July 15, 2008

Fenway: Should You Have to Be This Tall To Get In?

Monique Chartier

Over at Not For Nothing, Ian Donnis raises the critical question of youngsters - real young youngsters - at the ball park.

In the course of a recent discussion of Pink Hats (male and female), some of the hosts on WEEI vented about what they called an excess of babies and toddlers during games at Fenway, as well as too many fans who are utterly oblivious to the game and/or ignorant about Sox history.

N4N had the good fortune to be there yesterday for the 2-1 win that moved Boston into first place, ahead of the Rays. And, yes, there were three toddlers (all under three years old) within about 15 feet of me, causing a stream of anxiety about whether they'd provide a caterwauling soundtrack for Dice-K's start.

To his credit, the 13-month-old to my left tolerated the afternoon heat in RF Box 87 like a champ, without benefit of a few of those $7.50 cups of Sam Adams, and the other kids weren't bad, other than being cute and vying for occasional attention.

Still, let's be real, people. Do children under six really belong at a baseball game? Are they even going to remember it? Are their caretakers going to spend too much time fussing about them instead of mulling Youk's VORP?

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caterwauling kids can be an annoyance on airliners and at movies,but at a ballpark?The place is louder than a prison block duing a riot.Get serious.

Posted by: joe bernstein at July 15, 2008 9:02 PM

College buddy of mine took his four-year-old to his first game at Fenway awhile back. The kid will be bragging he saw John Lester's no-hitter...once he's old enough to understand what that is.
He did stay awake all the way.

Posted by: rhody at July 16, 2008 1:33 AM

If you can afford tickets to a ball game at Fenway Park, you can most certainly afford a babysitter! I'm all for promoting family, but there is a time and place for everything.

Posted by: Will at July 16, 2008 2:44 AM

It drives me nuts now to see who goes to Fenway. People are there to be seen and to say they were there. They're not there to watch the game. It's ridiculous. Especially when you see some guy with his wife and 2-3 kids all under 4 years old with the field box seats.

Yeah, I'm jealous that I either can't get or can't afford tickets, but that's another story.

And no, I don't blame the Red Sox even a little bit for charging every last penny they can get for their tickets. If anything, the tickets are underpriced according to supply and demand and based on a secondary market existing.

Posted by: Patrick at July 16, 2008 5:28 PM

Kids can play T-Ball at age 4, so I'd say it's definitely appropriate for them to go to a Sox game.

For those kids under 4, I'd be too worried that a foul ball up the third or first base line might hit a toddler in the head.

As for Sox ticket prices, the organization needs to be careful. I remember going to Sox games when you could buy seats behind the plate (grandstand) on game day. The current base of loyal Sox fans developed because sons grew up going to games with their fathers. They are the core Sox fans.

Many people going to Fenway today go because it's trendy. The team's past history of failure, coupled with their recent successes have made them popular with people who aren't baseball fans.

Ticket prices have to remain at a level such that the average American family can attend a game or else that fan loyalty goes away. And the much of the profit isn't in the ticket price. It's in the media rights, merchandising, etc.

Posted by: Anthony at July 16, 2008 5:49 PM


I couldn't agree more. I am one of those who grew up going to Fenway. I can remember heading to Boston with my family for weekday afternoon games when there were what -- 7,000 people in the stands -- and my brothers and I had the run of the place (I was all of ten at the time, and my "little" brother was six). It was a different era, alright. Most of those seats were paid for with after tax dollars by real baseball fans. And we have been loyal Sox fans ever since.

That said, I'm not sure the same will be true for my own children. Today, I'd bet that more than 75% of the seats at Fenway are bought with pre-tax dollars, and, as you note, a lot of people go to games for lots of reasons besides baseball. In fact, at the last game I took my kids to, we were treated to a game long conversation by the office group behind us that included slagging the boss and a graphic discussion of intra-office extra-marital gymnastics. And a couple of ugly drunks to boot. Not exactly the stuff lifetime memories and loyal Sox fans are made of. And of course the price of the tickets was completely outrageous.

As a result, to the extent that my kids become Sox fans, it will be due to their many trips to McCoy, where you can still see very high quality baseball at a very attractive price, in the company of lots of other fans who know and love the game and who also bought their seats with after tax dollars.

I guess that's what happens when the national pastime becomes just another segment of the entertainment business. Sigh.

Posted by: John at July 17, 2008 12:40 AM

The ticket pricing isn't the problem, it's the legalized scalping done by Stub Hub and other agencies.

When was the last time anyone paid the $26 face value for right field bleacher ticket?

Pinkhats, hipsters on cellphones, and kids may contribute to the lack of ticket supply, but they have as much right to be there as we seasoned fans.

Posted by: JP at July 17, 2008 2:43 PM

Dirty little secret: You can hang outside Fenway an hour before a game and get a good ticket for $20 (granted, not a Yankees game).
Went to my first game in 14 years this May (Lester's no-hitter) with tickets I won in a workplace drawing ($90 seats on the loge level right behind the plate - best I've ever had at Fenway). Had one ticket left, and figured I could get face or close to it (Manny was at 498 homers at the time). Got about six offers, and finally dumped it for the highest, $20 ($20 more than I paid for it, at least).
Next time I'm in Boston on a Monday night and the Sox are playing a non-marquee team, I will avenge this shock.

Posted by: rhody at July 18, 2008 3:13 PM
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