1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Column feedback appreciated

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by budcrew08, Apr 14, 2007.

  1. budcrew08

    budcrew08 Active Member

    I'm hoping for as much feedback as possible for this column I wrote about my first trip to Fenway

    History beheld at Fenway, just not as planned

    BOSTON - I went to Wednesday's baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Seattle Mariners expecting to see history.
    Well, I got history. But not what I expected.
    My girlfriend Cassandra and I bought the tickets to the game back in February, figuring we would get your normal, run-of-the-mill regular season, April baseball game. But when all was said and done, it was anything but.
    It was the first time I had seen a major league baseball game since I sat in the nosebleed seats at Shea Stadium when I was 9, so I felt like a kid all over again. Driving in on Route 1, you can see the Citgo sign made famous by its placement behind the Green Monster, and it sent a chill through me seeing a piece of history.
    Pulling into a lot just across from the stadium just off Yawkey Way, I looked up at this great 90-year-old structure and it's like gazing at Mount Rushmore, the Taj Mahal and the Statue of Liberty all in one. Fenway Park is a cathedral for all those that worship the game of baseball. It is the holiest of shrines for the sports fan. I imagine you could get the same feeling going to Wrigley Field or the old Boston Garden.
    It's a feeling that almost takes the sting out of the $35 parking fee.
    Walking towards the stadium on Yawkey Way, you pass through the ticket takers into what seems like another world. There are radio stations doing live remotes, giving out free stuff, street performers, people selling food and souvenirs in a store across the street from the park. All the craziness hits all the senses, almost to the point of overload.
    You enter the park underneath it, actually below the seats, and we got lost a little bit, coming in on the third base side of the park, when we had tickets in the right field bleachers.
    Oops. Still, we could dream about sitting behind the dugouts, even if we were really sitting in the cheap seats.
    So we went over to our section, underneath the famed John Hancock scoreboard, and I will never forget seeing the field live for the first time. It was glorious. Everything was so colorful. The green of the grass and the Monster. The
    brown of the dirt of the infield, the crispness of the uniforms, it is a sight to behold.
    Taking in everything, we watched as Japanese sensation Daisuke Matsuzaka took the hill in his first home start at Fenway Park. We gave him a hero's welcome, with nearly all 37,000 fans in the stadium giving Dice-K a standing ovation and a loud cheer when he came out of the dugout for pre-game warmups.
    Flashbulbs on cameras all around the park went off as Matuszaka threw each of his warmup pitches to catcher and captain Jason Varitek.
    After the normal pre-game pomp and circumstance, Yoichi Suzuki, the Consul General to Japan in Boston, threw out the first pitch, and the crowd was abuzz with the first batter Dice-K would have to face, fellow countryman Ichiro.
    Thousands of flashes shined and shutters clicked as Dice-K threw a fastball for strike one.
    For each of the pitches during the at-bat, more and more people took pictures to have a record of the Ichiro/Dice-K matchup.
    It was the start of a 4-strikeout night for Matsuzaka.
    In the midst of all the excitement, many at Fenway forgot the Sox were facing off against a good, young star in his own right. The Mariners countered with Felix Hernandez, a barely 21-year-old who dominated the Oakland Athletics in his first start of 2007, holding them to three hits in eight innings.
    I knew just by hearing the matchup that it would be a pitcher's duel, but no one in Fenway would have believed what happened.
    Dice-K gave up a run in the second, but both pitchers were handcuffing the hitters. He pitched very well, only giving up 3 runs in seven innings, but Hernandez was amazing, giving up nothing. No hits.
    Then Boston newcomer J.D. Drew led off the eighth for the Sox and hit a ball between second base and shortshop to put an end to the no-hit bid, and we stood and cheered, despite the fact the Sox were down 3-0.
    Felix was able to get past giving up the hit, retiring the next six hitters in a row to preserve the terrific performance.
    A Boston tradition also includes singing "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond between the seventh and eighth inning. There's not much funnier than a couple of guys with more than a few beers in them evoking the crowd to get out of their seats on a really cold night and sing the song. But almost all did, creating a chorus that could probably be heard in Medford.
    Cass had come to four games at Fenway before, the last one being August 2, when the Sox rallied from two down in the ninth to beat the Indians. She had never been to a game when the Sox had lost, and she called me the jinx, saying that I wouldn't be able to go to another game with her.
    Despite the loss, it's a great time and a terrific atmosphere. It's a place that sports fans should make a point to visit before they die. I'll have to cross that one off my list.
  2. I threw in the towel early. Don't care about the view outside or the drive to the game.
  3. budcrew08

    budcrew08 Active Member

    Whatever. Way to be a d-bag.
  4. Thanks. I guess only praise is desired.

    It was the best I ever read. I felt like I had never been to Fenway before, and this was like an all-new experience.
  5. huntsie

    huntsie Active Member

    I've never been to Fenway either. It's something I want to do this summer. Don't mean to be too critical, but Lum is right -- we don't need the drive in or your girlfriend Cassandra for that matter.
    If the focus is on your first trip to Fenway, describe it to me -- what it's like to walk in for the first time and see the field. I want the sight, the sounds; how neat it is to be watching history in the same place where history has been made for 90 years.
    If the focus is the ball game and Dice K and the pitching matchup with the Seattle kid, tell me more about the game.
    You need focus, and you need to stay in the same tense -- you switch two or three times throughout the piece.
  6. budcrew08

    budcrew08 Active Member

    Thanks for the CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. That's really what I want. Maybe I should have been more clear in my topic. I can take criticism when it's helpful to the writing, not just 'Oh it sucks, I stopped reading part of the way through.'

    I don't need to be patronized. If you can give me some criticism that I can use to make my writing better, that would be terrific. I'm still a newb and I want to get better, not hear how bad I suck.
    </rant over>
  7. It reads like a "what I did on my summer vacation" homework assignment. I'm not trying to be mean (or a "d-bag"...), I'm being honest.

    Few things) 1 - What's the news hook? You going to a ballgame with Cassandra isn't column material, regardless of who is pitching.

    2) - I don't care for that many Is in a column.

    3) - You're way too much of a fan-boy.

    4) - If you were going to write a first-person experience column, you should have focused it on one specific aspect of your experience. Think a micro rather than macro experience. It's tough to pull off, but some writers can.

    5) - This was for a blog, right?
  8. budcrew08

    budcrew08 Active Member

    You are definitely not a douchebag, NTAFT. Thanks for the criticism. It is well-warrented, and gives me some things to think about if I get another chance to do a column.
  9. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    Bud - you should have kept it as a first-person experience column, though, because in the end it wasn't really a historic performance because Hernandez didn't throw a no-hitter.
    Sure, it was a great pitcher's duel, but other than that it was any different from a 10-9 game.
    You shouldn't have included the game action. If it was supposed to be about your first trip to Fenway, then that is what it should have been about.
    Also, I assume this column didn't run the day after the game. If that is true, then you really shouldn't include the game information because it was already in the paper.
    I would have concentrated on the experience and if you really wanted to get something into the column about the game, maybe close the story with a line about how you saw a really good game and hopefully everyone gets to see a near no-hitter at their first game at Fenway.
  10. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    My first and only Fenway experience -- Good Friday the 13th, first Yankees appearance of the season -- was filled with events good and bad. One thing I wish I'd written is how, between BP and the pressers leaving the field, I walked to the Green Monster and licked it. I was going to describe how it tasted, but didn't.
  11. budcrew08

    budcrew08 Active Member

    Thanks for the help. I thought it would be good to put in some of the game action, but maybe I should have left that out in favor for more of the "experience" parts.
  12. Now that would be a column!
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page