The Fenway day-night doubleheader experience


I’ve attended over 90 games at Fenway Park in my lifetime, yet never once had I been to a doubleheader.  It had always been my goal to attend one and I finally got the chance last week in the series with the Tampa Bay Rays.

I had a single ticket to the Wednesday, April 30 game that I previously purchased for the end of a one day business trip to Boston.  I thought it would be a good way to cap off a long day of work.

May 1, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli (12) hits an RBI single against the Tampa Bay Rays during the fifth inning of the second game of a double header at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

But that game ended up being postponed early in the day and rescheduled as the first game of a day-night doubleheader the next day, Thursday, May 1 at 1:05 pm. It was the first time in 36 years of attending major league baseball games across the country that I had ever been rained out and forced to come back on a rain check.

And forced is the proper word.  I had to attend the makeup game because I was told by the Red Sox ticket office that I could not exchange the rain-out ticket for a future game on the schedule.  It was either go Thursday afternoon or eat the ticket cost. Apparently, this is the Sox’ policy for most all rain outs that are rescheduled next day and there is no other option.

Fortunately, I had the next day off from work so I hatched a clever plan.

I made the best of what could have been a bad situation and decided to drive back to Boston from Connecticut again on Thursday morning, buy a ticket on Stub Hub for the second game and attend my first ever doubleheader.

I’m glad I did because I found out some interesting tidbits during my long day at Fenway.  The biggest of these is that not many people attend a makeup game when the turnaround is that quick.

In fact, it was quite a strange vibe outside the park before the game.  It was unusually quiet. There were not a lot of people milling around and the bars and restaurants around the park were easy to get into.

But this is good because getting into Boston Beer Works, Game On or the Cask N’ Flagon is normally difficult on a regular game day.  So you’ll end up being able to easily check out any of those spots without a wait for a table.

The best result of the lack of fan volume is that you can unofficially sit wherever you want in the park as long as you don’t cause a problem for anyone sitting nearby and you move if the actual ticket holder shows up.  You’ll never get an usher to admit that under oath but it’s true.  I checked.

So, instead of sitting in bleacher section 43, row 29, I instantly upgraded my seat to grandstand section 25, row 1 which is parallel to the third base on-deck circle.  What a great seat.

May 1, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Desmond Jennings (left) celebrates his home run against the Boston Red Sox with third baseman Evan Longoria (3) during the first inning of the second game of a double header at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Other fun things to note:  when you attend two games in one day, you start to memorize the names of the players’ walk up songs because you hear them so often.

The freedom to move around the park allows you to sit where all the obstructed view seats are located in the grandstand and write them down so you don’t buy tickets there in the future.

With the advent of third jerseys, it’s likely the teams will wear different uniform tops for each game. The Red Sox wore red the first game and white the second.  The Rays wore gray first and blue second.

You can only eat so many Fenway Franks before they start to look unappealing.  I’d say the over/under is three.  But buy a souvenir cup soda for $7.75 and the refills are free. And the longer you are there, the more menu items you can sample.  But that will get pricey in a hurry.

There are a whole host of new concessions in the brand new third base deck area behind sections 31 and 32.  The Tasty Burger cheeseburgers and cheesy tater tots are great choices.

And remember, when a day-night doubleheader is declared that means the stadium is cleared after the first game and a whole new set of fans is admitted for the second game.  Even if you have a ticket for both games you must leave and re-enter.

As for the games themselves, they were the worst part of the day because the Red Sox got swept in the doubleheader by losing two one-run games: 2-1 in the first game, where the offense did nothing and 6-5 in the nightcap, in which the bullpen blew a 5-2 lead.  Most fans, myself included were not in a good mood after losing both games.  It was a quiet exit from the park.

Day-night doubleheaders can certainly make for a long day.  But if you love baseball, as I do, and have the time, as I did, I highly recommend attending one of these at least once in your life.  It is a truly unique experience and you get more than enough baseball.