A crown jewel of baseball venues, Fenway Park offers more than a dedicated fan can consume in a single day. But these six sites will make your trip to Beantown memorable and fulfilling.
Stop by the Cask n’ Flagon. This (supposedly) legendary establishment might have been hit by Carlton Fisk if the darned foul pole weren’t in the way. It’s been on Lansdowne Street since 1969 and is a favorite among the locals. It has a large bar and extensive food menu—as great a joint for a family before the game as a yuppie afterwards.
And don’t worry, the staff and patrons are not pompous or disrespectful towards outsiders. It is a very friendly, welcoming atmosphere.
Eat a classic Italian sausage. A few hours before game time, Yawkey Way and Lansdowne Street start filling with the aroma of sweet Italian pork and its various accoutrements. Vendors line the streets and sell their tasty treats to the many baseball fans beginning to gather. A sausage with peppers and onions runs around $8 and is the perfect pre-game snack…if you haven’t already stuffed yourself at the Cask.
Shag homers on the Green Monster. The Red Sox Nation fan club offers early batting practice access (including access to the Green Monster seats) to its members. And membership for the year costs just $15. So you better believe that I bought it for the one Boston game I attended this year. Fans can enter through Gate C off Lansdowne Street an hour before the rest of the park opens. What better way to spend your pre-game than observe batting practice from atop the most iconic ballpark feature in the game?
Visit Boston baseball’s legends on Van Ness Street. Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski are cast individually outside Fenway’s right field gate, but a 2010 addition simply called “Teammates” is most captivating. Williams, Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky, and Dom DiMaggio stand stalwart, each in youthful likeness donning a bat on his shoulder. The statue’s plaque explains that each player hailed from the West Coast and served the United States during World War II. “They were Red Sox teammates for seven seasons, but friends for a lifetime,” it reads. In fact, the statue was inspired by a book by sports historian Dave Halberstam, who told of how Doerr, Pesky, and DiMaggio took a 1300-mile road trip to visit an ailing Williams in 2001.
Take a seat in red. Amidst the green oasis of bleacher seats in right field at Fenway Park sits a lone red companion in row 37 of section 42. Legend has it that Ted Williams blasted a 502-foot home run right through a fan’s straw hat in that exact spot. Well before the Statcast era, players and writers agreed that Williams’ homer was the farthest they’d ever seen at Fenway. So in the 1970s, when the bleachers were replaced with actual stadium seats, the Sox commemorated their great hitter’s deed with a solitary red seat.
Take in some Pesky ballpark architecture. The right field corner at Fenway Park could probably be an article in its own. There’s almost too much to take in here. First, sign your name on Pesky’s Pole, named for the shortstop who hit a couple of his just-17 career home runs into the short right field porch at Fenway. The pole stands just 302 feet from home plate—the shortest home run in the majors—and is a delight to any hitter that can sneak a ball in the tiny sliver of seats in that corner. Today, fans use sharpies to sign their names (and I’m sure some different things) on the pole itself. The tradition is allowed by Fenway’s relaxed staff.
Just a few feet to the left of the pole, the outfield wall juts back sharply to 380 feet by the bullpens, adding to the odd layout. The bullpens themselves sit side-by side with a low wall separating each from the aisle in front of the fans in the right field bleachers. Luckily, a dugout roof covers the bench in each ‘pen, shading pitchers, staff, and coaches from verbal and physical abuse from the definitely sober patrons above.
Where is the best place to sit at Fenway Park?
Well, I’m glad you asked! Since Fenway is a relatively small park, built long ago, there aren’t many bad seats view-wise. But, there are two main seating areas to avoid:
The grandstand seats are wooden benches with far less width and femur room than the traditional stadium seats. If you reference the Fenway Park seating chart above, the sections in blue numbered 1-33 starting from the right field foul pole wrapping around the infield to the left field pole are these grandstand sections. If you’re a relatively small person and can get a good deal on them, then great! Go for it. But for me and most adult-sized people, the seats truly are uncomfortable. And the ones in darker blue on the map above (13-27) are mostly under the second deck’s overhang.
The second place I would avoid is the right field bleachers. Unless you get a choice row down low by the bullpens, you run the risk of watching the Red Sox from New Hampshire (virtually). The upper rows of the bleachers are actually behind the jumbotron.
Anywhere else in Fenway Park should provide some great sight lines and a comfortable baseball-viewing experience. Honestly, I would just look for the good deals on ticket websites because cheap tickets from scalpers near the park are hard to come by. In addition, most games at Fenway sell out or come darn close to it. The Red Sox release some tickets on game day, but prices are still inflated and lines can be quite long to get them.
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