Boston Red Sox : Opening Day Advice For the Fortunate Few

Jim ChandleyContributor IMarch 24, 2009

FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 08:  Hall of Famer Johnny Pesky of the Boston Red Sox signs autographs just prior to the start of the Grapefruit League Spring Training Game against the Tampa Bay Rays at City of Palms Park on March 8, 2009 in Fort Myers, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

For you young'ns who may not know, that's Johnny Pesky:

So you’re a college freshman in Boston and a bunch of your friends are going to opening day at Fenway Park.  Those tickets cost around $250-$500 on the street. Where do your friends get that kind of money?  There’s no way you can afford a scalped ticket, and the game’s been sold out since the middle of January.

Except your friends aren’t talking about buying from a scalper.  Instead, they want to take a little camping trip, and you want to go with them.  You’re going to spend at least one night on Lansdowne Street.  How are you going to survive? How will you avoid getting arrested?

First off, you will need to make sure that you have everything. 

Depending on your level of comfort in the cold, you will have to pack a lot of clothing.  Nights on Lansdowne are not warm. Blankets are also a plus.

You’ll need money.  Tickets are going to range anywhere from $20 to $75.  (You will almost always have the option for the $20 tickets, but if you are offered tickets in the $50-$75 range, you may wish you had the extra money).  Tickets aren’t the only expense; you are going to want money for something (whether it’s snacks, coffee, or the new Sox T-shirt that you can’t pass up).

Those are the only two necessities, but there are other things you will want.

A tent makes life much easier. 

It keeps the temperature about 10 degrees warmer.  Also, it keeps you dry, that’s huge.  You're thinking, it's April, it won't be that cold.  Well, if beer can freeze out there, (which it does) then so can you.

Alcohol is another optional item that you will probably want.  Many folks tend to drink quite a lot while in line for the night.  Whether you are a big drinker or not, a couple of drinks are a good idea, as they will make you feel warmer.

You may want to pack food.  There are plenty of stores that you can walk to and get back in line quickly.  Local sausage vendors will set up shop right in front of you early on game day morning.  Expenses can pile up if you buy hot sausages or snacks from 7/11 for 24 hours.

Bringing a change of clothes is the smartest thing you can possibly do.  With a friend to hold up a blanket, you can change right there on the street.  You can also change in the tent you brought because you’re no dummy.  But how ever you do it, you will want to change before you go in.

Having all of these items makes life easier, but it will all go to waste without plans.

There are a few essential steps in planning the night before and (most importantly) the hours before the game the next morning.

On the ever of opening, you should be at the ballpark no later than midnight. 

“Midnight is so late,” you say. “When will I sleep?”  You won’t.  It just isn’t going to happen this particular night.  So midnight is a good time to set up camp. 

People go as early as one week before game day, but not in large numbers.  Arriving at midnight will basically guarantee you tickets the next day.

From midnight to about 9 a.m., there is nothing in your plans.  You can eat, drink, and be merry as they say.  Around 9 a.m., your group should be awake and excited.  In the next hour, everyone should change, take turns running to the bathroom, Dunkin Donuts, etc. 

By 10 a.m., and this is perhaps the most important part, someone (possibly two people if you have a lot of equipment) has to leave.  This person won’t lose their spot in line, so don’t panic.  With all of this camping gear, food, and backpacks, none of it being allowed into the park, someone has to bring it home.

This is why this camping trip is really only open to college students and young professionals.  It requires a residence within a half-hour of the ballpark.  The person(s) in question has to hustle home, put everything away, and get back to the stadium by 11 a.m..

Why 11 a.m.?  I haven’t lost my spot yet?

No, but at 11 a.m. you meet Mike.  Mike is a Red Sox employee who hands out vouchers.  The voucher is about twice the size of a ticket, but it doesn’t get you into anything except the ticket window.  Your voucher has a number that will tell you what number you are in line.  It will also tell you what you can’t bring into the park.

If you aren’t here at 11 a.m., Mike doesn’t give you a voucher.  No exceptions.

From this point on, it would be hard to mess it up.  Don’t get too drunk, don’t get sick, and don’t get arrested for a drunken-disorderly.  Get that right, and you’ve got tickets.