Exhibition Report: Some Good, Some Bad
Goodness, there's already so much to talk about. The ballpark is just delicious. All the construction camera shots, photos and graphics? They absolutely did not do the park justice. It feels way small and completely cozy. I couldn't get over how much closer to the field everything looked in person.
Go early, go early, go early. The ballpark wasn't even at capacity and concession lines went for days, especially at Ben's Chili Bowl. My buddies and I checked out all the nooks and crannies in the ballpark before we ate. Big mistake. By the time we were ready to get food, there were decent lines at every concession. Well, except Giffords Ice Cream. Sadly, it was too cold for ice cream. Anyway, by the time we got through the food lines, we had missed some of the ceremonies and speeches and it took some time to get settled into the actual ballgame. If I were to do it again, I'd go in, get a bite to eat, THEN go look around.
Evidence of the last minute preparations were everywhere, but I'm not going to nit-pick yet. It's the first day! There's tons of time of time to play the entitled customer. But there were a few things that stood out, good and bad.
My very first entrance into the ballpark was a little jarring. I came in the Home Plate Gate, all grinny and giddy, and before I received any kind of greeting, Disney or otherwise, I was told by yellow-jacket security with stone-cold faces that my tiny backpack wasn't going to be allowed in the future. Security 1, Rachel's Buzz 0.
The music was fantastic. All of it. Except one song. I could not believe they still played Sweet Caroline. IT'S NOT OUR SONG!! That is a Red Sox tradition!! Can we not come up with new material, especially now? I was disgusted and pouted with my arms crossed for a full inning. Also, in section 202, anything spoken through the speakers was indecipherable. Sigh. Just like RFK.
Okay, back to the good stuff. I only visited the Team Stores at the Home Plate Gate, but I'm really excited about the cute women's shirts. They actually had more red than pink. (Trust me, you do not want to hear my pink-baseball-gear rant).
The Red Porch restaurant crew seemed a bit overwhelmed, but my goodness they had great attitudes. Although it took a long time to be helped we were very forgiving because our waiter and the other staff were so friendly and were really trying hard. Two other great features of the Red Porch restaurant are its outside row of very comfortable-looking seats (they're reserved), and the upper deck bar above the restaurant. I can't wait to give both a test drive.
I was a little bummed about the timing of the team's pre-game tribute to the ballpark's construction workers. Nobody was seated yet, and those folks deserve the standing ovation of an entire 41,888-person audience.
Transportation: I took the green line all the way in and liked not knowing which end of the train the ballpark exit would be, because I knew from this day forward I would always know, if that makes sense. For that reason, I'm not telling. I'll let you learn that yourself.
If you're going home on the red, blue or orange lines, give the N22 bus to Union Station a try. In only took 7 minutes to reach Eastern Market, and reached Union Station within 15. It picks up at the far metro entrance on New Jersey (at M St.). The bus was not crowded (yet), there was no traffic (yet), and the bus came much more frequently than every 10 minutes.
I can't wait to hear about your first visit.
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