For a Sox fan it was a dream come true, I got to not only step onto the field at Fenway Park but take my two positions: catcher and outfield.
It was about five years ago, as a junior in high school I was privileged with the opportunity to work the Fantasy Day at Fenway Fundraiser run by the Jimmy Fund. Donors would get the chance to hit off of a pitching machine at Fenway Park–a truly amazing experience. The fundraiser needed catchers though, which was where I fit in as my work partnered with the Jimmy Fund to run the fundraiser.
There I was, a skinny high school catcher suiting up in my worn out gear to squat behind the plate at Fenway Park. I felt so incredibly small when I stepped out of the dugout onto the field; though the Monstah at 315 feet from home was closer than any left field wall I’ve seen since little league, right field and center felt cavernous.
As I took my position behind home and caught a few warmup pitches while the batter on deck took his practice swings the gravity of the situation dawned on me. There I was in the exact same spot that Jason Varitek squatted just a week before, and Carlton Fisk decades before him. There I was just a few feet away from where Ted Williams went from a brash prospect to one of the greatest hitters that ever lived. I, a high school catcher who, though he still plays, never made it to the bigs was playing in the shadows of Red Sox greats decades before my time.
It was the birth place of former giants, and will be the birth place of giants yet to come.
After the initial shock wore off I started to really enjoy myself; it was fun watching the ball slice through the air and even a few scrape the wall in left–not too many home runs though!
but the real fun came when I set my gear aside and ran out to right to shag some flies. Looking around it looked like a whole football field could fit out there. As I took my position I glanced behind and saw plenty of room should a ball land behind me (something I wasn’t used too have grown accustomed to a small field). While size was the first thing I noticed, the second was the fact that the grass was absolutely perfectly trimmed, and that the ground was very hard–I didn’t dive for any and I imagine it would hurt some if I did.
It was an amazing experience, one that at 16 years old I didn’t quite comprehend but looking back I cherish those great memories and the truly amazing opportunity I had! And seriously if you haven’t checked the fundraiser out, do it next year it’s awesome and for a great cause!