Many people aren’t fortunate enough to see an MLB game, NBA game, and NHL game in their lifetime, let alone see all three in one weekend. A little over a week ago I had that opportunity to experience such a rare “trifecta” and you bet I made sure to take full advantage of it.
The whole basis of the trip that Mike and I took to Boston was to watch the Red Sox play a couple games. We purchased game tickets months in advance, securing seats for night games on Friday and Saturday. I was perfectly content with this, considering it an already pretty solid sports weekend. But as April approached and the NBA playoff race started to situate itself, it became very apparent that the Celtics would have a good chance of making it. Well, the Celtics took care of business and as luck would have it, when the NBA released the playoff schedule, the Celtics were hosting the Knicks in the TD Garden while we were in town. Even better, they would host a game that would not conflict with our prior obligations. A week before heading to Boston, we bought $80 tickets off of Stub Hub for Game 4 of the opening round of the NBA Playoffs.
The Boston Bruins game was a little more spontaneous. Mike and I actually purchased them an hour before the puck dropped that Sunday night. On fire from the NBA game earlier and wanting another dose of adrenaline inside TD Garden we once again looked to Stub Hub and once again purchased $80 tickets. In what was a delayed regular season finale because of the Boston Marathon tragedy, we saw the Bruins take on the Ottawa Senators.
For this blog post, I want to briefly share with you my experience as a fan at the three different professional sports contests I went to.
RED SOX GAME AT FENWAY PARK
Judging from what I had heard from so many about Fenway Park, I was thinking that the stadium was going to be half falling apart when I walked in. From what got to my ears, it sounded like the stadium was really showing its age and that its best days were in the rearview mirror. However, I didn’t think that at all when I first walked in the park. In fact, I found much more beauty to it than wear and tear. The stadium was pretty much exactly how I envisioned it, no real surprises from the millions of times I watched games on TV.
The first night we sat in the upper deck down the left field line. However, the upper deck in Boston is not as far away from the field as other upper decks in the MLB. They were great seats. But if Friday night’s seats were great, then Saturday night’s seats were spectacular. Sitting in the lower level right off of first base, it was a gorgeous view to watch a baseball game. I guess one way that the stadium does show its age is in the seats themselves. Definitely not a lot of room. But it didn’t matter because we were in such a sacred place watching one of the best games on the planet.
The game production is pretty good. They don’t do too much in-between innings (except for “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in the seventh and “Sweet Caroline” in the eighth) but what they do an excellent job of is running their video board. Out in center field they have a giant electronic video board. To the left is an additional short but very long board as well. The center field scoreboard is crystal clear, it really is so refreshing to look at. Anyway, whoever produces the game does a great job of putting up the best shots available in the stadium and getting everyone involved.
Quick Bits: Boston beat Houston in both games. When I was there they had BOGO Fenway Franks . They also had small cups of beer for $5. Must check out Yawkey Way before the game. Quite a few seats in Fenway have obstructed views. Bullpens are back to back in right field. Various people involved in Boston Marathon rescue efforts were honored during the game.
CELTICS GAME AT TD GARDEN
I had an absolute blast during the Celtics-Knicks playoff game. I had not attended an NBA game since the Sonics were in Seattle so I didn’t know entirely what to expect. But from the time I got my free Celtics t-shirt right when we walked in all the way to the end of the game, my expectations were definitely exceeded. Pregame is like a rock concert. They have loud, remixed music combined with a great light show complete with dancers and cheerleaders while video elements play. It got me pumped up! They had a great entrance video that chronicled the rich Boston basketball history that built up to the present. The national anthem was spectacular and starting lineups were fun.
The game itself was a lot of fun too. It was just cool to see players like Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Carmelo Anthony running around on the court. Even during timeouts there was lots of entertainment on the floor such as a break dance team composed of boys and girls who were probably 7-10 years old. We sat up in the upper level off to the side of one of the baskets but they were still decent seats. It was at this game though where we had the biggest blowhard of the whole trip sitting behind us. The whole game from this guy it was a constant “F— that, F— this,” “You kiddin’ me?!,” “Come on now!!” He went as far as to flip off Knicks fans and routinely called out players on the team he was rooting for. I think the only reason why I tolerated him was because he had an awesome Boston accent.
You wouldn’t know that the Celtics were down 3-0 in the series. The fans were passionate and loud the whole game. I walked the concourse of the arena and saw so many people on fire for the Celtics. I also saw tons of attractive women in basketball jerseys, several yelling matches between Celtics and Knicks fans, and bathroom lines longer than any others I have ever seen before.
Quick Bits: Boston defeated the New York Knicks in overtime. Carlos Arredondo, the guy who assisted bombing victims immediately after the blast, was in attendance. The cheer squad had both female and male members on it. The Celtics run several video elements featuring their star players urging fans to get loud. The media section is large and everyone in it is constantly on their cell phones. Beer prices were expensive although I got a cool light up souvenir glass. Security had me empty my pockets upon entry into the arena.
BRUINS GAME AT TD GARDEN
Besides going to an NHL preseason game, the Boston Bruins vs. Ottawa Senators game was my first real NHL experience. It did not disappoint. Walking back into the TD Garden for the second time that day it was a complete transformation. When I left in the late afternoon it was an arena with a hardwood floor and a mix of all different colors filling in the stands. When I returned that evening, the floor had turned into an ice rink and a sea of black and gold covered the seating area. Everyone in the arena wore Bruins gear to the game, it was really cool to see.
As it was the regular season finale, they honored a bunch of old-timers as well as current players who had won season awards. Also, in honor of fan appreciation, they gave out several prizes throughout the game to whole sections of people, many of which were in the upper level. I guess I was just in awe that the whole arena was packed despite it being a Sunday night and despite the fact that the game had been rescheduled. It did not take me long to realize how much Boston loves hockey.
We sat up in the third level in the second to last row. But again, it didn’t matter, I was just there to enjoy the experience and take in all I could. We were pretty much surrounded by women. I had no idea that hockey had such a strong female following. We got to see a couple pretty good fights on the ice and the game was pretty close the whole way. It was loud in the TD Garden that night but I think it was louder at the NBA game. Just like at Fenway Park and just like earlier in the day, the video board production was great. There was never a dull moment and I always had a smile on my face.
Quick Bits: Ottawa defeated the Bruins. Before that result, the home team had won every game we saw that trip. Bruins have “ice girls”, the hockey version of cheerleaders. Music was much more hard/rock centered than music at the NBA or MLB games. As with the previous games we watched, they honored Boston Marathon heroes at the game.
I had a great time at every game I went to while in Boston. What I will remember the most were the passionate fans with thick accents, awesome video board engagement, and the strong sense of history and reverence that was evident at every game. I am so glad that we made the extra effort to take full advantage of the sports scene while in Boston and I know for a fact that I will be able to tell my kids about the time I saw MLB, NBA, and NHL action live in person over the course of a single weekend. The stories are always the best souvenirs. Don’t Blink.