Monday, March 26, 2012

Finding Wally the Green Monster Amid the Fenway Park Tour

This all started over a week ago.  DLG was frantically digging in her sand box with tears in her eyes.  I could hear her mumbling from the driveway - while I was fiddling around with the bike ramp around the basketball hoop - about looking for "him."  Wondering what she was talking about, I naturally walked over to her to see what was up.  It all started right here, over a week ago.

"I can't find Wally."  She blurts out.  I'm thinking who the Hell is Wally?  One of her arts and crafts projects?  Clearly, I'm not helping because she looks at me with the slightly pissed off look that is normally reserved for her Brothers.

"Can you help me dig?" she asks me as she hands me one of her sandbox shovels, "I can't find Wally the Green Monster."  And then the tears start to flow.

I dig furiously in vain for 10 minutes.  I find matchboxes, spoons and toys, but no stuffed animal.   I don't where she buried Wally, but she didn't bury him here.  But wanting the crying to stop, I told her that I would buy her another one during the weekend.  We would go into Boston, just me and her, and buy her a new Wally the Green Monster.  Over the course of the coming days, she reminds me that we were going to Boston to get her a new stuffed animal.  45 minutes into the City for a new stuffed animal?  Yep.

9am.  Boston, MA.  One thing I didn't tell her though was that we were going to do something I wanted to do, too.  See, I always wanted to do the Fenway Park Tour, and in fact we had plans to do it a couple of years ago.  It's the 100 year anniversary of the ball park after all - see the banners, maybe walk on the field, talk to some old time ushers.  Yeah, that's what I wanted to do, and if she wanted her stuffed animal, she was going to have to do it, too.  Sorry, sweetheart.

So we walk in to the Red Sox Store on Yawkey Way to take care of our first task.  Good, it's not too busy.  And naturally she leads me to the wall of Wallys.  We peruse Wallys big and small and settle on the little Wally the Green Monster for her and then tickets to the tour for me.  A little bit of good to go with the bad.  (Just seemed like the right thing to write.)  I think that she's having a good time, though judging by how hard she's hugging Wally right now.  She was literally hugging the stuffing out of him.

10:15am.  Boston, MA.  Soon we got our tickets (handwritten because they had a power outage the night before, of course) and walked in to Gate A.  Brilliant idea to walk us in while they were spraying heavy duty paint on one of the ramps near us.  I was tempted to cover DLG's face from the fumes, at the risk of being called a baby smotherer.  The guide stops us 15 feet away from the painters.  Seriously, guy, can we stand and listen to you somewhere else?

Undeterred, the guide starts making fun of the Yankees and talks ruefully about the good ole days.  No one asked about Bobby Valentine vs Ben Cherington, Daniel Bard as a starter or chicken and beer, unfortunately.  Even though there were Syracuse fans amongst us going to the Eastern Regional Final later that night. 

We head out to the left field grandstand on our first stop.  We learn about the Ted Williams red seat and the history of the ballpark, including the Morse code on the scoreboard dedicated to the Yawkeys, the ladder to nowhere that could have resulted in a ground rule triple and other history from the last 100 years.  Most of it you could read about in the Curse of the Bambino, but it was still interesting.  Uncomfortable in the baby seats they call the Grandstand, but interesting still.  It was short enough for DLG to make fun of my height in the lilliputian-like seats.  Very funny, little girl, I'm going to ask you to help me remove my knees from my ribs, honestly.

We then make our way up the full six flights of stairs to the Press Box.  We learned a little bit more about the team and its history, how we beat the Yankees in the first game at Fenway "and we've been beating them ever since."  We discovered that they moved the retired numbers back to the original cursed position of 9-4-1-8.  It took me a while to remember who's retired number 6 that was.  I guess it had been a while since I had been to Fenway.

View from the Green Monster Seats
Our final stop was the Green Monster seats.  Priced at $190 per seat, I was always wondering what the view was like, but never bothered to fork over the dough to find out.  The guide told us that during batting practice, a home run ball comes flying into these seats every 90 seconds.  I then asked him if we could come up here for BP even if we didn't have any tickets.  He just shook his head no and laughed at me.  Come on, guy.

And then just like that we were done.  It seemed so short that even DLG wanted to stay a little longer.  But when I told her that we had to leave for the next tour, she just hugged her new Wally a little tighter, put her coat on and took my hand that I offered her back to the car.  I'm glad we couldn't find her old Wally, frankly.  Now can someone help me find new Wally?  She's lost him, too...

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