When the Padres announced they would play at Fenway Park in 2011 we immediately started planning our trip to Boston. Normally we alternate between football and baseball trips, but this was a stadium adventure we couldn’t pass up. Although it was exciting to think about watching a game at “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark” and seeing Adrian Gonzalez up at the plate again, I couldn’t wait to see if the atmosphere on game day matched the passion portrayed on Fever Pitch.
I’m not exactly sure when my addiction to Fever Pitch started, but I have probably seen the movie at least a hundred times. It takes place during the 2004 baseball season when the Red Sox won the World Series for the first time since 1918. Jimmy Fallon plays Ben, a high school teacher who is the ultimate Red Sox fan. He takes his students on a field trip and meets Lindsay, played by Drew Barrymore. It doesn’t take long for Lindsay to fall in love with Ben, but she soon realizes that she has to compete against the Red Sox for his attention.
We left San Diego on the red-eye flight with a layover in New Jersey before arriving in Boston. When we arrived in Newark, we made a quick run to Crumbs Bakery for some of their famous cupcakes. On the plane we sat next to a Yankees fan that travels to Boston regularly for work. He was full of ideas on restaurants and must-see tourist spots.
You know you’ve landed in a sports town when you hear this message over the loud speaker in the airport, “Welcome to Boston sports fans, home of the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, and New England Patriots.” To top it off, the city was in celebration mode after the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup the night before. After picking up our rental car, we drove 22 miles southwest to Foxboro to check out Gillette Stadium at Patriot’s Place. We couldn’t walk inside the stadium, but we looked the team store and could see the field through one of the gates.
We spent the next two days in Cape Cod. It was impossible not to fall in love with the 500 miles of coastline, quaint neighborhoods, baseball games, and amazing food. The Cape Cod Baseball League is a summer collegiate league that features some of college baseball’s biggest starts. Many MLB players played in the Cape Cod league including Chase Utley, Tim Lincecum, and Evan Longoria.
We left the Cape earlier than expected on Saturday morning in order to make it back to Boston in time for the Bruins Parade. The Boston Globe estimated that more than a million people would line the streets in downtown to celebrate the victory and get a glimpse of the Stanley Cup. Living in San Diego, I’ve never witnessed anything like this. I’ll never forget hearing watching the Bruins raise the Stanley Cup for the crowd as “We are the Champions” played in the background and black and yellow confetti filled the air.
After the parade we checked into the Langham Hotel and had dessert at the Chocolate Bar, an all-you-can-eat dessert lover’s dream come true. In theory this sounded like the greatest thing ever, but you can only eat so much chocolate before you feel completely sick. We walked off the calories at the Quincy Marketplace, the North End, and through the Italian District. We continued sightseeing on Sunday with a tour of Harvard University and a visit to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. We also took a boat cruise on the Boston Harbor as the sun set over Cambridge.
Monday was the big day. We got decked out in our Padres gear and took the green line so Kenmore Station early in the afternoon. We bought tickets for the Fenway Park tour and had lunch at the Bleacher Bar. There is a view of the field from inside the restaurant so we have our first look at Fenway while enjoying our sandwiches.
The $12 Fenway Park tour is totally worth it, unless you’re a Yankees fan because the tour guides will literally make fun of you for the entire hour. Our entertaining tour guide gave a fascinating history lesson of the Red Sox and let us walk all around the ballpark. The highlight of the tour was walking around on the Green Monster. After, we walked out to Yawkey Way and joined the crowd of people that were starting to fill the streets waiting for the game to start.
Within moments, the party in the streets atmosphere that I watched in Fever Pitch was unfolding before my very own eyes. The smell of Italian sausages filled the air, crowds of people filled the streets, and live bands were playing music. It was like we were at the World Series instead of just a regular weeknight game. We saw a few other Padres fans walking around and talked about how we wish games at Petco felt like this.
The electric atmosphere continues as you walk inside Fenway and find your seat. I loved every single second of the experience, but one of my greatest memories from the night was seeing my name up on the scoreboard! At every sporting event, I always ask the guys if they got me a scoreboard surprise. The answer is always no, but this time was different. I almost missed it because we had an obstructed view from our seats but luckily Fernando kept insisting that I move and take pictures of the scoreboard.
It was such a beautiful night at the ballpark and the weather was absolutely perfect. The Red Sox fans were friendly and their passion for baseball was evident. I don’t know if any stadium experience will compare to singing Sweet Caroline at the top of our lungs with 35,000 other people. Our Padres lost the first game, but they took the series after winning on Tuesday and Wednesday.