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Spartans see thriller at Fenway

By Brendan Crowley
On September 26, 2018

Several Castleton University students traveled to Fenway Park to  see the Red Sox through a college-sponsored trip.

There’s something about Fenway Park that makes baseball so special. It’s bigger than baseball. It’s an experience. It’s a tradition. It’s like you’re walking into a piece of history that’s stood for over 100 years to watch America’s pastime.

I’ve been to two modern stadiums, Nationals Park, the home of the Washington Nationals and Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets. Neither compared to Fenway Park. It’s a classic.

Every summer my family and I must make one trip to Boston to see our beloved Red Sox in action. Since 2005 I’ve probably been to Fenway about 15-20 times. I look forward to it every year, it’s one of my favorite traditions.

But for the first time in my life, I went to Fenway Park without my dad, my mom and my brother. I went with Castleton.

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel being there without my family. It’s always a shared experience. We always stop at Little Stevie’s Pizzeria on the walk from the Prudential Center to the field, we always go into the team store before every game to buy our annual shirt or hat and we ALWAYS get a Fenway Frank delivered to us from the venders.

This was a lot different. Although I did ensure that I took my friends on the walk to Little Stevie’s, we didn’t stop at the team store and I very sadly did not get a Fenway Frank.

Although I must say, I sure had a blast.

There was something about being there with friends that made it unique. Although I did miss my family, there was a lot of energy coming from our Castleton sections. We had two sections in the right field roof box filled with Spartans. And although there was a varying mix of baseball fans there such as those who did not seem to know anything and others who were die-hard fans like me, I think we all enjoyed the experience.

Kate Saunders, a sophomore at Castleton and avid Red Sox fan, loved it.

“The atmosphere that was built was something that not everyone gets to experience. The ride to the park only made me more excited because everyone on the bus was full of energy.”

Castleton junior Jacob Peet, who frequently goes to Red Sox games with family, also had a blast at this particular game.

“This was my third time this year,” he said. “But I think this time was the most fun I’ve had. Just being with the [cross country] team and going out and doing other stuff besides just the game, and our seats were really great, probably the best seats I’ve had.”

The game wasn’t too shabby either for us Red Sox fans. The Sox won 4-3 after going up 3-0 early following a Mookie Betts sacrifice fly and a Brock Holt home run to the bullpen. Then we all had to watch the Mets slowly climb back into the game, one run at a time.

It was 3-3 in the 8th inning. Tzu-Wei Lin, who replaced an injured Mookie Betts, hit a clutch double and was ultimately brought home by two sacrifice flies. That ended up being the game-winning run as the knuckleball throwing Steven Wright came in to close it out in the top of the 9th.

But perhaps the most exciting part of the game was the starting pitching matchup. NL Cy Young candidate Jake deGrom for the Mets, who went into the game boasting a 1.78 earned run average (ERA) versus AL Cy Young candidate Chris Sale, who went into the game not too far behind deGrom with a 1.92 ERA.

You don’t get to see that pitching matchup everyday.

“Watching deGrom pitch was really cool,” Peet said, and that’s coming from a Red Sox fan. That goes to show how dominate Jake deGrom is.

Kate Saunders loved the pitching as well.

“The pitching matchup was phenomenal,” Saunders said. “How often do you get to see two Cy Young candidates go head-to-head? Sale having just come back from a stint on the DL (disabled list) did great in the few innings and pitches he was given.”

Others enjoyed seeing Brock Holt hit a homer. Not to mention it was to right field, basically right in front of our section.

“My favorite part had to be the Brock Holt home run. Especially since he’s got my number. Number 12 represent,” sophomore Oliver Rodgers said with pride. Number 12 was Rodgers’ number for soccer in high school.

“You know, I don’t know a whole lot about baseball. But I think another part was getting to learn more about baseball from all of my friends. They know a lot more about it than I do,” Rodgers added with a laugh.

But this experience was something much different for junior Frank Wan, an international student from China. This was his first professional sporting event in America.

“I feel like it was somehow different than the college level sports. The atmosphere, you know how people were yelling and dancing there, was like so different. That really impressed me.”

Wan also talked about how it was different from sporting events in China. His favorite part was a little different than others.

“I think the favorite part is the camera guy like finding people’s face to see who is the funniest, or who is the most interesting ones and people will see their faces on the big screen. It was really funny and I never see that in China.”

Some Spartans even had there camera time including Kaylee Boutin, the Vice President of CAB who sponsored this event. She had watched many Red Sox games on TV, but this was her first at Fenway.

“We were able to get on the Jumbotron which was a really cool experience to have and I was able to enjoy it with fellow Spartans.”

And Wan, who was unaware of baseball mascots, had a fun little run-in with a big, fluffy green guy while he was taking some time in the shade away from the heat. This was none other than Wally the Green Monster, the Red Sox mascot.

He got a picture, and then Wally was gone.

The event was also a successful one for CAB, who held and ran the event. There were 50 students who went on the trip, which was $50 total for the ticket and the bus transportation.

“I think that everyone had a great time and I have heard talk about it still a week later, I found that as a success in my book,” Boutin said.

Overall, the trip was an amazing experience. The game was great, everyone was smiling, laughing and cheering, and we all got to live the tradition of baseball at Fenway Park together.

As I said earlier, I’ve been to Fenway quite a bit, but my favorite part of the game was something that I’ve only witnessed maybe once or twice, and to me it was amazing.

In the middle of the 8th inning at every Red Sox game, Fenway plays “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond and the fans sing with him. It’s an awesome experience every single time. At this game, however, the middle of the 8th was faster than others and the song was cut short. But that didn’t stop the fans.

As the first pitch of the bottom of the 8th was thrown to the plate, a crowd of 36,000 people all sang, “Sweet Caroline, BA BA BA, good times never seemed so good, SO GOOD! SO GOOD! SO GOOD!”

That gave me chills.

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