They Do It Right at Fenway Park.


In ten days, I’ll be off on another trip. My second stop will be in Boston and, of course, it will include two Red Sox games at Fenway Park.
 
Every baseball fan should see a ballgame in that historic ballpark. For one thing, it’s old … built in 1912. The current Red Sox ownership has spent many millions over the past decade renovating and improving and, to the extent possible, expanding the capacity, which is now 37,673. Only the Miami Marlins and the Tampa Bay Rays play in smaller facilities.
 
The first game I ever saw in Fenway Park was on May 25, 1946, and the Red Sox defeated the New York Yankees 7-4. I saw the 100th anniversary game on April 20, 2012. And, as noted, I’ll add two more games next month. I don’t know how many ballgames I’ve seen in Fenway Park, but it’s probably 50 or 60.
 
Seeing a Sox game in Fenway Park is a special experience. The field is immaculate of course, and almost every game is sold out. Red Sox fans understand the game and—thank God—the team’s management knows that and they treat their fans with respect. The giant electronic scoreboard tells you who’s pitching and gives basic statistics for each batter. The public address announcer speaks clearly and calmly. Boston fans pay attention the game and react appropriately according to what is happening on the field.
 
The sad fact is, most other major league teams around the country feel the need to whip up enthusiasm from the crowd, even when the action on the field doesn’t warrant it.
 
In my experience, the worst offender is the management of the Los Angeles Angels. (By the way, the team doesn’t play in Los Angeles; their stadium located 30 miles away in Anaheim.) If you are a serious, knowledgable baseball fan, watching a game at Angel Stadium is a dreadful experience because you are assaulted both audibly and visually from the moment you enter the ballpark.

Periodically, the giant scoreboard lights up and giant letters appear on the screen that spell out, MAKE SOME NOISE!! Of course, the ga-ga crowd obeys and there’s cheering around the ballpark for the next several seconds … even if nothing is happening on the field.
 
Throughout the entire game and regardless of the circumstances on the field, the public address announcer bellows the introduction of each Angel player as though his coming to bat is a spectacular, earth-shaking event: “Number six, third baseman, DAAAVID FREEEEEEEEEZE!!!”

A fan holds up his Rally Monkey during the game against the Yankees. Photo by Matt Brown/Angels Baseball LP

But the worst offense, aided and abetted by the Angel fans, is the ludicrous Rally Monkey. When the Angels are losing and need to score some runs, the scoreboard shows video of a small monkey jumping up and down, and thousands of fans start waving small stuffed toy monkeys in the air. So help me, that’s the gospel truth.
 
If the Red Sox management tried any of that insulting moronic stuff in Fenway Park, outraged fans would storm the owners’ box. And I’d be right there with them!