There are things that will always stick with you for the duration of your life, they are the memories and the thoughts that shape our lives and whenever we look back on them they make us smile for a brief second as we reflect. On August, 21 2011 I was able to have one of those moments, I was extremely blessed to be able to play in the “Futures at Fenway.” This mini-series bringst he AA and AAA affiliates of the Red Sox to Fenway Park and they each play a game against a team in Fenway park in a double header. The Syracuse Chiefs were the lucky recipients of being able to play against the AAA Pawtucket Redsox, and in doing so it created a memory for me that I will always remember. I have been fortunate enough that this was my second big league stadium that I played in, as the AA and AAA Texas Rangers affiliates play a preseason game at the Ballpark at Arlington.
People always talk about Red Sox nation and how crazy they are about their baseball, and you can listen to all the stories you want but actually being there you felt the heart and the emotion of the masses. Having the big club on the road, they came out strong for both games and gave some of us our first “big league” experience and maybe for some of us our last, and only one. The announced crowd was a little over 28,000 and it created an atmosphere for us MiLBers that was indescribable. I always tell people that I am a fan of the game first and then a player, I grew up a Cubs fan because that was the game that my great grandfather had on the TV every time I would visit him, and I remember sitting in the living room watching the game on mute because he didn’t like the way Harry Carey announced a game so would just sit and watch. I have said on this blog many times, that we are extremely fortunate to be blessed with an amazing job, but we are also fans of the game and get humbled very easily just like anyone else would. With the AA game being played before us, we arrived at Fenway and quickly scattered around the ballpark and some of us were traversing the concourse, on top of the monster, sitting in the outfield, or walking the concourse but we all had the same awestruck look on our faces as we first got there.
Once we were able to get on the field, you had to act like a profession but deep inside that inner littler leaguer was yearning to yell “THIS IS AMAZING” but on the exterior you had to try and remain as calm and collective as possible. Although I didn’t get to pitch in the game, it was still amazing to catch the ambiance of the stadium, the fans, and the environment in general. After the game I immediately sprinted over to the green monster and asked the scorekeeper to step inside to which he obliged. I’ve been told it’s something that an extremely limited number of people get to do, and it is what will stick out the most for me about the experience. I am always a fan of the game, I get awestruck at Ryne Sandburg while he manages the opposing Leigh Valley because I remember watching him win muted gold gloves with my grandfather when I was a kid, I also have run into the likes of Fergie Jenkins, Chili Davis, Charlie Hough, Roger Clemens, Ricky Henderson, and countless other big leaguers throughout my travels. I still try and get autographs from people I remember watching on TV, I love trading baseball cards and autographs with everyone, and I love talking to “old timers” about what it was like in their day and gaining their perspective.
No matter if you are a player, coach, fan, or casual stat checker there is a passion that sticks with all of us, and I feel extremely blessed every single day that no only to I get to put that passion to use on the mound but maybe one day I can make a memory for someone else just like countless players have done for me because deep down we are just fans.
Below is a slideshow of some pictures I took around Fenway Park including various scenery shots from all angles, and the writing inside the green monster. I hope you enjoy it.