Magical Day at Fenway Park

April 3, 2010 is going to go down as the second best day of my life!!! {The first, of course, being 12½ years ago when my daughter was born!} I took my daughter, Bunny, into Boston to get our nails done then we planned to walk around the perimeter of Fenway Park. After an hour and a half getting all “girlie”, we started to walk to Fenway Park. Bunny has a deadly peanut allergy, and can not go near Fenway during the baseball season. Due to the peanut residue all around the park, it’s only really safe for her to go near Fenway in the winter or early spring when the rain and snow have washed all the peanut residue away. It’s sad because she…like her Mama…is a die-hard Red Sox fan.

*SIDE NOTE: My daughter’s real name is not “Bunny”, but some things you just have to keep private. 😉

The day before Opening Day {or Opening Night as it was this year} was the last chance to take her near Fenway until next winter when the rain and snow have once again washed all the peanut residue away. We walked down Ipswich St. towards the Ted Williams statue. {We had intended to walk all the way around the park, with Teddy Ballgame being our starting and finishing point.} When we got to the Splendid Splinter statue, and I touched it for good luck. Bunny asked, “Why do we need good luck?” I told her, “A little extra Red Sox magic luck never hurt anyone.” We continued to walk down Van Ness St. toward Yawkey Way on our little adventure. When we looked up at the retired numbers on the side of Fenway, we saw above them banners of H.O.F. Red Sox players. The banners were hung in a similar fashion to the Championship banners on the other side of Fenway Park. {Rice, Boggs, Yaz, Fisk, Williams, Doerr, Cronin, Young, etc. Some of the players obviously had not retired with the Sox, but were H.O.F.-ers.}

We then walked on past the player’s parking area…which she thought was “wicked cool”…and turned to Yawkey Way at Gate D. There was a security kid at the gate with a clipboard and a walkie-talkie. I asked him if we could go in real quick just to see the field, and explained how severe her allergy to peanuts was, as well as the fact she could never go into Fenway during a game. {I also asked if there was a tour going through that we could go on.} After chatting for about 10 minutes, he told me to hold on a minute, walked away and started to talk on his walkie-talkie. When he came back, he asked us if we would like to work at Fenway for a couple of hours. I was in shock and tried to process what he had just said when Bunny enthusiastically said, “ABSOLUTELY!” I smiled and said, “Yes, please. We would LOVE to!” He put green Fenway wristbands on our right wrists and sent us in to work with a guy and his fiancée who were “on the list.”

We walked to the visitor’s dugout side and sat down in the seats of Box 67 . Bunny was BEAMING! To go from, just walking around the Park, to sitting in it and WORKING in it, was WAY more than either of us could have ever dreamed.

They were going to do a rehearsal of the Opening Night Ceremony, and we were now part of it. We were given instructions and told our first assignment was to fold the American flag which would later get unfurled from The Monster during the National Anthem. Then they were going to do a rehearsal of the players/managers/coaches introductions for the Opening Night Ceremony, in order to make sure they had the cameras angles set.

As we walked from our seats to the field, up the third base side, towards left field, Bunny kept saying, “Oh my God, MAMA! This is SO COOL!” I smiled back at her and said, “Yeah, it is!” I had never been on the field at Fenway, so to share this with her was AMAZING!!!

DO NOT WALK ON THE WHITE CHALK!” barked the head guy. He barked this order over and over as everyone took to the field; I was pretty sure he scared everyone into not even accidentally brushing a toe across the chalk.

*SIDE NOTE: Did you know the foul line on the grass is not chalk? There is a white rubber line permanently affixed in the grass some how. Who knew???

The grounds crew took the GINORMOUS American flag from its winter hibernation bin and placed it on our shoulders. Blue tarps were waiting on left field for Old Glory to be unfolded. Once the flag was on our shoulder, we had to walk in a giant horseshoe on the tarps carrying the flag until it was completely out of the bin. Everyone then gently placed the flag down and spread it out on the blue tarps. {There was never a single moment when the flag touched the grass or dirt….trust me as the daughter/granddaughter of military men, I am very aware of how our flag is to be treated.} Once the flag was laying out flat we waited for further instructions.

There was a precise method to folding the monstrous American flag, and the head guy was very clear with his instructions. For every stripe, the flag gets folded twice. Once we got to the blue field, we had to pay attention to where the stars fell. He would bark, “FOLD!” and the entire crew of about 50 people would fold, flatten and press all the air out of the flag. “FOLD!”…fold, flatten, press…”FOLD!”…fold, flatten, press. {You get the idea.} Once the flag was all folded, we scooped it up in our arms and placed it on hunter green tarps, which were then hooked by bungee cords to waiting ropes dangling from the top of The Monster. Some of the day’s volunteers were on”Monster Duty”, and were waiting to hoist the folded flag to the top of The Monster.

Now for the fun part! As we walked from left field toward the dugouts, they handed us a piece of paper with a player, manager or coach’s name on it, along with a strip of clear duct tape. We were now to represent either a Red Sox or Yankees player, manager or coach and head to the proper dugout with the name taped to our shirt and await further instruction. Bunny represented, “Scott Schoeneweis” and I represented, “Terry Francona!” We walked over to the Red Sox dugout and stood in line in the order our “person” would be introduced. There was about 20 minutes of waiting, so we took pictures, chatted with fellow Red Sox fans, and just took the whole experience in.

As the rehearsal began, the names of the Yankee players, managers and coaches got introduced . I felt kinda bad for the people playing the Yankees staff because just like the real Yankees, the Fenway crowd booed them. They knew it was coming and just laughed it off. {If a child was representing a Yankee, there was no booing, I promise.} Then it was time for the Red Sox players, managers and coaches to be introduced. Bunny and I were in the back of the line because Schoeneweis was the last player before Francona and the rest of the starting 9 to be introduced. While we were waiting in the dugout, I had to have my picture taken as Francona making the “call to the bullpen.” Not sure if I was at the right phone, but you get the idea. {Also, pretty sure Tito is not that happy or “girlie” when he makes the call.} LOL

They announced Schoeneweis’ name and Bunny ran out to the first base line waving and smiling. She was up on the jumbo-tron and I was nearly in tears with a mother’s pride. {We were once again under strict orders NOT to touch the white chalk!} Then they announced Francona’s name and I ran out smiling, waving and blowing kisses to the camera. {The next night when Tito just ran out and tipped his cap with a half-smile, I was shocked…he should have watched the video from the night before and taken notes!} They announce the starting 9 after I was standing next to home plate, and they came to line up next to me. They continued to run through all the announcements and ceremonial greetings. It was now time for the National Anthem. The American flag we had previously folded and hoisted, was now being unfurled from the top of The Monster. I was so proud when I looked over and saw Bunny had her hand on her heart and was singing with gusto! {there were now 9 people between us, so I had to lean back to see her.}

After the rehearsal of the ceremony, we went back to left field to fold the flag again. This time they only permitted “experienced” people to fold the flag. Guess what??? Bunny and I now qualified as “experienced!” We folded, flattened and pressed the great flag and assisted its hoisting to the top of The Monster again. Once everything had finished, we walked out through the garage opening on the foul side of left field. As we walked out, Bunny turned to me and said, “Thank you, Mama! That was the coolest thing EVER!” I put my arm around her and said, “Yeah it was!”

By now it was nearly 9:30 at night and I had promised Bunny we would go see Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar & Grill before heading home. We walked back towards Van Ness St. and past the player’s parking lot again. This time a security kid was standing there. He smiled at us and Bunny asked, “Who’s car is that?” He told her…it was one of the trainers, and she said, “Cool! Who’s car is that?” Before he could answer her I said, “OK, you get one more ‘who’s car is that’ and then you’re done, so choose wisely.” I didn’t want to be there all night and I didn’t want the poor security kid to be irritated with us. She looked around and finally said, “Who’s car is that?” “Tim Wakefield’s car.” the kid said. “OH MY GOD, THAT IS SO COOL!” was her response. {He could have been totally lying, but it made her night.} I thanked him and we proceeded to JRSB&G. From Van Ness St., we saw the back windows. She thought that was AWESOME! When we got to the front, there was a line out the door. I walked past everyone and asked security if we could just go in for a sec to see the giant poster in the foyer and so she could stick her head in to see the restaurant. He said yes, and we walked in. I was SO proud of her when she looked at the 16×20 foot mosaic poster and started to point out different Red Sox players. The security kid took our picture in front of it, and then we left.

In all my 33 years, I don’t think I have ever had a better day! {with the exception of Bunny being born.} My favorite place, with my favorite person, on a beautiful, warm spring evening! If there is ever a cure for peanut allergies, and I can take Bunny into Fenway, I may have to reconsider which day was better, but for now…this was MY MAGICAL DAY AT FENWAY PARK!!! 😀

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3 Responses to “Magical Day at Fenway Park”

  1. Amy Palmer Says:

    What an amazing experience! It’s wonderful that you got to share it together. When I’m in Boston in July, you can bet I’m going to touch the Ted Williams statue!

  2. Julia Says:

    Glad you both had such an awesome time!

  3. spellingqueen81 Says:

    What an awesome adventure!

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