On this date in 1912, Fenway Park hosted its first game and the Red Sox defeated the Highlanders 7-6 in 11 innings (according to the history books - I wasn't there). In the 109 years since then, Fenway has sure seen a lot.
She is as familiar to us as our own homes. When someone asks me how big my kitchen or living room is, they get a pretty general answer in most cases, but ask me about Fenway and without hesitation I'll tell you it's 310 down the line in left, 302 to the Pesky Pole, jutting out dramatically to 380 in straightaway right and 420 into the triangle in center. I can tell you that the ceiling in my living room is about 7 feet high - or roughly 30 feet shorter than the Monster.
As we sit in our seats and look around the field, we see the icons of Red Sox past. Who's that in left? Is it Ted, Jim or Yaz? Out in center, that's definitely Freddy chasing down a long fly ball and crashing into the wall. Or is it Dom? There's Dewey out in right gunning down another sucker who decided to test his arm - some runners never learn. Or maybe it's Trot with his sweat stained hat, the white jersey carrying 3 pounds of infield dirt and the white pants with another 3 pounds of dirt as well as shades of green from sliding catches robbing singles at the last possible instant.
On the mound, Pedro is staring in for the sign, Lonborg is chasing the Impossible Dream while Wakefield flutters one that floats and dips on its way to the plate and the Rocket is throwing straight gas, taking any guess work out of the batter's thoughts. Out of the 'pen, here comes Papelbon to slam the door and to a chorus of moans and groans, here comes the Steamer.
Behind the plate there's 'Tek catching another no-no and giving A-Rod a face full of leather. There's Pudge brawling with Munson and of course, willing that ball fair in '75 and sprinting around the bases.
Around the infield - Boggs, Butch and Malzone at the hot corner; Pesky, Rico and Nomar at short; over at 2B there's Bobby Doerr, RemDawg and Pedey; and who's on first but 1B Jimmie Foxx, Boomer and Mo, to name a few.
No matter where you're reading this, in your mind's eye you can see the green, that Fenway green, with the white letters and numbers of the scoreboard leaping out in sharp contrast. On the out of town scoreboard, the Morse Code spelling out TAY and JRY. High above it all from Kenmore Square is the Citgo sign, keeping an eye on all things Fenway as it has done for over 50 years. And you can't help yourself, but now you find yourself scanning the right field seats for the special one. You know where it is. Nope, a little farther over. Now about 5 rows higher. There it is. Section 42, row 37, seat 21. The red seat, 502 feet from home plate. Your panoramic scan of the outfield ends at Pesky' Pole, a bright yellow beacon rising into the sky. How many coats of yellow paint cover up how many years of our feelings as Sox fans - "Yankees Suck!!!!!!" " Sox Rule!!!!!!" Or love notes to our better halves - "Lisa hearts Tony," "Josh and Jen 2014." Or tributes to those who are no longer with us, but have the best seats in the house - "Miss you dad" or "This one's for you Gabe!"
And isn't that the real magic of Fenway? Bringing us together, moment by moment and memory by memory.
So thank you Fenway. Thank you for 109 years of moments and memories and thank you for all of those you have in store for us.