Watching Sox worth every cent

Posted July 14, 2009, at 10:37 p.m.

You can buy a 24-pack of Poland Spring water for the same price you can buy one bottle at Boston’s Fenway Park.

You can buy a 12-pack of beer for roughly the same price you can buy one 12-ounce beer at Fenway.

Don’t get me started on the hot dogs, sodas and souvenirs.

Did I mention the ticket prices? Or parking?

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But there is still something special about the old ballpark on Yawkey Way and the atmosphere that accompanies the game. It’s worth the money.

It takes me back to my days watching soccer in England at a level equivalent to AAA baseball in our country.

Everyone knows about the passion involved with English soccer. And the festive-but-intense atmosphere at a game.

Fenway Park is about as close as it comes.

They don’t sing as much at Fenway, although the crowd gladly chimes in during the seventh-inning stretch when “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” blares across the speakers.

And when Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” is played in the eighth inning, the fans stand and sway and sing the song that has become one of the Red Sox anthems in the wake of their 2004 and 2007 World Series championships.

Those titles have significantly eased the frustrations.

The vendors and their long tosses and their ability to walk with a bag full of goodies on top of their heads without holding them add to the adventure.

You find yourself wondering what it must be like for a Red Sox player to step on that beautifully-manicured field and see sellout crowds night after night after night.

Do they take it for granted?

How could Manny Ramirez have quit on this team in front of these adoring fans?

Everywhere you look, people are wearing some kind of Red Sox paraphernalia.

It is no surprise former Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra got choked up when he received a standing ovation upon his return in an Oakland A’s uniform.

These are loyal, dedicated fans who fondly remember players who provided them with cherished memories.

The only exceptions would be if a player returned wearing pinstripes (New York Yankees) or if he underachieved or dogged it while he was in Boston.

Or if he pulled a Manny and just stopped trying.

This past Sunday, my wife, one of my two sons and my nephew had the opportunity to watch a Josh Beckett masterpiece (6-0 over Kansas City) and the coming-out party for rookie first baseman Aaron Bates (two doubles, single and a laser-like lineout to right).

Bates began the season in Portland.

There was a young man seated to my right in a Kansas City Royals shirt and I found out he lived just outside Kansas City. He was vacationing.

I told him how nice it must be to be able to go to a major league game any time and get great seats for a reasonable price in Kansas City.

He said it was, but also said his trip to Fenway Park will always be memorable.

He used the word “awesome” to describe the atmosphere.

What it boils down to is, would you rather go see a non-contender several times a year or soak in a Red Sox game once or twice a year?

I prefer a contender and the ambiance at a 97-year-old ballpark so I guess I’ll start saving up for our next Red Sox trip.

If you leave you car at a transit station and take the train or the “T” into Fenway, you save yourself a ton of money.

And if you eat a healthy meal right before the game, you don’t feel so bad spending $3.50 or $4 for a water or a soda.

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