Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Challenge of Fenway

Once upon a time, the Red Sox players signed many, many autographs at Fenway Park.  Through 2003 and in 2005 the Red Sox were pretty accessible, both outside and inside the park, as well as before and after games.  This aspect of visiting Fenway was a huge part of my experience.  That is no longer the case.  Your chances of winning a big lottery are better than receiving an autograph from a current Red Sox player at Fenway Park.  This is not to say they don't sign, but it is so rare, that I don't even waste my time on their side of the field. 

Therefore, if I want to have any chance of getting an autograph at Fenway I focus all my attention on the visiting team.  This is by no means easy, thanks to Fenway operations management, but it's not impossible. Last week I was able to get a good quality autograph from David Price, pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays.  The more recent challenges Fenway management has implemented is that you can no longer lean into the dugout to attempt to get an autograph on the homeplate side of the field, unless you have a ticket for those seats.  (Did they get idea from Yankee Stadium?  I thought the Red Sox were better than that.)  The wall from home plate to the dugout is blocked by the VIP area.  Therefore, players will almost never come over and sign for the non VIP's.  The left wall is almost completely blocked by grounds crew tractors and supplies. 

So where do you go?
1.  I've had luck right behind the visitor dugout, just where the players walk up the stairs to enter the field.  You need to get there early to get a good spot and do your best to physically keep it.  The challenge with this is that it is hard to toss items across the top of the dugout, especially for kids.

Visitor Dugout: Side where the players enter the field.
2.  The area just to the left of the visitor dugout camera well.  This is where I got David Price to sign for me.  This is another small space, so you must work hard to keep your spot.
Area by photographer/camera well to the left of visitor dugout, usually good for autographs.

Corner of wall behind 3rd base, heading out to left field.  Good spot for visiting pitcher autographs.
3.  The area of the wall behind 3rd base where it stops and turns to left field.  There is usually plenty of room here for about 20 people.  This is a popular spot for visiting pitchers to sign as they usually warm up or play catch right at this corner on the field. 

So good luck and have your items ready.

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