Category Archives: Boston

The Advantages of Smaller Baseball Stadiums

My friends over at SixFourThree*, “a blog about baseball and much more”, posted an entry today that discusses the somewhat counterintuitive recent trend of rebuilding baseball stadiums that contain a smaller – rather than larger – amount of seats.

The author of this particular post correctly points out that the main reasons behind this change are:

1. Aesthetic. Fewer available tickets increases the likelihood of a (near) sellout game, leaving fewer empty seats for the TV audience to see, improving the perception of team success and fan loyalty.

2. Economic. If the supply of tickets available decreases, demand then increases proportionally. This allows for the market value of tickets to increase. 

I think there’s an unintended humanistic result that musn’t be overlooked in this discussion and I’ve provided my thoughts below:

Julie Minevich & Lesley Angellis at Fenway Park

Ignore my shirt and instead look at how close we are!

Growing up a Red Sox fan, with Fenway Park as my home stadium, I think I’ve experienced baseball differently than baseball fans in other cities.

Fenway produces an intimate, community feel because of its small size. This was something I took for granted until I attended a Red Sox- Orioles game at Camden Yards during college – my first baseball experience outside of Boston.

I remember being hugely disappointed by the impersonal feel of the game there. Tickets were very easy to obtain and pretty inexpensive but the enormity of the stadium and the crowd itself made me feel like just another attendee.

Clearly, part of it is my obvious bias, but again, I think Fenway is physically so small that not only you are forced to become friends with your seat neighbors but also you go in knowing that even the worst seat isn’t that far away from the action and the players on the field.

I recently was exploring seat options at Nationals Park for the Red Sox games taking place there this summer. What I noticed was that there were definitely more seat options than at Fenway but a $50 ticket gives you a much better seat in Boston than does in DC.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that, of course, smaller stadiums are being built first and foremost to maximize a franchise’s earning potential, but there is a positive outcome that shouldn’t be overlooked – the betterment of the game experience from a fan’s perspective.

*The phrasing of “my friends at SixFourThree” is a bit funny to me because “my friends at…” is a statement that is used in a general, vague sense, but, in this case, the writers of SixFourThree really are my college friends who happen to run a sports blog. Oh, grammatical humor! Gets me every time!

Sexual Orientation Equality: The Civil Rights Fight Of Our Time

On Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, I saw Milk, a movie describing the life of Harvey Milk who, as member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, became the first openly gay man elected to public office in California and who successfully fought in 1978 to pass a gay rights ordinance for San Francisco as well as to defeat Proposition 6 (also known as the Briggs Initiative), which would have banned homosexuals, and their supporters, from working in California’s public schools. Milk was assasinated less than a year after being elected but due to his significant contributions he has become an icon for gay rights activists.

What struck me about the movie is that thirty years later not much has changed.

The passing of California Proposition 8 last November, which changed the state’s constitution to restrict the definition of marriage to opposite-sex couples and eliminated same-sex couples’ right to marriage, highlights the discrimination and ignorance that still exists surrounding the LGBT community.

The fight for gender, racial, and religious equality was won by previous generations of open-minded thinkers. But the civil rights fight of our time is that for sexual orientation equality.

I was fortunate to grow up in liberal Lexington, Massachuetts (the “birthplace of American Liberty”, no less) where we were taught that how others label themselves is irrelevant, it’s who they are as individuals that matters. (Crazy idea, right?)

My town and its schools have come under fire before because of our acceptance of the LGBT community, most recently in 2005 during an annual Day of Silence and when a parent filed a federal civil rights lawsuit after his son brought home a book depicting same-sex couples.

These two events prompted the “God Hates Fags” Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, headed by Fred Phelps, to stage anti-gay protests at five Lexington churches and at Lexington High School’s Class of 2005 graduation.

Unfortunately, the church is planning once again to protest Lexington because of its strong support for LBGT indviduals.

But this time, I feel like there’s something I can do to show that there’s no place for this type of intolerance in my hometown – and in my country.

Driving Equality is hosting a Phelps-A-Thon to counter Fred Phelps’ hateful message. For every minute the “God Hates Fags” clan is protesting, Driving Equality will be collecting donations for Lexington High School’s Gay Straight Alliance. Pledges can be made in any amount (even $0.25!) for every minute of the group’s demonstration or at a flat rate for the entire time.

During the protest, Driving Equality will display a sign in front of the “God Hates Fags” clan tallying how much money is being raised for LGBT equality. After the event, the church will be sent a Thank You card for their help in raising the funds.

This is an opportunity to turn something so negative and hateful into something positive. I hope that you will help me spread the message and will consider joining me in donating to the Lexington High School Phelps-A-Thon to show solidarity with the LGBT community at Lexington High School – and worldwide.

(More information on the Lexington High School Phelps-A-Thon can be found here and pledges can be made here.)

Zemanta Pixie

Day 0 (to become Day 1 when I land)

In less than two hours, I’ll be on my way to the airport to begin my new life: new city, new job, new apartment, new mode of transportation, new day-to-day social circle, you get the idea…

When I’ve told me people about this move, the first question always asked is whether I’m excited. Now clearly, this is a positive move that I think will change my life for the better (no one sets out to make his/her life worse, do they?).

BUT I feel like I’m crazy to be walking away from everything I have now. It’s a blessing and a curse (don’t you hate when people say that?) that I realize how fortunate I am.

Here’s from what I’m walking away:

  • My family. My family was a big reason of why I moved back to this area after I graduated. I wanted to improve my relationships with my two sisters, aged 12 and 5. And I think that’s one thing that I have definitely accomplished over this last year and a third. My family, as crazy as it is, has been there to support me and that’s something that I’ll definitely miss.
  • My job. There’s three things here of note: the job itself, the company, and my coworkers. I love what I do, I love the people I work with, and I, for better or worse, consider my coworkers to be some of my best friends.
  • My apartment/car. Okay, clearly things that can be replaced, but both were awesome.
  • Living with my best friend. Deciding to live with a friend can be scary and has been known to lead to a failed friendship… I would say that although Lesley and I have had bumps in the road, overall, our friendship is stronger than ever.

I know I’ve talked about this ad nauseum (sp?) but I do really hope this will all work out because I feel crazy to have given up a great apartment, a good job with fun coworkers, living with my best friend, and having my family close by.