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New England Baseball Stadium Tour
America's Favorite Pastime, New England-Style

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Perspectives on Major, Minor and Amateur League Baseball Stadiums in the Good, Old New England Summertime! You can also buy your here.

Fenway Park Grren Monster photo

Fenway Park Green Monster (photo by Eric H.)

Article and photo by Eric H.

No matter how large our big screen televisions get, the highest definition of watching a baseball game takes place right at the stadium.

For many, the essence of summer can be found by sitting

back on a sunny summer afternoon with a hot dog, popcorn and beer or soft drink while breathing in the perfect pastoral symmetry of America's Favorite Pastime. Whether it's a major, minor or amateur league baseball game really doesn't matter -- the spirit of the crowd and the leisurely process of the game bring a truly three-dimensional summertime piece of heaven to our baseball hearts and then our minds. With the crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, the familiar cheesy organ music, hokey, animated scoreboard graphics and often locally-sponsored on-the-field contests (mostly at minor league games), attending a live baseball game validates in person baseball's presence as a true slice of Americana.

New England offers much to cheer about when it comes to baseball. Of course, leading off is Fenway Park (seating capacity 37,000), home of the -- now we can say it -- World Champion Boston Red Sox in Boston, MA. Cozy, intimate 1912-born Fenway Park with its unorthodox 37-ft. high Green Monster Wall in left field (see picture above), relatively small seating capacity, and one-of-a-kind architectural nooks and crannies (Pesky's pole in right field is only 302 ft. from home plate!) throughout the stadium make this a must-see destination for any baseball fan. Speaking of baseball fans, everything you've heard about their impassioned love for the game is absolutely true, from the working-class guy with stentorian tendencies to the pink-capped women who sway to Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" played on the speakers in the middle of the eighth inning.   Recent stadium improvements include increased seating capacity, bigger fan concourses, and better food offerings such as as shrimp roll, lobster roll and steak tips! Fenway Park also offers a fun-filled, informative and educational tour of the ballpark, led by many locals who know and love the game -- quite entertaining, indeed. Fenway Park, 4 Yawkey Way, Boston, MA. Tel. (617) 226-6000.

If you don't feel like spending a lot for Red Sox tickets, then assigning yourself to the Minor Leagues is your cup of tea. Still wonderfully family-oriented and quite affordable  our first recommendation is to catch a Triple A Pawtucket Red Sox baseball game at McCoy Stadium (seating capacity 10,000, box seats only $10.00!) in Pawtucket, RI.  Thoroughly modernized but yet traditional, McCoy Stadium is a beautifully constructed and restored work of art (built in 1942 nd restored in 1999). It's a you-have-to-be-there scenario, but McCoy just looks like a baseball stadium -- no fancy, modern ugly, cookie-cutter architecture here. Comfortable seats, good concessions with all the basics (hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza beer, etc.), very clean rest rooms, a packed-to-the-gills gift shop, and a community of baseball fans that seem to love the game more than at other stadiums, McCoy Stadium is an instant "hall of fame" caliber stadium for anyone remotely interested in baseball. The spirit is truly tremendous and quite family-oriented. Like its parent team, the Boston Red Sox, the Pawtucket Red Sox are looking mighty good these days with some amazing prospects like pitchers Daniel Bard (just called up to the Red Sox), Michael Bowden and Clay Bucholz. Pawtucket is also a few minute's drive to the fantastic city of Providence, RI. We recommend heading to the Italian-flavored Federal Hill neighborhood and grabbing some delicious thin or thick crust pizza at Sicilia's (181 Atwells Ave., Providence, RI 401-273-9222)! McCoy Stadium, 1 Columbus Ave., Pawtucket, RI. Tel. (401) 724-7300.

Portland Hadlock Field (capacity 6,500) in Portland, Maine, is home to the Portland Sea Dogs, the Double A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. Ideally located near the small city coastal splendor of historic, charming Portland, Hadlock Field has a spacious feel and one of the most entertaining mascots, "Slugger" the dog. A Maine lighthouse pops out of the outfield wall when the Sea Dogs win or hit a home run! The concession stand is quite impressive, too, with the Sea Dog haddock fillet sandwich, the Sea Dog ice cream biscuit, New England Coffee, local micro brews like Casco Bay, and good, old ball park standbys like hamburgers, Kayem's hot dogs, popcorn chicken, pizza, peanuts and cracker jacks! Portland Hadlock Field, 271 Park Ave., Portland, ME. Tel. (207) 874-8200.

Campanelli Stadium (capacity 6,000) in Brockton, MA, features the Brockton Rox,  a collegiate baseball team. Although the Rox have no Major League Baseball affiliation, it really doesn't matter. The players play their hearts out in a stadium with a lot of heart. With the spirited amateur baseball players and K-O the Boxing Kangaroo entertaining the crowds, going to Campanelli Stadium is a terrific summer place for the family. Myriad promotions like the bull-riding rodeo event, an opening day clown band, pitching accuracy contests and Scout Night (where Boy Scouts sleep overnight in tents on the field) epitomize the high level of old-fashioned fun to go along with a surprisingly high level of baseball being played (we saw very fundamentally sound Brockton Rox players during the game). Campanelli Stadium, 1 Lexington Ave., Brockton, MA. Tel. (508) 559-7000

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