BOSTON –
Ladies and gentleman of the baseball congregation, I have a confession to make.

Angela Cesere
Fenway Park is the last American ballpark to have wooden seats.Its trademark leftfield wall, the Green Monster, is pictured above. (AP PHOTO)

For 20 years I had been living a lie and pretending to be someone I wasn’t.

I tried to hide it from my friends and family, but the only person I was fooling was myself.

I was passing myself off as a true baseball fan.

I constantly wore baseball caps, adorned my bedroom with baseball memorabilia – heck, I even watched the movie “Ed.”

And I was content with this existence, satisfied with the fact that I didn’t know what current Major League team was known as the Highlanders in 1912 (the Yankees), or that the last player to win the triple crown was Carl Yaztremski (not Ted Williams).

But the baseball gods wouldn’t continue to let me live like this. They showed me the promise land – the chapel of baseball – and allowed me to see the errors of my ways.

I’ve been shown a place where the peanuts and crackerjacks aren’t handed to the fans, but thrown to them by the vendors.

The dominant music heard throughout the stadium is the sound of an organ playing, not the sounds of the shrilly Ashlee Simpson (which was playing for 45 minutes before a game at Shea Stadium).

I’ve been shown a place where a portion of the seats are older (72 years old) than the team’s GM (30).

That place is Fenway Park – one of America’s most treasured sites.

And the experience of watching two games within these hallowed grounds have shown me what it is to be a true baseball fan, and how to act properly during a baseball game.

I didn’t need a prompt to let me know when to get up and cheer; I just had to listen to my fellow fans as they stood up from their seats and chanted Let’s go Papi, or Man-ny, Man-ny!

I found out what it means to truly love a team; to be willing to take your entire family from your home in Ohio and come to Massachusetts to watch a baseball game (like the family that sat behind me on Friday night).

I discovered that just wearing the team gear or going to the game isn’t enough to be a true fan; you have to be in a relationship with the team. You have to be like my roommate, who talks about the players as if they were members of his family. You have to be like the couple I talked to on Friday night, who instead of going to a fine restaurant the first night away from the children in awhile, they went to the baseball game together.

That’s right, instead of pinot and fetticino con pesto with a fine saffron sauce over candle light, these two had beer and Fenway franks under the night lights of the park.

Standing inside the same park that housed legends such as Ted Williams and Babe Ruth, seeing all the dimples (don’t call them dents in Boston) on the Green Monster and sitting in Major League baseball’s last remaining wooden seats made me appreciate the game that much more.

Because of my experience at Fenway Park, I am now a changed man.

I will no longer sit down while my team is in the middle of a big rally. I won’t wait for the Comerica Park video board attendant to let me know when I should make some noise or clap my hands, and I will wear my Tigers cap and jersey proudly to every game.

So, to all those in the baseball congregation, can I get an amen?

– Bosch can be reached at hectobos@umich.edu

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