I went to the Boston Red Sox this past Saturday with my 7 year old. I measure the success of a trip to the Red Sox with one of my sons by a complicated calculus of the number of innings we actually watch, the number of innings spent in the restroom, the cost of souvenirs and the number of different snacks consumed. Well, this game was a winner on all counts.
It started as we settled into our comfortable fist baseline seats with our Fenway Franks and peanuts still in the shell. A father and son of about the same age as my son and myself desperately came up to us and asked if we would switch seats with them. You see, this little boy, in his little league Red Sox uniform and wearing his Franklin/Butch Hobston glove – must have been dad’s glove, was focused on catching a foul ball. His dad, though one connection or another had managed to get the ‘seats of a lifetime’ directly behind home plate. These seats offered an amazing view of every pitch and a closeness to the players that verges on creepy. But, because of some Massachusetts lawyer in 1912, there’s a net behind home plate so the well-heeled fans don’t lose any teeth. Seeing that I could both score great seats and make this little boy’s day (that would be the little boy in ME), we moved down to Section 47.
We did see what we had expected from this very special little piece of prime Boston real estate – not to mention hearing the sounds of the game like never before. A Curt Shilling fast ball smacking Varitek’s glove brings resounding joy to the true believers. Because of the netting surrounding our little area, it can feel a little like a cage with us chimpanzees looking out at the rest of the fans and the field. After $100 a ticket for the seat, probably $50 a head in snacks and drinks and as much to park – do you think that some of the best major league ball players in the world would provide the best entertainment to those lucky chimpanzees in the home plate cage? Nope. Pro baseball was a distant second to the chimpanzees’ favorite sport – watching people relate to foul balls.
Not a stray ball was hit that didn’t lead the crowd to a strong emotional response. OOOHHHH!!! She really got ‘beaned’ by that one! Beer Bath Row 15!! One hander! Cute kid with glove run down by fat drunk guy! Fumble by the rich guy with the field seat he doesn’t deserve the ball. Holy Bleachers Batman! He’s going to fall into left field! And on, and on, and on. I have never seen such a degree of mass human entertainment since those expert lawyers in the OJ Case made a mockery of the American legal system and embarrassed lawyers wholesale across the country. And so it went for the entire game (which was as good as a baseball game gets by the way) – the chimpanzees hooped and hollered about every last ball. Don’t forget the grounded fouls. "Give the ball to the kid." The all powerful ball boy granted $6 rawhide wishes on deserving fans throughout the game. Even Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz went out of their ways to toss balls into he stands – they know how the chimpanzees love their bananas!
We could all save a lot of money and just have a pitcher and a batter on the field (that should keep us under the payroll cap) hitting balls into the stands to see who loses a tooth, gets a black eye or makes the people 25 feet below him smell like a brewery. It might lower the cost of this Boston Real Estate, but they again with all the lawyers in Boston, they might make them up a net around the whole crowd – even people in the cheap real estate can then be chimpanzees too!