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The singular, lasting joy of a Fenway visit

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Every time you step into the park, you’ll take it with you forever.

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Division Series - Cleveland Indians v Boston Red Sox - Game Four
He said goodbye; I say hello.
Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

You will not remember most of the days of your life. That’s just a fact, and it is by necessity. We are not (yet) computers, and most of us simply don’t have the data to store all the images of what happened during any given 24-hour period. Yes, there is a condition called hyperthymesia, which allows humans to do just that, but there have been a handful of cases ever confirmed. (Fun fact: One of them is actress Marilu Henner.)

If all this forgetting sounds sad, it shouldn’t. You always have the power to change it. What we remember better than anything else in our lives — by a longshot — are deviations from our routines. Put another way, you feel a lot better when you Treat Yo Self, and your near-certain to remember it. Which brings us to Fenway Park.

If you’re anything like me -- and given that you’re reading this, you probably are -- you can remember where you sat the last time you were at Fenway. Actually, if you’re like me, you can remember where you sat literally every time you’ve gone to Fenway, and there’s a good reason for this: It’s a new way of seeing something you love.

It is, in fact, the only new way to get this new perspective. Ninety-nine percent of the games you’ll watch in your life will be on television; this is fun and good until it isn’t, and simply moving from one side of your couch to another doesn’t make the game any more or less fun or interesting unless there’s, like, free beer at the other end of the couch.

At home, you’re at the mercy of your regular life, and of NESN’s (wonderful!) camerawork, Dave O’Brien’s (professional!) perspective, (amusing!) local commercials, and the like. You know, the same old, same old. You will only remember what happens in the game based on what happens in the game, and, like most games, it will be instantly forgettable. I can’t tell you about last week’s spring training games, and I watched and reviewed them for this website.

Going to the stadium turns this whole equation on its head: The result almost doesn’t matter at all and you’ll remember it forever. I’ve been to a handful of games at Fenway in my life and I know where I sat, who I was with, and what the weather was like at all of them — even the 18-0 loss to the Brewers one bygone Patriots Day, which was, despite the score, awesomely fun. Each visit of mine carries an indelible image, and these images, spaced apart every handful of years throughout my life, create a mental scrapbook of what my life as a Red Sox fan has meant to me.

These images are like tattoos on my brain, and, unlike some real tattoos, they’re worth every penny. The single salient fact of the baseball season — and life — is that every day into one another, but going to the game stops both streaks dead in their tracks, every time. It’s not that the environment is perfect or that the team is necessarily great; the basic appeal of baseball is that at every game, you might, inexplicably, see something you haven’t seen before. Going to the game ensures this will happen.

On TV, the only way to make this happen is to watch and wait. Don’t get me wrong: This is great! I’ve spent a majority of my sports-watching life taking in Sox games on TV, waiting for history to happen in front of my face. Usually this just ends up just pleasantly passing the time, depending on how the Sox do.

But baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint, and you feel every second of it, even as a fan. It can feel like a burden. Buying a ticket is the best way to unburden yourself of your marathon training, so to speak. Going to the game is how you know the whole thing is bigger than you. It’s about the journey (every game weighted equally), not the destination (another World Series title, obviously). Surrounded by fellow Sox fans, just a face in the crowd, and the action you’re watching, the way you’re watching it, is yours alone. You’ll be gone in three hours, but it’s anything but ephemeral: You’ll take it with you forever.

If you don’t regularly go to Fenway -- as I don’t, mostly as a function of geography, a problem you might not have -- it’s more than worth it to get your butt in there sooner rather than later. It’ll make you feel small and huge all at once, confined and free, maybe drunk but definitely, in a fundamental way, fresh to the sport. Everything old will be new again, and the experience will stay with you until your dying day. There’s very little in life you can say that about, and the other ones don’t involve Chris Sale. Advantage: Sox.


Whether you’re a baseball junkie or casual fan, games are better at the ballpark. Grab seats at StubHub and be part of the action at Fenway Park. And, download the StubHub app to choose the perfect seats with 360* views from your section