As has been discussed several times in the past days, I was in Boston this weekend to take in a game at Fenway Park vs. the Kansas City Royals. In the past, when I've been to baseball games that don't feature the Orioles, I generally root for the home team to win. But I just couldn't do it. I couldn't root for the Red Sox. Having been to Kansas City last summer and in possession of a KC Royals t-shirt, I decided that I'd play the part of traveling Royals fan for the day. Two of my other friends also donned the royal blue and so it was that three "Royals fans", one Red Sox fan, and fellow Camden Chatter 2632 (dressed in neutral colors) took a trip together to Fenway.
Should you ever decide to pose as a Royals fan in Boston, there are two things you need to know:
- Red Sox fans are SUPER friendly to Royals fans. Friendly to the point that it made me feel a little bad about being a giant liar.
- It's a lot tougher pretending to be a Royals fan when the Royals are the away team than it is in Kansas City. It's especially difficult when you run into people who are actually from Kansas City.
We didn't start out with the intent to be liars. We really didn't. But once people started engaging us in conversation it seemed like it'd be really douchey to say, "Actually I'm an Orioles fan and these two are Yankees fans so we're cheering for the Royals." Mostly we received well wishes from Red Sox fans who wanted us to enjoy our time in Boston and give us props for sticking with the Royals through the tough times. The first actual lie came when an older man asked us, "Is your dad a Royals fan?" After a moment of hesitation my friend responded, "He is!" which allowed the man to speculate that our father had told us tales of George Brett and that it was those stories that gave us the wherewithal to maintain our Royals passion over these tough years. We also heard a story from one woman about how her friend is from Kansas City and they go to games when she visits KC and isn't it a lovely stadium? We were asked a lot of times if we were visiting just to see the Royals. Technically we were even though I think the Red Sox fans were most impressed at the idea of us coming all the way from Missouri.
Then we encountered a Royals fan. A 20-something fellow in a KC hat spotted us as he walked past our seats. Looking thrilled, he high fived us and then said, "Do you live around here now or are you visiting?" We answered that we were visiting and he followed up with, "Where do you live?" Instead of just saying, "New Jersey," my friend Katie pipes up, "Lee's Summit!" The guy thought that was great, shared his hometown, and moved on. We looked at Katie like, "Lee's Summit? WTF?" She said, "I have a friend who lives in that town!" So at that point we were pretty much full fledged liars. Our lying became a bit tricky when, after the game, some guys in Royals gear stopped us and, like the guy before them, asked where we were from. Confident from actually knowing the name of a town in Missouri, Julia says, "I'm from Lee's Summit!" And then you won't believe what happened. This kid says, "Really? What year did you graduate from high school? I went to Lee's Summit High School! Class of 2000!" SERIOUSLY! What are the odds? Of all the towns, THIS kid went to high school in the town from which we pretended to hail? Now trapped, Julia says, "Class of 98" and the kid starts asking her if she knows this person and that person. She managed to wriggle out of the conversation and escape, and from then on we made sure we didn't get close enough to any Royals fans to engage in conversation. It was hilarious and ridiculous. We clearly didn't think our plan through. We just didn't expect it. Even at the rest stop on our way home we got some folks telling us to, "Stay strong, Royals fans!"
Anyway, Fenway Park. I know a lot of you describe the place as a dump and have no desire to go there (ever again or for the first time), but I was excited to visit. I love other ballparks, especially those that have history and character. Fenway Park has both. Yeah, it's old and therefore kinda dirty, but I didn't find it bothersome. I actually thought it was pretty cool to see the field, the Green Monster, all the things I've seen on TV when the Orioles are getting soundly beaten over and over. The atmosphere was as I expected, although a bit laid back given the opponent and the score of the game. It was really just a great place to see a game, I thought, and the weather was perfect as well. A good day at the park.
As for the actual game, well, it's fair to say that the Kansas City Royals are not good at baseball. I don't know who made me sadder, Bruce Chen or Tony Pena, Jr. Josh Beckett pitched a complete game shutout on just 94 pitches. After 6 innings he had only 60 pitches. The Royals managed to get a few runners in scoring position but could never get the hit they needed. The Royals pitchers appeared to be terrified of Jason Bay given that his final line was 3 BB and 2 HBP. Our good friend Bruce Chen lasted three innings plus two batters. He only gave up three runs but it was actually a miracle it was that few. The game could have easily been 10-0. Oh well, us Royals fans are used to the let downs.