Green Monster Rendezvous: My First Time at Fenway

The first thing that hits you is the dull roar of the slowly gathering crowd. Your ears fill with the sizzle of excitement that pours off every fan in the stands. Then it hits your nose. The pungent scent of ballpark beers, franks, and peanuts permeate your nostrils. But, ultimately, it is your eyes that savor the most delicious part of the feast. Once you focus your attention to the green wall in left, all other surroundings are put on pause for a moment. You think of the stories of all the greats that defended that wall, that crushed line drives into that wall, and all the history the wall has seen in its century of life. Call this explosion of senses the Green Monster Rendezvous; or at least how I remember my first time visiting Fenway Park.

No Green Monster Rendezvous is complete without a landmark of baseball

If you watch enough game broadcasts, you have heard the cliche conversations aboutGreen Monster Rendezvous famous Fenway fixtures. The Red Seat, Pesky Pole, and the triangle in center field, to name a few. But until you step out onto the concourse and drink it all in yourself, it is hard to appreciate how rare this abode is. On the eve of my first visit to America’s most beloved ballpark, I spent the night tossing and turning. How could a boy sleep with his dream set to come true in just hours? “Is the Monster as big as they say it is? What are Bostonians like? How close do we sit to the players?” My mind raced with uncertainties as I tried to anticipate what my Green Monster Rendezvous would be.

Your personal recollection of your first time visiting Fenway is a story in and of itself. Viewing baseball in a space occupied by millions of fans throughout generations of American history is a feat few parks can boast. The unmistakable green that accentuates the blue and red creates a color war that rivals any in sports. The memory of seeing the field for the first time is what still comes to mind when I hear “Fenway.”

“Whether you are five, 25, or 75, a true Red Sox fan feels that same influx of energy every time.”

But no part of digesting Fenway is complete until you finally observe the Green Monster. My first experience with the Monster was cinematic: my jaw dropped so low that you could have swept it up off the ground. The Monster’s majesty of such a towering presence might wear off with age for some, but not for me. Every time I walk up the stairs to the grandstands, the same rush of adrenaline rushes over. Whether you are five, 25, or 75, a true Red Sox fan feels that same influx of energy every time.

I was so excited to feast my eyes on the diamond that I ran off. My family toiled behind me, surely ready to ridicule me from sprinting off of the group. But I did not care. Scold me, warn me, do what you must; it will not be before I finally see the field. The funny thing about it is, they did not say a word. They knew what it meant for me. All of our parents know this feeling, because they all have their own Green Monster Rendezvous stories. In fact, if you are reading this, you have your own story to tell about this special day in your life.

Comment below with your own tale about your first time seeing America’s most beloved ballpark.

The Green Monster Has Lost its Magic

Green Monster

When I was a kid, Fenway Park seemed to be the most magical place on Earth, and the famous Green Monster was its most enchanting feature. However, while the allure of America’s Most Beloved Ballpark remains, The Wall has, in my opinion, lost some of its appeal in recent years. Once a sacred monument to Red Sox tradition, the thirty-seven foot fence now resembles a giant billboard serving corporate greed. The magic has diminished.

Perhaps it’s because I’m British and, thus, more sensitive to such things, or perhaps it’s Green Monsterbecause I’ve grown older, and now see baseball as the billion dollar business it is. But, without question, I no longer see a beguiling landmark when I look at the Monster. Instead, I see a commercialized mess.

I still love the hand-operated scoreboard and all the nostalgia it entails, but, right now, the beauty, authenticity and uniqueness of such features is being shrouded in a haze of intrusive and often incongruous advertisements. For instance, during this homestand, the Monster has been plastered with the logos and slogans of twelve different sponsors, from Volvo and Hyundai to CVS Pharmacy and W.B. Mason. Admittedly, several of the sponsorship slots are still dedicated to Red Sox charities such as the Jimmy Fund, which I totally admire, but the other advertisements frequently look vulgar. In particular, the three purpose-built ad boards atop the Monster command your attention and, therefore, ultimately detract from The Wall itself.

Of course, plastering sponsorship onto the outfield walls of Fenway Park is nothing new. In the early part of the park’s existence, everything from shaving foam to cigarettes was advertised, including on the massive left-field fence. However, between The Wall being painted green in 1947, and the addition of an All-Star Game promotional logo in 1999, advertisements were disallowed on the sacrosanct structure.

During that 52-year period, the nation fell in love with The Wall. They admired its size and width, but also its simplicity, innocence and ability to summon bygone times. There was an unspoiled beauty to the Monster that allowed people to easily imagine what the park was like when their parents and grandparents first discovered it. That’s what made it special. That’s what made it different. That’s what made it magic.

Monster

However, since 2000, that nostalgia and romance has gradually slipped into the teeth of capitalism greed. It began with a fairly unspectacular Red Sox logo being printed onto The Wall in 2001; continued with the addition of the Monster seats and specific advertising panels on the scoreboard in 2003; and, in ensuing years, has steadily worsened, to the point where today, a new generation of fans sees the Monster as just another outfield wall clad in a myriad of sponsorship.

I understand the enormous marketing potential of The Wall, as the most recognizable ballpark feature in Major League Baseball, and I’m aware we live in a highly-commercialized age. But, still, the modern Monster leaves me with a sense of dissatisfaction, and a pang of regret. Ultimately, I think the Red Sox have pushed the boundaries a little too far on this issue and, as a result, one of the great hallmarks of Boston tradition has been altered forever, which is more than a little sad.