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Fenway Story A night at the ballpark

One summer evening, when I was about ten years old, my father decided to take me to Fenway Park in Boston to see the Red Sox and the great Carl Yastrzemski.

I remember it was hot and humid, like many New England nights in the middle of summer. The sun had not set, but it was dark in the narrow streets outside the stadium. It smelled of hot dogs and beer and the sweat of people standing in line to buy tickets. I do not remember the game, or who the Red Sox were playing that night, but I do remember the life lesson I was about to learn from the man at the ticket window.

Carl "Yaz" Yastrzemski played for the Red Sox from 1961 to 1983.

Having driven two hours to get to the ballpark, my father was eager to get good seats at field level on the third base line. In those days you could walk up and have a reasonable chance of getting good seats.

When we got to the ticket window, my father did his best to ask for our tickets like a Boston native. Full of confidence, as if we had just been there last week, and the week before that, and always sat in the same place.

But the man framed in the small window had some bad news. Holding a wad of cash in his hands, smoking a cigar and wearing a plaid shirt so worn through and soaked with perspiration that you could see through it, he told my father the best he could do was two seats on the upper deck overlooking left-field.

My father was of course disappointed and asked, "Are you sure?"

"Yes," the man answered. As he let the bad news sink in he glanced at my father and then he glanced at me. He had more to say.

With a line of people behind us, the ticket man casually said, "You know, I'm kind of hungry. I could use a sandwich."

"What?" My father responded.

The man went on. "If you go over across the street to that sandwich shop I could use a ham and cheese sandwich and a cigar." My father was confused and so was I, but we both kept listening.

"Sometimes," he said, "seats have a way of opening up."

Quickly, my father said, "I got it." I followed him across the street to the sandwich shop asking what was going on. Why were we going to buy this guy a sandwich and what kind of cigar?

"It's a bribe, " my father said. "We're going to buy this guy a sandwich and he's going to give us the seats we want."

We got back in line and when we got to the ticket window my father slid a brown paper bag with a ham and cheese sandwich and a cigar across the small counter. The man smiled and slid my father two tickets on the third base line - field level.

Once we got inside, we reveled in our first class seats and had a story we would re-tell each other for years.

Just before the game started a husband a wife sat down next to us. My father began to chat with them about the view we were going to have of the game. He told the couple how we got the seats and the man started laughing and said, "We had to buy the same guy two cigars. I guess your sandwich was enough for dinner."

I'm sure this kind of thing would never happen at Fenway today, but the fact that it did on that night is not all bad. Sometimes life lessons are learned by watching the game. Sometimes they are learned just getting to the game.

For collaborations:

Dean@DeanPagani.com I DeanPagani.com I ThisDecisiveMoment.com

© Dean Pagani 2019

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© Dean Pagani 2019

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