“Fenway Park, America’s Most Beloved Ballpark.” If you are a Red Sox fan, chances are you have strolled down Yawkey Way, entered the big gates at Fenway Park, emerged from the concourse with popcorn, and have seen the rolling green field before you. There is no feeling like it. The towering Green Monster, iconic yellow Pesky Pole, and small park charm makes the Boston ballpark the perfect place to watch the Red Sox conquer their opponents.
On Memorial Day I found myself in Chicago with some friends waiting for a late-night flight back to New England. It just so happened that the Red Sox were playing the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago that afternoon. So on a bit of a whim, we stood in line outside the stadium for a $15 ticket in upper-level seats. If you thought that I was going to be in Chicago at the same time as the Red Sox and not watch them play then you are kidding yourself!
We made our way through the gates and security, and took several escalator rides up to our seating level. Along the way up, my friends and I found a lookout that perfectly framed Chicago’s skyline with the iconic Willis Tower in the center. We stopped for a picture, as many other people did too!
The view was unlike any other! We walked through the concourse and found our seats. I was very impressed with the field. There were three decks of seating surrounding the infield. However in the outfield, only one relatively low section of seating was available to allow spectators to see the city beyond the ball park.
Very contrary to Fenway Park, while I was sitting in Guaranteed Rate Field, I felt like I was very much part of the city. At Fenway, I often feel that the big Green Monster shields me from the surrounding city, like walls of a castle, and I am completely invested in the field before me. Don’t get me wrong, I love the intimate feeling at Fenway, but I enjoyed the view from my seat in Chicago because I was able to take in the city and the game in one sweeping view.
This was my first time experiencing a Red Sox game not at Fenway Park. It was odd to be cheering when those around me were lamenting, and vice versa to be disappointed while those around me cheered. I felt like a bit of a rebel! Although, I was very surprised by the number or Red Sox fans in the stands, as evidenced by the red hats and shirts in the crowd.
It was also great to see David Price’s first game this season after he was benched with an elbow injury for most of April and May. Price went 5 good innings. It was by no means a lights-out performance but it was an okay first day. The Sox went on to lose but the game was an exciting one to watch with a very close score throughout.
It was odd to not hear “Sweet Caroline” ring out among the crowd, and there was no one shouting “Get your Fenway Franks here!” But I must say it was a fun experience and very interesting to watch the game in another team’s field. I am hoping to visit other MLB parks to experience the different games and cities, though I’m quite certain that no field will ever measure up to Fenway!