Take Me Out Posted by Gary Locke on May 7, 2020 in Culture, English Vocabulary, sports
For those of us who have been social distancing for the better part of two months, it’s not unusual to spend some time imagining where we would like to go when this is all over. I commonly see the question, “Where will you go first?” on social media posts. But, as I let my fantasies drift to these wonderful places, I can’t help but wonder how I can possibly describe these places to people who have never been there? We need to use colorful adjectives when helping people picture not just what a place looks like, but what it is like to actually be there.
I could name about 20 places that I would happily visit when the lockdown ends for good and things return to something resembling normal. Yet, to be honest, one place that I miss the most, and think of all the time currently, is Fenway Park in Boston. The oldest ballpark in professional baseball, it opened in 1912 and still manages to retain much of its original charm.
Yes, charm. That’s a good word to describe Fenway. Charm means possessing alluring, appealing characteristics. It is at once attractive, delightful, and almost magical. In fact, a charm (as a noun) is something that has mystical powers. I clearly remember when, as a teenager, I first walked up the concrete ramp from Fenway’s busy underground food concourse to the seating area facing the field. It was like a tunnel, and I stepped from a shadowy environment of noise and scents into bright daylight. I was rewarded with the most astonishing view of a deep blue sky that domed a field of every imaginable shade of green.
Never had I ever imagined that there could be so many variations of green! Some seats are dark green, the outfield is lush green grass, the infield is yet a different shade of green, the building is a pale green, and there is a massive deep green wall looming over the left-field which is popularly known as The Green Monster. Sometimes shapes or words are mowed into the outfield grass.
There is an atmosphere inside and throughout the surrounding neighborhood, which is simply unlike any other ballpark or, indeed, any place I’ve ever been. It is located right in the heart of Boston, surrounded by many buildings that are of similar age and look. Politicians, celebrities, ballplayers, and local residents all pass each other or gather side by side at a local pub. It is a busy, bustling community. Fans, out of town visitors, and players all recognize the unique appeal of Fenway Park.
When it was built, steel beams were required to support the upper levels. This resulted in a number of obstructed view seats. But, due to the size of the park, most of those seats, even those behind a post, put you in very close proximity to the field and the players. I personally have been struck by balls hit by players on many occasions. You really need to pay attention to what’s happening on the field. Which is much easier in intimate surroundings like these.
Being the oldest park, it has rightfully been called historic. Babe Ruth pitched here. So did Cy Young, the man for whom the most prized award for pitching is named. Ted Williams, largely recognized as the greatest hitter in the game, played his entire career here. There is one seat in the right-field stands which is painted red. Williams hit a home run that hit a fan in that seat, putting a hole in the man’s straw hat and briefly knocking him out. The ball traveled a distance of 502 feet!
I have many great stories from my times at Fenway, and characters who made those days (and nights) so memorable. I’ve found myself in conversation with journalists, broadcasters, politicians, and people from all over the world. I once sat next to a gentleman who had been sitting in the same seat for over 50 seasons!
So, yes, when life returns to what will pass for normal, take me out to the ballgame, and I don’t care if I never get back.