The suite life is not for everyone

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The suite life.

Anyone paying attention to the 2022 Boston Red Sox realizes that watching this team is analogous to having your eyeballs poked with needles[1].

Yet attending a game at Fenway Park is still an unequivocally transcendent experience for any real baseball fan.

I started going to Red Sox games when I was around 8 years old. My father, who scored tickets from his work, would take me on a yearly pilgrimage into Boston at a time when the game of baseball was my life.

My dad and I attended our annual Red Sox games—just the two of us—until I graduated from high school. Then—largely due to my own adolescent insolence—the ritual slipped away from us[2].

Over the years, I’ve gone to numerous Red Sox games—some with my father, a few with my wife, some with my son, and some with all of the above—but due to the enormous expenses of attending an outing at Fenway Park, they are intermittent. And I’ve always sat in either box or grandstand seats, or the bleachers[3].

And for anyone familiar with Fenway Park, which first opened in 1912, these wooden seats are uncomfortable and uncomfortably close to the strangers sitting beside you. They were also constructed before the American obesity epidemic that has made the seats a tight squeeze for many fans.

Yet Boston’s tone-deaf front office still charges the highest ticket prices in baseball, compounded by concessions that are also astronomically expensive[4], essentially pricing out the middle-class fans that comprise the vast majority of the franchise’s base[5].

Last weekend, however, I was privy to an experience I could never otherwise afford: I watched Saturday’s matinee against the Toronto Blue Jays[6] while being coddled in a luxury suite.

I was writing a freelance feature story on the Worcester Red Sox for BostonMan Magazine, and the publisher—my friend Matt Ribaudo—scored us two tickets in a suite above the third base line, gifted to us by the Punch4Parkinsons organization.[7]

In other words, I lucked my way into the suite[8] life.

And it was truly unlike anything I’ve ever experienced at a professional sporting event, and something I may never experience again[9].

After a labyrinthine journey through the Fenway concourses, Matt and I were the first to arrive at that suite. As soon as we walked in, Matt looked at me and deadpanned a line from “Field of Dreams.” “Is this heaven?” he asked.

It certainly wasn’t Iowa.

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The suite—which accommodates roughly 40 people—was air-conditioned[10] and spacious with modern couches and coffee tables with chips and pastry trays, a big screen television to our right while in front of us, through the window panes, Fenway Park stretched out unfettered by any obstructions, a truly idyllic view.

In the back of the suite was a dinette with a mini-fridge filled with free beer and wine, and on the counters sat rows of chafing dishes where the catered buffet would soon arrive, which included sausage and onions on bulky rolls, chicken tenders and hot dogs. Pizzas were then placed beneath heat lamps as other munchies abounded[11].

And beyond the dinette in the back, there was a clean, individual bathroom[12].

Outside the suite, rows of cushioned seats waited for those of us who dared to leave the air-conditioning and endure the balmy weather while watching the game.

But while the game from my opulent seat, it occurred to me that heaven should also be accessible to anyone with a love for the game. And said opulence, the gorgeous suite—a seat gifted to me through dumb luck—would never otherwise be available to a guy like me, the same kid who only knew the box seats beside his dad.

Like many things in a society so clearly defined by its “haves” and “have-nots” and wealth inequity[13], the suite life was ephemeral for me.

Besides, I had to work in Worcester in the next day so I could continue to roll in the mad cash that journalists make these days.

____________

[1] Certainly, watching the home team surrender four touchdowns in a single game (Toronto defeated the Red Sox 28-3 on July 22) will dishearten the most ardent fan.

[2] When I was writing a Red Sox column for Dirty Water Media, I was able to procure some free tickets and took my dad to a game and returned the favor. I wrote about it for The Good Man Project in 2014.

[3] During one game, my cousin—who was working security at Fenway at the time—snuck my wife and I into the Monster Seats for an inning.

[4] Fenway Park has the most expensive beer prices in baseball.

[5] Little speculation is necessary when figuring out why so many of us opt to go out and support our Manchester Fisher Cats instead.

[6] The irony that the Fisher Cats are Toronto’s Double-A affiliate is not lost here.

[7] Matt and I would travel to Polar Park on Sunday for the WooSox game versus the Syracuse Mets.

[8] Pun intended.

[9] I should probably write “thank you” notes to my English teachers for teaching me how to write.

[10] We were smack dab in the middle of a heat wave during the dog days of summer.

[11] They did not, however, serve tacos.

[12] If you’ve ever been to a men’s room at Fenway Park, finding a clean one is close to a pipe dream. In fact, some older guys may remember the Fenway troughs where everyone urinated in a communal pool.

[13] Is that too close to sounding like a socialist?


 

About this Author

nathan-graziano

Nathan Graziano

Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester with his wife and kids. He's the author of nine collections of fiction and poetry. His most recent book, Fly Like The Seagull was published by Luchador Press in 2020. He's a high school teacher and freelance writer, and in his free time, he writes bios about himself in the third person. For more information, visit his website: http://www.nathangraziano.com