Fenway Park Opens for the Season

By Beth Treffeisen

Jack Merullo, 12, who headed to Fenway Park with his sister on Monday, enjoyed a Fenway Sausage outside of the ballpark during Opening Day festivities on Lansdowne Street. The ballpark is back for the season as the Red Sox returned to the diamond for another season in the Fenway. It was the first time in some 20 years that the first game of the year was hosted at the home field.

Days before the Red Sox opening game, snow and freezing rain where still falling from Boston’s skyline, but the sun eventually broke through to welcome back the green monster and fans to Fenway Park.

On April 3, the Red Sox opened their season by defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 5 – 3 game.

To welcome the team back, local fans and businesses talked about why they are stoked for the season to begin again.

At the Red Sox Team store that sells everything from baseball hats to jerseys and novelties, the opening day brings in a lot of excited fans.

“The last couple of weeks have been all a lot busier and the tours of Fenway Park that are popular all year round have also been getting busier,” said John Gardella the store manager at the Red Sox Team Store.

He said that every year the store gets busier during the first part of the season. As the summer drags on it tends to slow down and then depending on how the team is doing it might pick up again towards the end of the season.

“It’s exciting, the snow on Saturday was definitely a problem,” said Gardella before the game. “But the last couple of weeks have been a lot busier.”

Saul Wisnia who works nearby at the Dana Farber Institute and runs the blog “Fenway Reflections,” is excited for the new season to start but this year will be a bit unusual for him.

“I have a different feeling then in past because I will also be running the marathon for the first time,” said Wisnia. “As much as I am excited to watch the Red Sox I’m in tunnel vision until the marathon is over.”

He said that is definitely going to be an important moment when he runs by Fenway Park towards the end of the race.

“It will be just another connection to there,” said Wisnia.

For long time South Ender Nancy Farrington, the opening day means the re-ignition of her love affair with both Fenway Park and the Red Sox.

“I don’t know which one I love more,” said Farrington. “Frankly I love them equally.”

Her love for the Red Sox began about 20 years ago, when she moved back to Boston after a short stint in L.A. With time to spare in-between jobs, she found her way to the then very cheap bleacher seats.

Before she knew it, she was sucked into the Red Sox universe.

In 2007 she got a hold of season tickets the second year the Red Sox won a World Series.

“There have been some very lean years but it really doesn’t matter,” said Farrington. “I watch every game. I bet you I watch 120 games a year.”

Although she gives up her tickets every once in a while to friends and family she just loves the being at the park and taking in the atmosphere.

“I love being at Fenway Park,” said Farrington before the big game. “You have your seat, you’re there for hours and you just watch everybody – it’s great people watching. I can’t wait for Monday!”

On Lansdowne Street, businesses are excited for the extra boost as well.

“We’re very excited for opening day and are excited for them to come back,” said Erica Dorsey, the general manager at Loretta’s Last Call. “We definitely get more tourists and from around the area that pop in during the week.”

Dorsey said that although Loretta’s Last Call stays busy all year round the Red Sox games bring in a different type of crowd.

“It’s a sports crowd,” said Dorsey. “They come in before the game and then again after.”

Ed Sullivan, another long time South Ender, also shared how he fell in love with the team.

“I’m not a rabid baseball fan,” said Sullivan. “It’s Boston, when you’re born and raised here, being a Red Sox fan in your life is certain.”

He told of the time when he was in high school at St. Sebastian’s all boy’s Catholic School when his classmate Stephen O’Connor, whose father would bring them to the park to watch the games.

Sullivan said that at age 16, he didn’t really appreciate it but that’s where his love affair with the Red Sox stemmed from.

When the season begins up again, Sullivan said, he will be thinking of his friend, O’Connor who recently passed away. Because of that friendship he said, he always keeps track of what the Red Sox are doing.

“It’s a great tradition and we are very fortunate it’s part of the heart and soul of Boston,” said Sullivan.

For Nancy Morrisroe a long time Bay Village resident, her love for the Red Sox began like every other New Englander when her parents took her to see the games.

“You have the Green Wall, the Green Monsters, the sights the smells – it’s just perfection,” said Morrisroe. “Opening day is just the start of something new.”

Morrisroe, who has season tickets next to Farrington, said that being at the game you get to know everyone around you and you get to know your special beer guy and peanut guy.

When the season begins she said, “It’s like everything is back to normal.”

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