Florence Landry doesn’t make it to Fenway Park as often as she’d like, and Saturday’s trip to see her beloved Boston Red Sox with her husband, sister, and brother-in-law was the only one they were making this season.
Still, knowing sister Edie Yates was tired from a long week of work and entertaining guests and relatives at her Hudson, Mass., home, Landry offered to leave Saturday night’s game in the sixth inning if Yates wanted to get some rest.
“I told her if she wanted to go early, it would be OK with me,” Landry said. “She said, ‘Why don’t we wait a few minutes?’”
But Yates wasn’t ready to call for relief.
“I said, ‘No we’ll wait.’ Once I get in there, it’s just like I get a second wind,” Yates said.
It was a fortuitous decision.
“My husband had gotten us a sundae,” Landry recalled. “When he came back, we decided to move down to some empty box seats to get a little closer and shortly after we moved, a woman with a ticket came over to talk to us.”
In the seventh, a Fenway Park employee approached the two women sitting in the right field seats near Pesky’s Pole, but she wasn’t coming to kick them out of their upgraded seats.
“We were sitting there singing Sweet Caroline and eating our ice cream when a woman came up and asked if we’d like to go out on the field and get a jersey from a player,” said Landry.
It was fan appreciation night at Fenway and the sisters were the last two of 20 fans randomly selected from a crowd of 35,000 to receive autographed, actual jerseys from the players. Landry received a No. 11 jersey from Casey Kotchman and Yates got No. 37 from Hideki Okajima.
“When we were on the field, I saw Papelbon and Youk out there and I said I hope I get one of them,” said Yates.
Her sister was less selective.
“Pedroia and Youkilis are my favorites, but I didn’t really care at the time,” said Landry. “I was waving to my husband. Then I turned around and noticed I was on the big screen and just started waving to the crowd. I was just so excited to be picked.”
It showed. While everyone else shook the hands of the players who presented them their jerseys and autographed them, Landry was a bit more demonstrative.
“I shook his hand and then gave him a hug,” said the Mattawamkeag native who now lives in Orrington. “I wanted to wish him good luck, but I was so excited, I forgot.”
“The idiot. I told her to act her age and she said ‘I don’t want to act my age!’” Yates said with a hearty laugh.
A cafeteria attendant at Eastern Maine Medical Center, the 63-year-old Landry will be taking a nap after getting home from work today so she can stay up to watch the Sox play the Los Angeles Angels in a 9:30 game, but she won’t be wearing her No. 11 jersey.
“I’m going to take it to the cleaners to have it preserved and maybe get it framed with my certificate and our tickets,” she said.
She can’t wait to show her unique souvenir off to brother Bert and grandson Corey, who are the black sheep of the family — they’re New York Yankee fans.
Although Landry and husband Ron have been looking forward to the trip since he bought the tickets last April, they almost decided not to go due to inclement weather.
“I have to get time off ahead of time to go, which I did, but we almost didn’t go. The weather was kind of iffy, but the rain stopped around 3 in the afternoon,” said Landry, who has been following the Sox since the early 1970’s. “We left around 4 and it was nice. We didn’t even need all the extra clothes we had.”
In another ironic twist, the foursome decided to switch seats in the sixth to get a little closer to the field and have a better view.
“They were the 19th and 20th people of the 20 they were looking for,” said Lincoln Yates, Edie’s husband. “Ron and I tried to get involved, but they didn’t want anything to do with us because they were looking for two women.”
The Landrys try to go to Fenway once a year, but this was the first time they’d been able to see a game with the Yates’.
“I think we’ve been maybe a dozen times. We had standing room only seats last year and I stood for three hours,” said Landry, a diehard fan of all the major Boston pro teams.
Landry’s become such a fan, she even imitates Carl Yastrzemski’s batting stance and throwing style to the delight of her grandchildren, nephews, and nieces.
“We’ve been married 23 years, but I was a Red sox fan before we met,” she said laughing. “But he was an even bigger fan and followed all the sports, so it kind of rubbed off on me. I even watch golf. I only play mini golf, but I can beat him.”
Unfortunately, Ron Landry has a reason to be a bit chagrined as an odd man out.
“Well, after that, he’s the only one who hasn’t been out on the Fenway Park field. Bert was part of a pregame ceremony back along, so he’s kind of jealous of us,” Landry said with a chuckle. “Actually he’s fine with it. I think he’s probably heard me tell my story enough by now though.”