Overseas Fan experiences Red Sox Opening Day 2017

Eric D. Schabell
Contributing Writer

As a Red Sox fan that lives overseas, Opening Day has always been something that I watched online or on TV.

It was often recorded and watched the day after due to timezone differences.

This year would be different.

Attending Opening Day 2017 at Fenway Park was a possibility that I was not going to let slip away.
Coming into Boston... Fenway
in the background.

It started a few months ago when I found out that I would be in Boston for my work this week, the same day that the Red Sox opened their season at Fenway. It would be close though, as the flight was scheduled to land at 12:30pm and with first pitch scheduled for 2:05pm I would have to hurry.

A ticket to the game was secured and I packed a small carry-on bag only to avoid the long wait on baggage that all international flights coming in from overseas have. I was set for the first Opening Day of my life.

Monday, 3 April 2017 I get up at 5am local time to avoid rush hour traffic which could cause a missed flight. I got to the airport to find a message from the airline; my flight would be delayed by over an hour, something that has not happened before in the 5+ years I have been making work related trips to Boston.

Of all days to be delayed. The new arrival time was to be 1:15pm, pretty much ensuring I would miss first pitch.

Even offering an incentive should the pilot arrive at Boston Logan airport ahead of schedule did not work, so on arrival I worked my way through customs and grabbed a taxi to my hotel near the Charles River next to Fenway. At about 1:55pm while in the taxi on Sorrow Drive I observed the two fighter jets do their flyover Fenway Park.

Opening Day logo at Fenway Park.
At the hotel I ran to the front desk and told the receptionist that she would get bonus points for a quick check-in as I had tickets to Opening Day.

She got me into my room in less than five minutes, where I quickly changed and headed on foot to Fenway park.

It was just the bottom of the second inning when I arrived at the park. I missed the pre-game show; John Kerry, the Patriots, and more. It didn't matter, I was finally there!

If you are wondering what the differences are between a normal season game and Opening Day, I would have to say it is how enthusiastic and engaged the crowd is.

From the start to the last inning, nobody left. The crowd was singing, cheering and jumping out of their seats for every play. The concession lines were long and did not diminish at all during the game.

I had a seat in section 29, which for those that are not familiar with Fenway is located on the 3B side, half way out in to left field.
Closing out the game.

I only stay in my seat for a bit before walking around Fenway to enjoy the various standing room only views. Fans there are friendly, tend to talk a lot of baseball during the game and are more than happy to ensure everyone there gets a good view of the field during the game.

The game was exciting with a five run inning deciding the game, sparked by Pablo Sandoval beating out a single. It was described by Jason Mastrodonato.

"He went from home to first in 4.1 seconds to beat out an infield hit to shortstop that scored the Sox’ first run of the 2017 season and brought the Fenway Park crowd to its feet."

A bunt against the shift by Sandy Leon, a homer by Andrew Benintendi, a magnificent catch in centerfield by Jackie Bradley Jr., and a save by Craig Kimbrel.

The traditional singing of Sweet Caroline was the icing on the cake, as you can see the crowd was no less enthusiastic in the 8th inning.

A rather exciting moment was when this young man decided to live record a sprint across the outfield. Does anyone have a link to the video he made?

Matt Barnes heading out of Fenway
after Opening Day game.
After the game I bumped into Matt Barnes heading home after a not so stellar outing in relief. Probably the reason he was faking talking on the phone to not have to engage with any fans.

Nothing short of magic that you can begin your day in Europe and end it in Fenway Park. Even better when the Red Sox end the day with one in the win column.

Post a comment or via twitter @erics_redsox with your thoughts.

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