As a wise elderly gentleman in the row in front of me at Monday night's Red Sox game against Texas said, "Don't let the truth get in the way of my story."
With a wry smile, he was speaking to his middle-aged son.
Well, the truth is the basis of my observations from a night at Fenway Park. As I stepped off the subway at Fenway, I was immediately approached by a man, who reeked of alcohol, trying to scalp me tickets -- which is expected, if you have been to any sporting event.
Nevertheless, when my girlfriend, Lindsay, her brother, Shawn, and I finally arrived at the security checkpoint -- we were blown away at the laxness of the employees in charge of keeping 37,000-plus fans safe.
Lindsay went ahead of us because she had her purse -- the attendant unzipped the middle part of her bag, took a quick peek inside with a flashlight and sent her through to have a metal detector wand, the size of a cricket bat, passed over her extremities.
After Shawn and I made it through the security checkpoint, I stood off behind the endless boxes of limited edition David Ortiz bobbleheads and briefly observed the security procedures.
I watched a young man with a rather large stuffed backpack have his bag unzipped while the attendant did the same quick look inside without removing the contents.
The guy could have had anything in there from chemicals in a plastic container to pretty much anything nonmetallic, so long as he stuffed it way down in the secondary compartments.
I understand that the attendants want to get people into the game as fast as possible to keep up with the crowds, but one lapse in security could have dire consequences. How many tragedies must this nation endure before security protocols are put in place and adhered to?
I am not saying that each person entering the stadium should have to take off their shoes and belts and send their bags through a scanner like at the airport. But if the attendants would check the patrons' bags a little more thoroughly, I would feel a heck of a lot more comfortable.
As we made our way to our seats in the right field grandstand, the national anthem rang through the ballpark. We stopped in our tracks, removed our hats and faced the flag, but there were a few older men who kept their hats on their heads and continued to shoot the breeze like the national anthem was just background noise. To me, that is a sign of disrespect for those who have served and are serving our nation.
Two-minutes of silence is not a huge sacrifice. In the middle of the fifth-inning, a local hero was honored by the team, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jeremy Penman, of Devens. Staff Sgt. Penman received a standing ovation from the crowd when his picture was cast on the big screen in center field.When we arrived at our seats in row 5, section 6, I observed the types of fans we would be sitting with.
Usually, I end up making a couple of new acquaintances before the night is through, but let's just say most of the people in-and-around our row weren't the type you would bring home to introduce to mama. But the family in the row directly in front of me offered me peanuts that the grandfather had smuggled in. To that man, I would like to say thanks.
The middle-aged couple to the left of Lindsay was too busy French-kissing to realize that a baseball game was going on. The woman kept bumping into my girlfriend and thought nothing of it. If you have ever been in the wooden chairs underneath the awnings, you know that they are pretty cramped.
The couple got up multiple times during the game and cut in front of us as the play was still happening. If they had waited until the end of the inning to get up, I would have had no problem with it.
But when you are walking in front of me time-and-time again and interrupting my enjoyment of the game, it's just plain disrespectful.
Next, the group of people behind us had no idea who the players on the Red Sox were -- despite being decked out head-to-toe in team apparel. One of the females in the group asked her friend if Jason Varitek was catching? The friend said, "It looks like him, but I am not sure." Folks, Varitek retired three years ago.
I heard the same group of fans say Xander Bogaerts should have caught that ball in center field ... Bogaerts is a third baseman.
Ticket buyers are truly faceless to MLB franchises -- money talks, and teams will gladly take uneducated fans' money. Folks, all I ask is that you be mindful of other fans in the ballpark before you constantly get up to go to the bathroom, walk the concourse or buy souvenirs. Please, for the love of baseball, consolidate your trips. The fans around you will appreciate it.