We walked through the gates of Fenway Park on September 1st at 6:30 PM. Tickets scanned. Bags checked. ID ready (the first stop, after all, must always be the beer stand).
Of the many, many things I love about my father, the fact that he has four season tickets to the Red Sox ranks pretty high during baseball season. And he is extremely generous with his tickets, always making sure that each of his four children has the chance to take in a few games at Fenway.
Still, back in mid-July, when he told me I could take the tickets for the September 1st game, how could I have guessed that I would soon be witnessing history?
As my husband and I took our seats, I asked him who was pitching.
“Clay Buchholz,” he said.
I have to be honest, I was a little disappointed. Sure, my parents had been at Fenway on August 17th, when Buchholz had pitched his first major league game – and won – against the LA Angels. But I knew that since then, he had been back with the PawSox, and not really standing out.
I had been hoping to see Daisuke Matsuzaka or Tim Wakefield or Curt Schilling – you know, the big names. Clay Buchholz? Eh.
Of course, within a couple of hours I would be singing a different tune.
We started to realize around the 6th inning that something special was going on.
The two college kids (with thick Bawston accents) behind us were discussing it – “Dude, Buchholz has a no hitta goin’ on heah.”
“Don’t jinx it, kid. Shut up!”
Then I got a text from my dad in the 8th inning – Can you believe what you’re seeing!?
You must understand, my dad is the definition of a die-hard Red Sox fan. When he was a teenager in the 1960’s he would hitchhike up to Boston just to stand outside of Fenway. Hoping to get a glimpse of Carl Yastrzemski or Tony Conigliaro. Hoping to catch a ball that made it out of the park.
So I felt it was my obligation as his daughter to truly and fully appreciate the significance of this game.
The stadium was wild. “Sweet Caroline” was sung with more gusto than ever before. The Wave went around an unprecedented 10 times. The sounds of “Hot dogs here!” and “Get yer peanuts!” were nowhere to be found. The vendors were engrossed in the game, too.
Everyone in the stadium was standing at the top of the 9th. Cheering, clapping, giving high-fives. Camera flashes lit up the crowd.
And then Buchholz threw the final strike to Baltimore’s Nick Markakis, who watched it go by.
Mayhem ensued. The excitement and camaraderie both on the field and in the stands was akin to a play-off series win. It was truly awesome. No other word could describe it.
I am so glad we were there.
I must issue a disclaimer. My husband is a Yankees fan. But as long as Boston isn’t playing New York, he has agreed to humor me and cheer for the Sox. Besides, I don’t know if my dad could hand over his tickets to someone who would be rooting against the home team – son-in-law or not. That would just be wrong, wouldn’t it?