No Way to Cultivate Contented Red Sox Fans

Though I usually write about gardening, the closest this post comes to gardening is the word Cultivate in the title. Nor do my words delve into the monumental melt-down Red Sox fans witnessed in the April 21, 2012 game at Fenway Park. This is an open letter to the Red Sox organization on one way to keep fans happy – don’t misrepresent season ticket seat purchases.

Non-baseball fans may not understand, but baseball fans will know just how thrilling it was, after four years on the waitlist, to get the “Dear Red Sox Waitlist Member” email announcing our chance to purchase a season ticket package. I gladly gave up the better part of an hour, most of it on hold, on a busy day to offer up my credit card for the Y-Plan – ten predetermined Monday, Wednesday, Saturday games. A check off the bucket list … we were Red Sox season ticket holders.

I shared the news with the family, my husband and I scheduled the games we would attend, and our adult children chose theirs.

Baseball has been part of my memory since I could talk and walk, with favored baseball memories revolving around my Gram. She knew baseball, infield and out, right field and left. Her favorite team, the Pittsburgh Pirates; her favorite player, Roberto Clemente, but she would listen to any team on the radio. She loved the game that much, and she passed this love on to her grandchildren. One of my dearest recollections is when my oldest son, then a young teen, and my nearly 90-year-old Gram lost themselves in baseball talk while the rest of the family went on with our reunion.

Now, with Gram gone for nearly 13 years, baseball is one way for me to hold her close. I carried her memory with me to a Red Sox game a few years back when our kids gave me and my husband tickets to the last game of the season. It happened to be the day the oldest living Rooter was part of pre-game ceremonies. An age-worn woman walked onto the infield holding the supporting arm of a much younger escort. To my eyes, she was Gram and for that moment Gram was there, enjoying Fenway with me, though she never had the chance to visit the park before she died. I doubt my seat-neighbors understood the tears streaming down my face … Gram would have loved Fenway Park.

Sharing the love of baseball with my kids continues our family tradition. I came to Connecticut a Pirates fan, just like Gram. My kids, being native New Englanders, turned me into a Red Sox fan long before we all, as adults, cheered the Sox to their 2004 and 2007 World Series wins.

This history walked with me on April 21 as we strolled down Yawkey Way and entered Fenway. The Red Sox were playing the Yankees. Another check off our bucket list.

We carried our beers up the stairs to Section 7, Row 9, Seats 17 and 18, greeted our seat-neighbors, and sat down to look across the field. To our chagrin, in place of home plate all we saw was one of the vertical roof-support beams.

This was the ‘unrestricted view’ we waited four years to obtain?

I may be a purist, but I think the ability to see home plate is a rather important aspect of watching a baseball game.

While purchasing our tickets I used the feature on the Red Sox website that allows you to click on a seating area to get a view of the field from that section. Go ahead, click on Section 7 (in pale blue), you’ll see the view I expected.

This is the view we had …

view from Section 7, Row 9, Seats 17 & 18 at Fenway Park

During the ticket purchase I had asked, multiple times, if our seats had a restricted view. I was specifically told they do not. “We don’t sell restricted view seats to season ticket holders,” I was assured.

Apparently, it all depends on your definition of restricted. What I’ve learned since, is the Red Sox organization actually considers these seats to have an unrestricted view. Therefore, they don’t note these seats as restricted in their computer, nor do they find it necessary to inform ticket buyers that they won’t be able to see home plate or some other part of the infield from these seats.

The customer service people I dealt with were extremely understanding as I expressed my displeasure and disillusionment. We received a refund for our season ticket package as well as comp seats in a section behind home plate for the April 21 game. I appreciate both gestures. I also appreciate that an extremely helpful woman in the season ticket office is working to find us at least some single game tickets to replace those in our original package.

What I don’t understand is the continued ruse, particularly from an organization that has gone to exemplary lengths to update Fenway Park without losing a century’s worth of history and charm, that certain seats do not have a restricted view, when they clearly do. Fenway fans get it, many seats have restricted views. So be honest about these restrictions, Red Sox organization, be honest about field views, or lack of views, from the start.

To do any less only makes fans feel like they’ve been sold a bucket of crap.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Joene Hendry

2 comments for “No Way to Cultivate Contented Red Sox Fans

  1. April 24, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Joene,

    That is a huge bucket of crap! But it is also a beautifully written post, as always. I love the image of your Gram and your son talking baseball in rapt concentration at the family reunion. It’s a great moment.

    I hope you get some kind of closure on this!

    • April 24, 2012 at 8:03 pm

      Benita, thanks for your kind words. I’m so glad you enjoyed my words.

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