurant the whole time I'm there.

I think part of the reason Camden works better for me is that the look/feel actually reflects the surrounding city, whereas in Arlington all that brick and "ballparkiness" of it seems totally out of place just off a freeway and across from Six Flags Amusement Park.

I will confess though that Fenway works far better as a romantic ideal than as an actual game watching experience.

good points Kaz.
It appears I am a front running poof.

My core point is that baseball can be enjoyed--as a game-- without it having to be played in a smelly closet that your uncle crapped his pants in 30 years ago.

I also like that feeling of knowing it's the same place where my dad watched the Red Sox as a kid and where his dad watched the Red Sox ... and knowing it's the same spot where Ruth, Williams, Yaz, Fisk et al played.

That's the "memory and shared history" that is special about Fenway.

But I do know that I'm a sentamentalist at heart, so that kind of thing appeals to me.

"...without it having to be played in a smelly closet that your uncle crapped his pants in 30 years ago."


That said, in my time, I've only been to Coors, Qualcomm, PetCo, Tiger Stadium (the old one), the Big A, and The Fens (shit- I'll throw in The Ballpark in OOB and Hadlock Field just because I've spent a lot of time there).
Without a doubt the best "baseball atmosphere" is our old green friend. Granted if they did build a new 48,000 seat stadium in Boston it would still sell out, but for the most part you go to these new places and they're like caverns. Something about having to bust out the binocs to see who the hell is that catching? just dosen't appeal to me. I can't say I enjoy staring out into center field while sitting along the first base line, or having to spend the game leaning hard to the left because there's a damn column directly in front of me, but I'll take it any day over sitting in a quarter full PetCo (or 1/20th full Coors).

Yu can't put lipstick on a pig, but can damn well make out with it...

ok- that was just inappropriate.

Good point on that last one hb. Who the hell has played in PetCo? Khalil Greene, Trevor Hoffman, and Brian Giles just don't have that same ring to them...

(or 1/20th full Coors)

Easy there, poncho. The Rockies somehow managed to sell nearly half of their seats per game last year despite holding a tie for the second-worst on-field product in baseball:


And we should mention that the Rox had a three-year sellout streak in the mid-90s.

If this team ever gets good again, there will be many more butts in those seats. This town may be finicky with its loyalties (the Broncos are religion; second fiddle is occupied by whoever has the best record among the other big three pro teams), but we love our teams and stadiums.

Baseball games are a carnival for the senses no matter where you go.
The smelliest stadium has to be Shea: the egg stench of Flushing Bay at lowtide, mixed with the hint of jetfuel vapors from the planes flying to and from adjacent LaGuardia is dizzying.

If Yankee Stadium has one thing over all baseball stadiums it is the sound of Bob Sheppard's voice, described by Reggie Jackson (or was it Billy Crystal?) as "the voice of God."

It's been said that the 80-something year old Sheppard, who is also a church lector, can make a pitching change sound like a reading of the Gettysburg Address.

Sheppard's first game was April 17, 1951: Yanks vs Boston. DiMaggio, Mantle, Yogi, and Rizzuto were in the Yankees lineup. Ted Williams was in Boston's. The first person Sheppard introduced was the Red Sox centerfielder Dom DiMaggio.

Hearing Sheppard's voice is still worth the price of admission, parking, tolls, beer, etc. I think the Stadium might collapse when Sheppard finally retires.

may have been inappropriate, but pretty damn funny nonetheless. Just as long as you don't reference 'Deliverance'. The all-time worst place to see a game had to be Olympic Stadium in Montreal. No redeeming value whatsoever, from the product on the field to the 7/8 empty seats to the cavernous dimensions. Oh, I take that back- they DID have ice-cold Labatt's available every 10 feet or so

Who does Beckett look like? Hmmmm....Lindy England with a beard.

In my experience at Coors during the 5+ years I was in Boulder (96-02), I saw a few games where I was one of approx. 5000 people. Those first few years definitely showed a lot of promise, but attendance seemed to drop pretty drasticaly in the late 90's into 00. The only games that approached sellout numbers were on the days the Cubs, interleague, or whoever the defending champs were at the time were in town. Fun place to see a game though. Imbibed many a Coors Light while baking in the sun in the $4 Rock Pile seats.

Ok, now that we have morphed into worse ballparks than Fenway, there are MANY.

Bottom five in ascending order of dreadfulness:

1. Jack Murphy Stadium (aka Qualcomm), although my younger son got a T. Gwynne foul ball there one night.

2. Olympic Stadium. see previous comments. The Metro went right to the door of the stadium though. Good seats still available.

3. Candlestick Park. Yikes what a desolate place.

2. The New Commisky Park. Concrete? Ya. Lots of It. The third deck is perpendicular and in the path of small planes.
and the worst baseball park ever...

The Vet in Philly. Cold, fake grass seats impossibly far away, concrete and it's in Philly.

see, Fenway ain't so bad.

Yes, Fenway has its problems. We all know what they are, so no need to recite them again. But let me ask you all a question: is there anywhere you'd rather be on the frigging face of the earth than Fenway? Anywhere? I've traveled extensively, and have even lived in Hawaii. I can tell you that nothing beats a game at Fenway Park. Make it an important game, and you can eliminate your own private island in Fiji. Make it a playoff game against the Skankees, and you can throw out every other fun/exotic/free-sex locale on earth. So Fenway has tiny, uncomfortable seats all facing the wrong way. Shit, it's heaven folks, HEAVEN.

On a related note, anybody see Mark Loretta's quote in the Herald today? After his Padre teammates found out he way coming to Boston, they said, "You're going to the big leaugues."

I wrote about Fenway as an Acestral Place a couple of years ago.

Having been to over 20 ball parks around the majors, they all have their pluses and minuses, but as for me, there is no place like Fenway. I saw my first game there as a seven year old in 1960 - saw Teddy Ballgame for cryin' out loud - on the same field that Smoky Joe Wood and Tris Speaker played on. No other park elicits the response you see from first timers seeing the field for the first time. No other park drips baseball with as much drama as our Fenway. No other ballpark has as many landmarks within its walls. For so many of us, the only way to desribe our feelings about going to Fenway and how it wonderful and comforting it feels is simply this: Going to Fenway is like going back to the womb.

I'm a Yankee fan, and _I_ know Fenway's the best park (and Comiskey second best). There is no better place to watch a game than from the standing room behind first, on a hot August night, with a beer in hand, a slight breeze, and smells wafting up from Yawkey Way.

The intimacy of Fenway comes from not only the size but also the columns and the roof that enclose the space of the field: closer than any of the new fields, which use cantilevers instead of columns. That pushes the upper seats, and the roof way back. It might sound a bit nutty but take a look the next time you're in Fenway.

If I sound like an architect, I am. I was part of the Save Fenway Park charrete.

PS: Janet Marie Smith, who's rebuilding Fenway, built Camden Yards.

COMISKEY second best?!?!? Did I write that? Obviously I meant Wrigley. Have you been changing comments again, HB?

Ah, the sweet smell of offseason sentimentality. If only God were happy with Cleveland and would shift the wind patterns so I could get one wistful whiff of that awesome sausage....

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