BOSTON — The annual Futures at Fenway series at Fenway Park is truly the ultimate baseball fan experience.
And even though thunderstorms washed out the second game of the doubleheader between the Salem Red Sox and Potomac Nationals, most of the fans did not seem entirely disappointed.
Richard Gray has been taking the two-hour drive from Wolcott, Conn. to Fenway Park for the past three years to see Red Sox minor leaguers play on the big league field. When the Salem-Potomac game was called around 4:15 p.m., Gray wasn’t going anywhere.
“It’s always great to be here,” Gray said.”We were hoping for the second game, and we’re certainly a little disappointed. But you can’t really complain when you’re in Fenway.”
Gray says that the ticket prices (average tickets cost around $10) are just one of the great reasons to attend Futures at Fenway. Watching players who could end up with the big club is another.
“I love catching a glimpse of the youngsters, and maybe they’ll end up on the Sox someday,” Gray added. “I saw [Kevin Youkilis] play in the Double-A All-Star Game a few years back, and I’ve been hooked on the minor leagues since.”
Kirk Thibodeau didn’t seem particularly upset at the end of the day, as he watched his 12-year-old son Tanner and his friend David get autographs from various Nationals minor leaguers.
“You know, we watch these guys on TV all the time, but it’s tough to afford going to a Red Sox game,” said Thibodeau, who brought his boys all the way from Candia, N.H.
And while the kids were content standing on field-level, reaching over the railing for a player’s signature, Dad was simply taking in the excellent workmanship done by the Fenway Park grounds crew.
“I like seeing how they prepare the field after a big storm like this,” said Thibodeau. “It’s pretty interesting to watch what it takes.”
It’s tough to knock on that kind of attitude.
The first game of the doubleheader between the Lowell Spinners and Jamestown Jammers was called after the top of the sixth inning (Jamestown won 7-2), when hail was spitting onto the field.
When the second game was called, it would be hard-pressed to say that most fans wouldn’t be disappointed.
But for fans like Gray, Thibodeau and the thousands of others that hung around Fenway Park during the torrential downpour, sometimes it’s all about the experience.
“The traffic was bad getting here,” said Thibodeau. “So if I’m going to complain about anything, it might as well be that.”
Fair enough. Nobody likes traffic.