The Fenway Park game day experience without a ticket
The nature of baseball turns casual fans into outright unabbreviated fanatics. Your interest leads to a seasonal commitment, and suddenly, you're in love. You invest time and money in your affair with the sport. To be more specific, you invest a little bit of money and a whole lot of time.
Luckily, there are close to 1,500 innings a year when your team can pay you back. And that doesn't even count the postseason.
When it comes to Boston Red Sox fans, they're downright blessed (aside from that 86-year dry spell that ended in 2004). Nothing beats the magic of watching a game in Fenway Park—the experience is one of the reasons tickets to a home game are so hard to come by. But members of Red Sox Nation don't need to enter the stadium to feel as though they're a part of it all. The sights, sounds and energy of one of the greatest ballparks in the country spill out onto the streets for them. The spirit of Fenway Park is palpable within Kenmore Square.
For the full experience, head into the area an hour or so before the first pitch. Sure, the sea of red, white and gray jerseys moves at a mind-numbing pace as you approach Brookline Ave from Kenmore station. But that's the best time to people watch.
From the overeager kids in oversized Sox hats to the tipsy middle-aged men in Youkilis jerseys—everyone is smiling wide. T-shirts broadcasting Yankee-hating sentiments line the streets. You've got the scalpers with their emblematic Boston accents and the vendors hawking everything from programs to steaming sausages.
As the crowds thin and thousands pile into Fenway, the echo from the speakers grows louder, and the roar of the crowd signals a successful bottom of the first inning for the Red Sox. The occasional homerun ball soars over the looming Green Monster, and the tone of the crowd instantly lets you know who hit it. This free play-by-play from Fenway only gets better when you take a seat at any of the nearby sports bars in Kenmore Square.
For an unbeatable view of the stadium sans the ticket price, try the Bleacher Bar on Lansdowne Street or the Baseball Tavern over on Boylston Street.
With a night game comes the glow from those Granite City Electric-sponsored lights and even more establishments to frequent. You've got a less conventional choice in Cornwall's or the 70,000 square foot entertainment universe otherwise known as Jillian's.
All this and more makes Kenmore a great place to watch a Red Sox game if you don't have tickets. Bar patrons can get a little rowdy, so keep this in mind if you've got kids in tow. Introduce your children to the atmosphere of Lansdowne Street and Brookline Ave during a day game, or wait patiently with the rest of us until mini Fenway Park opens for business.
Rumor has it construction on the Little League-sized replica of Fenway will finish in time for the ballpark's 100th anniversary in 2012. Think Fenway minus the heckling and the destructive seven dollar drafts.
If you can't already tell, there's a beauty to being ticketless in Kenmore Square. It brings you back to the days when radio was king. Noise erupts from the park and you know 30,000+ people just witnessed something big. The best part? You aren't subject to endless bouts of the wave.
In the end, Red Sox fans are lucky because the magic of Fenway is contagious, and it can't be contained within the stadium. Enjoy your team on a budget. Soak in it 81 times a season free of charge in Kenmore Square.