Tagged: Fenway Park

How To Take The Green Line “T” To Fenway

Most everyone who goes to Red Sox games at Fenway Park has two recommendations on getting there: don’t drive, and take the “T”.

 

Driving to and parking at Fenway Park can be done (especially with the aid of a Fenway Park E-Guide), but it can be a struggle to find affordable parking close to the ballpark, and even if you do, getting out will take some time. In some places you’re at the mercy of someone who has parked you in, never a good thing. Unless you’re familiar with the area, you’re much better off using the “T”, as Bostonians refer to it.

 

The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) operates several subway lines across the city of Boston proper, and they are among the cleaner and more efficient of big city transit systems. There are four color-coded subway lines; Red (for the crimson colors of Harvard University where it originally ended), Blue (for the water on the nearby shoreline and Boston Harbor), and Orange (for Orange Street at the middle, now called Washington Street) all connect with the Green Line at some point, which in turn takes riders to the Kenmore Station, a short stroll over the Massachusetts Turnpike to Fenway Park. The Green Line is so named because it passes through the “Emerald Necklace” section of Boston.

 

The Green Line has four separate routes: B, C, D and E, all of which end at different stations. All but E stop at Kenmore; the E train veers off north of Kenmore but stops at the Prudential Center, which is about a ten block walk to the ballpark. The D route of the Green Line stops at a “Fenway” Station; this is not terribly far from the ballpark but is not the actual Fenway Park exit. This may be for the benefit of Yankees fans, to wear them out before the game.

 

You should use the T for no other reason than to share the whole Fenway experience. On game days the Green Line becomes packed with Red Sox fans heading to Fenway, and after games trains become similarly sardine-packed. But this is of no nevermind to Red Sox fans, many of whom were smart enough to stay slim in order to fit into those Grandstand seats. A member of Red Sox Nation has no problem sharing a small space with a fellow member in good standing. And if they don’t feel like being crammed into a train, they wait out the crowds at fine establishments like Cask-N-Flagon or Boston Beer Works.

 

If you’re looking for more spacious alternatives, you could use the E route on a nice day if you don’t mind the walk, which would keep you out of the standing room only crowd that only knows to not use the E. Or you could use the Orange Line and get off at the Back Bay Station–this is a few blocks east of the Prudential Center. That one’s a hike, but you can get a good look at a beautiful city along the way. There used to be a “Ruggles Shuttle” that took riders from the Ruggles Station on the Orange Line to Fenway, but that is no longer active as of this writing. You can still use a bus from there but you have to pay for it.

 

A ride on a T train is $2 as of this writing; it’s cheaper for seniors and students and free for children 11 and under riding with an adult. So a two-train ride to the park and back is $8 a person, plus whatever you may pay for a park-and-ride lot (somewhere around $7). Considering that some nearby places charge upwards of $30 for parking and the traffic you will encounter, Boston may be the one baseball city where public transportation is a better option than anywhere else, even more so than Chicago, Washington or New York.

 

The T is fast, efficient, and generally safe; yes, trains do get extremely crowded on game days, but remember, all of these people know Fenway is worth it.

 

Not many folks drive to Fenway Park. They just don’t. So remember, don’t drive and use the T.

 

www.mbta.com

 

 

A Strategy Guide For The Ballgame

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Video games became a craze just before I entered my teens,
and few kids in Willingboro were welded to their Atari 2600 like I was. Space
Invaders, Asteroids, Warlords, Kaboom, Pitfall, I played them all for thousands
of hours.

Even better was when I could finally persuade someone with a
car to take me to an arcade, where I could pour any money I happened to have
into a Tempest machine. Some people miss the lack of responsibility of
childhood, but I’ll take being able to go to an arcade without having to beg anytime.

Being a competitive sort even then, I would get my hands on
any strategy books I could find, hoping to get a little more playing time for
my quarter. And many of them were worth every penny. But even with the added
benefit of getting more value for your two bits, many of those books were just
enjoyable reads, if for no other reason than the “A-ha!” moments.

It would be nice to have strategy guides for lots of things
in life, wouldn’t it? I see lots of potential video games in the daily
tribulations we experience. Like getting from one end of a crowded mall to the
other in the shortest period of time. Or finding a reasonably fast route to
work that doesn’t involve construction, traffic, or potholes. Or getting all of
the supermarket items in your cart without having to double back.

If these things were popular video games, there would be a
market for strategy guides for them. And you could get better at it with less
practice and experimentation–not to mention time and money. (Those of you old
enough to remember, let’s face it, who found that secret message in Atari’s
“Adventure” cartridge without some outside help?)

A Ballpark E-Guide can be seen as a Strategy Guide for going
to a ballgame. Sure, you could learn many of these things on your own going to
enough games, and there may be some pleasure in discovering these things for
yourself. A ballpark isn’t a Rubik’s cube (there I go, living in the 80s
again!); learning how to go to a game and get the most enjoyment for the least
money doesn’t take supercharged intelligence. But like the cube, it’s a lot
easier with a book to guide the way! Even after hundreds of games of Tempest, I
still learned some things I didn’t know in the reading material that I
collected.

I’m not suggesting that by reading, say, the Fenway Park E-Guide,
that you will “solve” Fenway Park. But hopefully, like I did, you will enjoy it
more. Maybe learn something you didn’t know, or confirm something you thought
you knew. Or just have an “A-ha!” moment or two.

We all love going to ballgames just like we love playing on
the PlayStation. And we’re always being told to keep educating ourselves in
life; I don’t know about you, but I would rather learn about something fun! A Ballpark
E-Guide is almost infinitely cheaper than a college education.

And it’s just my opinion, but I think it’s worth more, too.

www.BallparkEGuides.com

Pru Center Parking In Boston

Recently, thanks to my wife giving me the best birthday present ever, we went to Boston for a game at Fenway Park. I married up.

 

Having researched Fenway for the Fenway Park Guide I have written, I well knew not to try to park there. Not only is Beantown a difficult city to navigate in, you won’t likely park anywhere within a half mile of Fenway for less than $30. There’s a reason those Green Line trains get so packed.

 

But if you are a large group that would rather not buy a whole bunch of train tickets, I suppose you could use the Prudential Center’s lot. The Pru, as Bostonians call it, currently charges just $16 on game days to park in their garage, and they pronounce it the best parking deal you’ll find, which is mostly true (although my Fenway Park E-Guide has a few secrets in it).

 

The Pru also has a food court where you can get a cheaper pre-game meal than you will likely pay at the park. There are several chain restaurants, including a Legal Seafood clam chowder joint.

 

The only thing is that the Pru Center is a good hike from Fenway Park, a walk that most people believe to be about ten minutes but one that I put closer to 20. This can be alleviated by grabbing a Boston Pedicab (see “Take A Rickshaw To Fenway” in this blog), but if you’re not a stiffer on tipping people, that would pretty much negate the money you’ve saved on parking, especially if you use one again to return to the garage after the game. It might be more fun than trying to find a spot near the park, but it’s not going to save you any money.

 

Given the choice between parking at Alewife or Wellington and transferring to the Green Line or parking at the Prudential Center and doing the walk, I’d probably still go with the train. The T in Boston is still a cleaner ride than public transit in most cities, and while I don’t mind walking a long ways, I’m not crazy about a long hike while I could be missing pre-game festivities.

 

Still, it’s not a bad deal considering, and if you’re going to down an El Tiante Cuban sandwich and a sausage outside, you could probably use the exercise.

 

Take A Rickshaw To Fenway

Only rookies drive their car to Fenway Park, or anywhere in Boston, for that matter. Narrow streets and world-class congestion have combined to make a less than stellar public transportation system pretty popular in Beantown.

 

Public transportation certainly has its drawbacks, especially for those using it to get to a ballgame. I can tell you from the experience of nearly having my face pressed against a windshield for entire Green Line rides that trains coming to and leaving games at Fenway Park get mercilessly jammed with Red Sox fans. And far be it for me to suggest that Boston fans smell any worse than fans of any other teams (they don’t) but let’s face it, after a game on a muggy day there’s probably going to be someone kicking foul near you, and that can make for a long ride.

 

But I did find one way to ease some (although not all) of the hassles that go along with trying to enter or exit the Fenway Park area by car.

 

Boston Pedicabs is a clever local outfit that employs young, fit college students to pedal bicycles attached to rickshaws around the city of Boston. There are plenty of them available near Fenway, but the gentleman I e-mailed asking where best to find them (forgive me for temporarily losing the e-mail with his name) informed me that the parking lot at the Prudential center some blocks east of Fenway is a good spot. The Prudential lot is much cheaper than the lots closest to Fenway, and the Center is basically a mall with quite a few good pregame dining options.

 

The fellows riding the bicycles are friendly and will have a conversation with you as they’re pedaling you through murderous traffic to the park, and you can actually look around at the city rather than waiting for the driver in front of you to finally move.

 

Best of all, they’re free. But not really. The Pedicab drivers subsist entirely on tips, so don’t let me hear of anyone who reads this stiffing them.

 

Boston Pedicabs website: www.bostonpedicab.com

 

Beating The Obstructed View At Fenway

Anyone who has sat in the Grandstand seats at Fenway Park in Boston can tell you that it’s one of the best places to see a ballgame. It can also be one of the best places to not see a ballgame.

 

Fenway was built in the early 1900s, when baseball owners tended to not give much of a whit about fan comfort or views. The goal then was to pack as many butts into the place as possible (as opposed to today, when the goal is to get the most cash out of each butt), and Fenway was clearly designed with this sort of expediency in mind. Most computer monitors these days are wider than Fenway’s Grandstand seats.

 

At any rate, the construction of Fenway Park (as with Wrigley, although the problem isn’t as pronounced there) included support poles to hold up the upper deck that are about a foot and a half wide. The placement of these poles is such that most every Grandstand seat is going to miss some portion of the field, so the Boston Red Sox have a rather high standard when it comes to actually informing the consumer that their view is obstructed before stamping an “OV” on the ticket. Obstructed view seats were discounted once but no longer are (as of this writing anyway).

 

So if you are informed that your ticket is obstructed view, know that either you will be sitting directly behind a large support pole (and I mean directly behind it, really) or at least two key parts of the field are going to be blocked from view by those confounded pillars. In other words, your view of the pitcher’s mound could be blocked and it would not count as obstructed. So if the Red Sox say the view is obstructed, believe it.

 

Even with this knowledge, it doesn’t help that most Grandstand seats bear no such warning, and you will want to know before you buy a ticket how bad it is.

 

Fortunately, we live in a world where people solve problems and give the solutions away free on the Internet.

 

The “Precise Seating” (www.preciseseating.com) website is operated by some seriously dedicated and unselfish fellow baseball fans. They have clearly spent countless hours figuring this entire joint out. The purpose of Precise Seating is to provide vital information about as many seats in Fenway Park as possible–currently their number is up to 36,000.

 

While you are ordering tickets from the Sox’s website or through another source like Ace Tickets (several are linked to the site), you can pull up Precise Seating, enter the section, row and seat number of your potential ticket and Precise Seating will provide for you:

 

– The exact location of the seat

– The portion of the field that will be obstructed from your view

– What percentage of the field you will be missing

– Whether there is a “walkway advisory” warning of people traffic in front of the seat

– Whether it is sheltered from the rain

– How many feet from home plate the seat is

– A 3D view of the field from the seat

– A general rating of the seat on a 1-10 scale

 

And it works, too. I put in Grandstand Section 18, Row 5, and Seat 6. Precise Seating gave this seat a 6 rating. It informed me that the pitcher’s mound and 15% of the field is obstructed, that I can see all of the bases, that I’m sheltered from the rain, and that I will be 149 feet from home plate. Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to see pitcher’s mound, I would probably opt for another seat if I could. Without Precise Seating, I probably would have jumped at this seat.

 

Many people complain about obstructed views at Fenway and rightly so. Precise Seating gives you an opportunity to avoid them. With this available at no cost to you the consumer, there isn’t any reason not to use it anytime you are ordering tickets to see a game at Fenway Park.

 

The Internet is some great place.