Fans wait out rain for ticket opportunity
Many have gathered trying to purchase 'day-of-game' passes
BOSTON -- Once again, Red Sox fans have turned a Boston city street into a base camp, intending to scale one of sports fandom's most difficult -- and thrilling -- peaks.
They want Red Sox tickets.
Already at 5 p.m. on Friday, lawn chairs, trash bags and sleeping bags were strewn across the sidewalk of Lansdowne Street, in the shadow of Fenway Park's Green Monster. With regular-game packages long since sold out, and resold tickets going online at rates ranging in the thousands, some fans have determined that watching the Red Sox is always best after sleeping in the moist autumn chill.
Or not sleeping, as it were.
"Being recent college grads," said Lydia Parzych, sitting fifth in line and next to her twin sister, Julia, "we're used to pulling all-nighters."
Each day, the Red Sox allot a "very limited number" of day-of-game tickets, according to the team's official ticketing policy, which will be sold at Gate E. Although the policy also states that fans should not assemble prior to five hours before game time, that rule has not been enforced.
The result on Friday, the eve of the first Game 6 at Fenway Park since the 1986 ALCS, was a miniature but burgeoning community of campers. John Mallows, the second fan in line, said he was told by the line's leader, who was not present during the afternoon, that there would be 50 fans outside Gate E by 10 o'clock.
The Parzych twins arrived during the afternoon, not long after Julia got off work. Recent graduates of Wellesley College and entrants into the fields of health and biotechnology, the twins were smart enough not to tell their mother about their plans (just in case, they informed their older sister). Julia read 'The Kite Runner' as they waited. Of the nighttime forecast for thundershowers, they had no plan except to wait it out. Julia's pillow was her raincoat.
Behind them, Andrew Moyseowicz fiddled with a Rubik's Cube. The freshman at nearby Emmanuel College, who claimed to have solved the popular puzzle in 90 seconds, was on a "three- or four-per-day" average. He said he hoped to teach his three present classmates -- Bryan Quinlan, Ben Cleveland and Patrick Dillon -- how to solve it by themselves.
"We just sit around all day and mess with Rubik's Cubes," deadpanned Quinlan.
"You guys don't know how to get a good cigar around here, do you?" said Dillon.
The four friends said they planned to sleep in shifts, with two sitting sentry as the other two napped. Besides sitting, talking and playing with Rubik's Cubes, they had a football to toss around on Lansdowne.
Up the block stood Mallows. A native of Tyngsboro, Mass., Mallows arrived earlier than any of the other present fans. He sat one lawn chair behind the pacesetter, having set up camp outside Fenway at 2 a.m. on Friday morning.
Mallows came with a friend.
"We were having some fun at his house last night," Mallows said, "and we probably weren't making the best decisions. And we said, 'Let's go down there and camp out.' So he stayed the night and he left at about 11 today."
And why did his friend leave?
"He has a wife and they're expecting a baby in like two or three weeks," Mallows said. "She could go at any time."
Mallows, it turns out, saw Josh Beckett beat the Indians in Game 1 at Fenway. Every year, he receives four sets of season playoff tickets from 71-year-old retired teacher Bill Webb, "a friend of the family that's been so close we call him a cousin."
The first time Webb gave Mallows tickets, he was so frustrated by the Sox's performance through three games of the 2004 ALCS that he stayed home.
And so it was then that Mallows saw Dave Robert's famous steal of second, which resulted in a win and a historic Red Sox comeback from three games down.
"I was calling him," Mallows said. "He was at home. And he was swearing at the TV. I'm like, 'You missed the greatest game.'"
Webb went into routine surgery on Thursday, and Mallows sent his well wishes. On one day, at least, the prospect of watching his Red Sox was too enticing to forgo, even if Mallows didn't have a gift in hand from his friend.
A reporter turned to leave. Mallows gave his name, and then paused.
"We'll be here all night," he said.
Alex McPhillips is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.