Fenway Park book giveaway

*Today (Friday) is the last day to submit your story for consideration!

The good folks at St. Martin’s Press have been kind enough to offer three copies of their new book, Fenway Park: The Centennial: 100 Years of Red Sox Baseball (reviewed by yours truly here) to The Hardball Times’ readers.

And the powers that be at THT have allowed me to determine how the recipients of those three copies will be determined.

Let’s keep this simple. In the comments below, post your favorite Fenway- or Red Sox-related story. It might be an in-person account of a trip to the ballpark, a particularly memorable game you saw on TV, or perhaps a made-up scenario you have always dreamed about (a Red Sox-Cubs World Series, for example).

The three best stories—as determined by this unbiased, non-Bosox fan judge—will have their very own copies of Fenway Park: The Centennial sent their way.

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  1. Phil said...

    I grew up in Maine, so it was pretty easy to decide who I was rooting for.  Red Sox mania has been around for as long as I remember – in fourth grade the school PA system gave regular updates during the Bucky Bleeping Dent game.

    Right around this time, my parents took us to our very first game at Fenway Park.  It was also our first trip to Boston, so taking the subway and seeing Quincy Market was almost as fun.  I don’t remember who played or won, but I do remember the wooden seats and getting to touch the Green Monster.

    When I went to college in Boston, the Sox were in the doldrums and tickets were much easier to get than today (and we walked uphill both ways to classes in the snow, too).  My roommates and I caught an afternoon game sitting right behind the bullpen. When the announcer mentioned that the second game of the double-header would start in a couple hours (we had no idea), we just wandered around below for awhile, then went further up into the bleachers to catch the night game.

    When Pedro came to town, I was lucky to get tickets with a few friends one afternoon when he was pitching against the A’s.  Miguel Tejada (I think) hit a foul ball, and after bouncing off someone else’s hands ended up in mine.  A PEDROBALL!!!  I had it for all of 30 seconds, until a young kid came over and asked for it.  You have no idea how hard it was to give that up.  I still wonder if I did the right thing (well, not really, but still – a PEDROBALL!)

    Sorry for the stream of consciousness.  Looking forward to seeing other stories.

  2. Ryan said...

    For a short time, I was considering joining a religious order in Boston called the Society of Saint John the Evangelist, which is a monastery off Harvard Yard. I was a novice monk for about six months.

    Monks, of course, do not get paid very much, due to vows of poverty and such as that. Monks also have to ask permission from the Superior (Abbot) to leave the monastery grounds for any reason, due to vows of stability and obedience. 

    As it happened, myself and a few of the other brothers wanted to see Tim Wakefield, a good knuckleballer, pitch. The Abbot was a rather old school monastic, stern and determined not to allow us to do something as expensive and frivolous as attend a baseball game.

    We kept our mouths shut and saved are nickels and dimes for months. We kept them hidden in an old wine flask in the monastery cellar. The monastery cellarer was sympathetic to the Sox, so he kept the bottle of money hidden for us behind some sacks of flour.

    The season wore on, and near the end of the season we discovered that we had saved enough for fare on the T subway, admission to the ballgame, and perhaps a good Fenway Frank hot dog.

    As it happened, Wakefield was pitching on a Friday night. We snuck out after Evening Prayer since we didn’t have Compline on Friday nights. We made our way to the game, no doubt being a sight to behold walking into Fenway park in our monkwear religious garb.

    I can’t remember who won the game or what the score was, but I remember some Sox fans felt sorry for us and gave us a lift back home after the game. We were dropped off about a block from the monastery because we were hoping to sneak back in without the Abbot’s knowledge.

    As we climbed in the window of the laundry, the Abbot was standing there and waiting for us. How he knew we were going to sneak back in that way we never found out. He just glared at us for a moment, and audibly harrumphed, “You boys would have be in less trouble had you had brought me a Fenway Frank.”

  3. Robin said...

    I grew up in MA and was born in Boston, but never went to a game until June 2008.  I went as a celebration of completing radiation and chemo treatment for a rare form of cancer at the age of 28.  I took my dad with me as a thank you for driving me from my home in CT to Dana Farber every day for 8 weeks.  It was a great time, and I plan to go again, once I reach the 5 year milestone, where they consider me in remission.

  4. Mike M said...

    Two years ago I was at Camden Yards to watch an Orioles/Red Sox game.  The Orioles were down 10-1 going into the seventh inning, and it looked like they had no prayer for a win.  Suddenly they started chipping away at the lead against Okajima, and Pap, and company, and before you knew it they won the game 11-10!

    Everyone in the Red Sox Nation is a band-waggon jumper (this includes everyone working for their flagship network ESPN.)  Go Rays!  Get that Wild Card!

  5. Ted T said...

    Although the Red Sox are clearly in the highly advantaged class of baseball teams these days, they still sometimes display weird confluences of talent and losses.

    I went to the game – it must be the only one – where David Ortiz tripled *twice*. The Orioles handled the rest of the Red Sox without difficulty and won 8-3.

    Far worse were the three Pedro Martinez starts I attended at Fenway between 1999 and 2000. His combined record in those two years: 41-10. His combined record in my presence: 0-3. Dammit!

  6. Jim C said...

    In the spring of 2002 I met a woman online from Maine, who seemed nice, intelligent, and interesting. We chatted online, talked on the phone, and after two months of that, we finally met. She came to visit me in DC, and our chemistry was fabulous. We had a great week together, and since I was going to the SABR convention a week later, in Boston, she made plans to join me for the weekend, which included a game at Fenway. She is a lifelong Red Sox fan, but had never been to Fenway. It was just a wonderful experience for me to be able to take the woman I love to her first game at Fenway. We were in the bleachers, right behind the Sox bullpen. They lost to the Braves that night, but it was a fabulous treat for me, to be there with her.

  7. Mikey said...

    May 20, 2006. I’m living in Hoboken, NJ. My friend Matt from Cape Cod took a bus to my apartment the night before. We are up at 6am and in NYC to grab a bus to Philly. After getting on the bus, we check our tickets only to realize the game is at 7pm and we have a full day of roaming Philadelphia decked out in full Red Sox attire. Aside from checking out the city, we decide to walk from the heart of the city, thru the residential districts across the highway to the stadium. So myself (Rice jersey) and Matt (Yaz jersey) start our trek. One Liberty Bell, two cheese steaks, and a multitude of boos and insults later it is time for batting practice and we are at the stadium.  Our seats are front row by the right field pole. A number of Philly fans are throwing comments at Manny. We start yelling his praises. So much so, that after I yell “I want to be your friend on Facebook” he turns and throws a ball to me. Without much hesitation, I snap a quick picture of myself with the ball and turn to hand it to a red-haired, freckled girl of about 8 years old who is wearing an Ortiz jersey and Sox hat (and not a pink hat thankfully). Hey eyes lit up like mine did on Oct 27, 2004. I didn’t do it for any recognition, I just know that at that age I would have loved to get a real baseball… but the few beers her parents bought me was an added bonus. The game is underway and it’s a good one.  Great pitching, good ABs… from both sides. Then the Sox pull ahead in the 6th which included an RBI by Beckett.  And we start to pull out our sign between innings.  “Don and Jerry: McFadden’s after the game.  Drinks are on us. Bring Hazel Mae.” To fit it all we had to write it on a white shower curtain… which made it very easy to fold it into my pocket when not using it. It got the attention of fans behind us and turned into a photo op for any Red Sox fans, many of which had come down to pose with us. It almost seemed as tho Philly fans were moving to other sections and Red Sox fans migrating to sit near the growing crowd in our section. Then in the 7th… something that hasn’t happened to the Sox in 35 years.  A pitcher hits a home run.  Beckett takes Myers deep and we go wild. It was the icing on the cake. Even tho Don, Jerry, & Hazel didn’t show up at McFadden’s it was still the greatest game I have attended.

  8. David Wice said...

    In September, 1957, I left home in Philadelphia to be a freshman at Harvard.  The first week I was there, I took the T to Boston to see the Red Sox and especially Ted Williams.  In those days, tickets were available and inexpensive.  I sat in an unoccupied seat next to a Sox fan.  He was quite friendly, and asked me where I was from.  “Have you ever been to Fenway Park?” he asked.  “First time,” I replied.  “Well, you’re lucky to see it.  They are going to tear it down soon and build a modern ballpark to replace it.”

  9. Mike Mel said...

    It was a sunny Saturday in September.  Kids had just moved back to school, our son just outside Boston.  Catching up on some yard work.  Phone rings.  It’s a friend who has bleacher seats at Fenway that he can’t use for THAT AFTERNOON.  Sox are playing the Yankees.  Wife and I look at each other – let’s go!

    Seats are underneath (or behind) the jumbotron.  Up there you find many Yankee fans and verbal jousting (or is it abuse?) is everywhere.  Called our son and he was coming in on the T to meet us with his roommate for dinner after the game.  Clouds threaten in the middle of the game and the Sox actually get to Messina.  With the Sox ahead by two and A-Rod coming to bat, Tito brings in Papelbon.  The skies open up and there is a three hour rain delay.

    When the game starts up again our son decides that if we are going to stay and watch the last three innings it would be too long so they were going back to school (they weren’t old enough to sit in a bar and watch it there).  We again look at each other and decide, after waiting out the rain delay, that we would leave Fenway and take them out for dinner.

    As we were walking out the gate the attendants said “Where you going?!?  You waited all this time and now are leaving??”.  We explained to them that our son and roommate were waiting outside and seeing they couldn’t get in, we were going out.  One of them said, low key, “They can get in.”  “Huh?”  “ Yeah, where are they?”  After waiting for some drunk fool to leave after begging “Please let me in!  I only want to see the grass and then I’ll leave.”  The two boys “sneaked” in.

    With most of the faithful gone, we sat near third base.  Saw A-Rod strike out to end the top of the seventh.  The place was rockin’ with the Dropkick Murphys’ Tessie and Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline.  Sox win.  We noted that this scenario would have never have happened at Yankee Stadium.  It was a lot of fun, glad we stayed even though we are Yankee fans.  Thanks to some very understanding Rex Sox gate attendants.

  10. Gregg said...

    My father took me to my first game in 1980.  The opponents (my brother says the Brewer, my father the Yankees) scored 4 in the top of the first.  The Sox answered with 5 in the bottom.  I turned my 5 year old head to my Dad, and said:  “That was great, Dad!  Thanks so much!”  He said: “Son, there are 8 more innings to go.”  Reports are that I went into stunned silence for the next two innings.

    31 years later, I took my son to his first game with my father.  We laughed as the teams combined to score 8 runs in the opening frame.  I was comfortable telling my son that there were only 7 and 1/2 more to play, since the Sox tallied all 8.

    Go Sox.

  11. Daryl said...

    Two years ago, I took my 13-yr old son to Fenway for his birthday.  He had been a Red Sox fan ever since they won the WS in 2004, when he was 8 yrs old.

    We walked to Fenway from our Boston hotel about 4 hours prior to gametime.  We wanted to take everything in!  We ate at the corner pub just beyond left field, hung out along Yawkey Way, and bought hats and jersey at the awesome merchandise shops outside the stadium.  The fact that Yawkey Way becomes part of the stadium a couple hours before gametime is so cool.  I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced a better environment before a game.

    We go in early for batting practice and find our seats.  Incredible…7 rows up from the on-deck circle by the Sox dugout.  My son turns to me and says “thanks” for the great birthday present.  Minutes later, I notice I have a voicemail.  I listen to it and it’s from a friend of a friend that works in the Red Sox organization that says he would like to escort my son and I to the Green Monster to watch batting practice!!  He gets our hand stamped and tells us we’re welcome to stay as long as we want.  Not only do we watch BP, we watch the first 5 innings of the game from the first row on top of the Green Monster.  We then return to our great seats behind the dugout to watch the remainder of the game…see Big Poppy up close,sing Sweet Caroline with the crowd (which I have immortalized in video), and watch Papelbon fiercely get the save.

    We wrap it up by watching the players leave beyond the RF players entrance, then walk back to our hotel…with memories that will last forever. 

    Sometime around the 3rd inning, my son turned to me and said “Dad, I don’t think I’ll ever have a birthday that will top this one.”

    “I know son…me too.”

  12. Greg Simons said...

    Thank you to everyone for sharing your stories.  We had tales of history, romance, illness, humor, family, friends and fun.

    It wasn’t easy choosing three winners (I knew it wouldn’t be), but the three recipients of copies of the book are:

    Mike Mel

    I’ll be contacting each of the winners shortly. 

    Again, thanks to everyone for sharing your own personal histories of Fenway Park.

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