The end of summer vacation is always sad. So many memories can be made in the span of just a couple of months without school, and during the summer before my sophomore year of high school, I made some memories at the ballpark.
My dad, brother, and I took a 10-day trip that started in Boston and included a trip to the beautiful Fenway Park, which I had never been to before. The Yankees were playing the Red Sox that night with Domingo Germán facing Chris Sale on July 28, 2019, and having never been to a rivalry game (let alone one in Boston), I didn’t entirely know what I was in for.
We walked around the city for a bit when we first arrived, but after that, it was all baseball. Of course, I walked around in Yankees gear, getting some weird looks along the way. We walked over to the ballpark and even stopped at a street vendor selling a booklet with an additional “Yankees Suck” pin that I proudly wore at the game and still have on my dresser today.
We made it into the park, and the seats were full on a beautiful summer night. Yankees and Red Sox fans were wandering amongst each other, searching for the perfect hot dog, popcorn stand or random vendor. We sat high up in the right-field stands, but the view was great, and the best part was that we were around some very noisy but funny Yankees fans. It made the experience all the better.
The first two innings were scoreless, but Austin Romine of all people hit a two-run tank to the Green Monster in the house in the top of the third, and set the Yankees fans in the house into a frenzy. An early lead in a hostile environment was huge. Then, after another strong inning from Germán, Didi Gregorius slapped on another two runs with a blast to right field:
You can even see some white shirts standing up high in the right-field stands, one of them was me!
The Red Sox didn’t stay down for long, though. Much to the joy of those around us, Andrew Benintendi blasted a two-run homer to right field and cut the Yankees lead in half.
But the Yankees came right back in the top of the sixth inning thanks to Gio Urshela sending the ball off the center-field wall and Gleyber Torres chugging around the bases and making it home. The Yankees fans in our corner (including us) bid Sale adieu, much to the chagrin of the Red Sox fans in our section.
The Sox got the momentum going in the bottom of the sixth, though, chasing Germán after he allowed Rafael Devers to score a run and two hits to Xander Boegarts and J.D. Martinez. Tommy Kahnle finished the job in that inning, and then the Yankees offense went back to work, getting Gregorius up with the bases loaded in the top of the seventh inning. All Yankees fans in the outfield were on cloud nine, especially our fun little group in the corner, but when Jackie Bradley Jr. threw the ball away after trying to double up Luke Voit at first base, allowing two runs to score.
Everything was incredible.
The Red Sox had a good bottom of the seventh, but only managed one run across the plate, and then it was time for “Sweet Caroline,” where we Yankees fans replaced the “duh duh duh” part of the song with “Red Sox suck,” again, much to the chagrin of the Red Sox fans around us who just wanted to sing the song without any interruptions from the New Yorkers.
The Yankees went on to win the game 9-6 after some late-game shenanigans from Aroldis Chapman (because what is a Yankees game from his thankfully-concluded time with the team without that), and I made some new friends along the way.
My first experience at Fenway was an excellent one — not just because we sat near some people wearing the same color gear we were, but also because the ballpark is magnificent to watch a ballgame in. The sun setting behind the third-base side looked like it could have been from a painting, and even though the Boston fans around us may have been annoyed that the Yankees were winning and we were happy, they were game to partake in the rivalry repartee as well. Being around people who enjoyed baseball just as much as we do enhanced the experience.
There are plenty of negatives that come with games between rival teams. Fans argue, fight, throw food, etc. But the best is when the people around you don’t take the game too seriously and are just there to enjoy some ballpark food and a baseball game. I had always wanted to go to Fenway Park to experience a ballgame there, but being there for my first time in attendance to a Yankees vs. Red Sox matchup was something I will never forget and enjoyed wholeheartedly.