fenway park

We are pleased to present Tim Shea, the author of Fenway! The Ultimate Fan Guide on this episode of Cover the Bases.  Tim has put together a must have book for anyone with the responsibility of finding the perfect seats for a visit to Fenway Park.

Tim’s concept for the book came out of his concern that some in his group wouldFenway Fan Guide | Tim Shea | Baseballisms.com end up having obstructed views of the ballgame, based upon his ticket selection.  With a need to try to avoid purchasing tickets behind one of Fenway’s famous 33 Grandstand poles, Tim began to research the park and decided to share his knowledge by crafting this book.  The guidebook concept along the lines of a Fodors was born, including not just tickets information, but also dining, parking, and places to stay when attending a Red Sox game.

Tim gives you a complete breakdown of each Grandstand section with a simple to understand diagram including which seats will have a blocked view of the pitcher’s mound or home plate.  This is a major distinction as compared to what the ticket office designates as obstructed, which Fenway considers as pitcher’s mound AND home plate.

As an added warning when seeking tickets for games, avoid the right field corner seats which happen to be angled to face towards the centerfield bullpens and Green Monster, instead of the middle of the diamond.  This is just a ramification of the park design when it was originally constructed.

It cannot be overlooked that during the time prior to the current Red Sox ownership group, speculation was that Fenway would have to be completely rebuilt or even moved from its current location in order to allow for revenue opportunities, so that the team could compete with the New York Yankees. The winning ownership group led by John W. Henry was able to make alterations to the park without impacting the integrity of the structure.  Not only was this greatly appreciated by the fan base, but as Tim points out, puts them on a path towards having Fenway deemed a National Historic Site.

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When I was 15, I realized I could walk from my high school, Girl’s Latin School, to Fenway Park and arrive during the 7th inning. I discovered at this point they were no longer taking admission tickets so I could get in free.

I saw all but two home games, and after all, the last innings are the most exciting anyway. I would then hang around until the players came out and would be able to talk to them. Yeh, I guess you could call me a baseball groupie.

After one of my missed games, this oh-so-adorable pitcher, Randy Heflin came over and asked where I was the day before. He said “You weren’t here so we lost the game.”

I was a Red Sox mascot and didn’t know it! Can you imagine how thrilled I was.



Umbrella Man Revisited

by on March 21, 2008

This is one of my all-time favorite baseballisms from my buddy Jim McNulty of Milton Mass. Jim and I were college roomates together at Providence College in the early 80’s. Jim has a great way of telling a story and we will definitely get him to do a Baseballisms video when we get a chance. He’s got more stories than this – believe me!

As all baseball fans will do when they get together, a discussion on the topic of catching a foul ball / home run inevitably comes up. Jim told us the story of sitting in the front row behind home plate at Fenway Park, during a cold and rainy day game, as a high school junior in 1979. He described how a foul ball started to come straight down on top of him and his buddy Frank.

Most baseball fans have that split second thought that runs through their head — “that ball could be near me”, but most of the time it lands many rows away. But in rare instances that thought turns to “that ball is COMING RIGHT AT ME”. That was the case on this day.

Frank and Jim both reached high above attempting to snag the souvenir while Brewers catcher Ray Fosse zeroed in on the putout. Someone was going to cradle that ball and it was going to come down to whoever wanted it more … but all of a sudden from a row behind comes a smiling man with an open umbrella! What!?! The Umbrella Man deflects the ball away from the guys and it pops into Fosse’s glove.

Now you have to keep in mind, Jim is a great raconteur, and in those fun-filled days and nights during college we would kill ourselves with laughter retelling tales from our “youths”. When we first heard about Umbrella Man we had to call timeout and challenge the validity with exclamations of “no way!” So during Christmas break that freshman year, Jim went home to uncover proof positive indeed.

That’s Jim in the front row to the right of Fosse, looking back over his shoulder, flinching away from Umbrella Man. Not only can he confirm his story, he’s got himself a two part spread within an article written by Peter Gammons!

Part two still shows Umbrella Man with a giant grin on his face, and the disgruntled Jim and his buddy Frank looking on in disbelief.

An interesting side note as Jim tells it today, making the call from behind the plate that day was a minor league umpire on duty during the Umpire’s union strike at the start of that season.

And a little inside ribbing too … Jim has always told me that he was never too good at judging fly balls, so you have to wonder if Umbrella Man hadn’t intervened, who would have come down with the souvenir!?!

Jim – You’re the best! Thanks for sharing this baseballism with us …