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Fenway Park: A fall classic all its own

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BOSTON (AP) - Brian Campbell's father was a young man back in 1946, when he slept outside Fenway Park to score tickets to see the Red Sox take on the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.

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On Thursday, it was Campbell's turn. Before Game 2 got underway the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., man stood outside Fenway with his 18-year-old son, Ian, as the crowd began to gather and the smell of hotdogs filled the chilly October air.

''It runs in the blood,'' Campbell said about Fenway. ''It's historic. It's right in the city. The fans here understand the game. If the south Florida teams win, they have fans. But as bad as the Red Sox may be, these fans will be here.''

At 101 years old, Fenway is the oldest ballpark in the major leagues. It's home to the Green Monster and Pesky's Pole and it sells more than 1.3 million hotdogs a year. Ten World Series have been played here. Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski and countless others have played in the misshapen field. And generations have come to watch.

The Red Sox considered moving to newer and bigger facilities over the years but in 2005 announced a commitment to stay at Fenway. The park was listed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 2012. While the facilities are modern, thanks to $285 million in renovations since 2002, the baseball is old school.

''When you're sitting in there and 35,000 people are stomping their feet, there's nothing else like it,'' said Guy Page of Barre, Vt.

Page didn't have tickets, but came to Fenway anyway Thursday to soak in the vibe. He has been a Sox fan since the 1960s.

''The closest thing we have in New England to a common religion is the Boston Red Sox. Fenway is the shrine,'' Page said.

And those who come to worship can be sensitive to portents and omens. Carol Schoenauer was in the park for Game 1 of the 2004 World Series wearing a red turtleneck and a gray Red Sox sweatshirt. Boston ended up winning that fall classic - its first World Series win in 86 years. She figured she'd wear the same outfit Wednesday. Perhaps it worked: the Sox beat the Cards 8-1.

''I'm not superstitious,'' she said. ''But hey. It's the World Series. Why not?''

The World Series moves to St. Louis this weekend, though the action may return to Fenway next week in the event of a game six.

By that point, Blair Sirup, 57, and his son Brendon, 23, will be back home in Regina, Saskatchewan, after they travelled to Boston for Game 1 and Game 2. The two Red Sox fans had hoped to make it to their first Fenway game last year, but the timing didn't work.

Blair's wife died in July following heart surgery, and a father-son trip to Fenway couldn't be put off any longer.

''We said we'd come here to honor her. And so we came,'' Blair Sirup said. Then he looked at his son. ''I wouldn't want to be here with anyone else.''

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
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