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An Interview With Fenway Park Expert Brian Merzbach

Monday, April.16 /2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- “Brian Merzbach and I often don’t see eye to eye on a plethora of baseball issues and opinions.  What I will say from this Yankees fan to a Red Sox fan, I respect Brian as a human being and as a member of the ballpark chaser community.  Plus even though we have different opinions, we are both forthright in our own views and never waver from these ideals.  As frustrating as the truth can be it is nice to have someone as completely honest as Brian as part of a baseball network. To fulfill the expert interview for Fenway Park we needed this diehard fan to legitimize the whole series.  So all being nice aside, I recently had a chat with Brian about Fenway Park.  Here is what we discussed:”

CB: Welcome to the MLB Reports Fenway Park  Expert Interview Brian. Please tell us about yourself and then give us some information on your life as a Red Sox fan?”

BM: “I grew up in Amherst, MA, which is located in western Massachusetts, about 2 hours from Boston.  Most of my family were Red Sox fans, so naturally I picked up on that from an early age.  I don’t remember a day when I wasn’t a Red Sox fan, so I guess I was just born with Red Sox genes.  Because we didn’t live closer to Boston, we usually only went to one game a year at Fenway.”

BM: “Unfortunately, I am old enough to remember the nightmare of the 1986 World Series.  But being just 12 years old at the time, I expected the Red Sox would make the Series again soon.  Little did I know they wouldn’t make it back for another 18 years !  Obviously winning the 2004 World Series will be something I’ll never forget.” Read the rest of this entry

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An Interview With Ball Park In Arlington Expert Clint Booth

Sunday April.08/2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- My brother Clint picked the greatest time to live in Dallas, Texas for half  of a year in 2010.  He moved to the Lonestar State to witness the Rangers make it all the way to the World Series that year.  I was jealous of him for every minute he spent at The Ball Park in Arlington.  I had a chance to talk with him recently about that stretch of games that he was in attendance a lot for.  Also, I picked his brain to help my own when I wrote my baseball book last year.

DB: “Clint, I have made it a point to say that parking at The Ball Park In Arlington is the fairest system of all if you want to walk a little extra, however that might not work for some people, what are your thoughts on parking there?

CB: I don’t think most people want to walk in the 100 degree weather so parking close to the park is”EXPENSIVE! Show up early for a decent spot and pay the extra $$ to get in early -it’s not that you are “close” to the ball park, it is GETTING OUT AFTER -best to park close to the stadium and then make your way back to I 30. If you go too far into Arlington it will take you up to an hour to crawl out after the game. Some guys I know parked across I 30 and walked in-long walk both ways. Best bet: CAR SERVICE. For $75-100 each way from Downtown Dallas and back you can ride in a luxury vehicle, save the $25-40 on parking, and drink at the game without having to worry about driving home and you’ll be dropped off right in front of the ball park.  During the ALCS Championship I would drive into Arlington and get as close as I could to the ball park. Good luck finding a spot but bless the Americans as they OWN their land so a guy let me park on his lawn for $20 while everywhere else was $75-100.

Clint Booth &
Ken Booth @
Busch Stadium

DB: “Where did you like to sit a the park?”

CB: “Best Seats: LEXUS CLUB -only level in the park where they serve hard alcohol… have a margarita there -AMAZING The Lexus Club also has the best vantage point in park for the game.  The design of the stadium allows for every seat to be a great seat.  Also, sit on the 1st base side as it gets bloody hot in Texas so stay out of the sun.

The Booth Boys

DB:  “What about the food?”

CB: The best singular food is THE NACHOS (FULLY LOADED) in the main concourse -Texans don’t mess around when it come to TEX MEX! These are UNREAL. There are seats available in an American Classic “All you can EAT SEATS”… I never sat there but I hear it is a great deal…You can bring your own food into this park. I once sat beside a guy who used a beverage cooler to keep his 12 hot dogs warm…he killed all 12! I was pretty jealous. I took a picture of him when he was on #9.

DB:  “What would you describe the park ambiance as?”

CB:  It is a FAMILY PARK first and foremost-don’t call a guy a bad name (referring about a cat) for trying to bunt for a base hit. I had to learn that lesson the hard way. At Yankee Stadium ALL of the fans would have cheered me.  Every time a Ranger Pitcher gets a Strike Out the Chic Fil A Cow has a picture that says “EAT MORE CHICKEN” and the “K” lights up. Funny.

DB:  “In our conversations that year, you often referred to the ANTLERS/CLAWS phenomenon, can you explain this for people who may not know this?”

CB: “THE CLAW: if a player hits for POWER and reaches second or puts one-off the wall once they reach base they will lift an arm with an open hand over their head in a Monster “CLAW” motion and the players started this first and then the fans caught… One game I saw Kinsler reach first on what was supposed to be a Sac Bunt and Vlad made the kid do both the CLAW and the ANTLERS (see next). THE ANTLERS: Same deal as the CLAW but it is done when a player shows SPEED. Vlad Guerrero has long been my favorite player and I can tell you from experience that HE thinks he has ANTLERS. I told my fiance that “…I hope we get to see Vlad try to stretch out a double today…” well, we did, but it was better, he went for third and got gunned out by 6 feet. He then got up and threw his helmet in classic Vlad fashion. I was jumped out of my seat cheering and laughing sporting my Vlad Guerrero Jersey.  Nobody “got” why I was so excited but I knew…

DB:  What about nostalgia at the park, how do they treat the historical players of their team?

CB: “Awesome “old school” design of the park. The Front Offices sit over Center Field.Nolan Ryan goes to every game and sits behind home plate. The guy is a stud. Often you will see his good buddy George W. Bush sitting beside him. Texans love GW almost as much as Nolan Ryan.  They also have big banners for any player that had significant value to the team at any point in Franchise History

DB:  What can you expect for the total fan experience?”

CB: Well, you are in Texas so be prepared for it to get REALLY loud when the team is scoring or something happens like a strike ***smirk*** -Texans LOVE their teams. Great fans. All of the real estate behind Center Field is dedicated to kids… there is some really cool stuff for your little guys to do like batting cages and games so bring them with you. During the 7th inning stretch the sing “America The Beautiful” and “Deep in the Heart of Texas”. As with the National Anthem EVERYONE sings so you are best to learn the words if you don’t know them.

During the ALCS vs the Yanks in 2010 Vlads Mom cooked a goat stew for the Carribean players on the Rangers… They shared it with the Carribean players on the Yanks. Says a lot about that team’s culture , so this is a testament to Ronnie Washington…The”Kinsler/Vlad story was hilarious! They showed it on ESPN later. Also, the whole team has to “make” Michael Young do the “CLAW” because the guy is so humble.

***Thank you to our Ball Park In Arlington expert- Clint Booth for participating in today’s article.  Plus thank you for being my brother, who with my other 2 brothers and family, have always had my back on these journeys, both emotionally and financially!***

                                                                               Clint Booth with his fiancée Dana Patraschuck in 2010

 ***Thank you to our Baseball Writer- Douglas “Chuck” Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports.  To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Chuck Booth, you can follow Chuck on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and you can also follow Chuck’s website for his Guinness Book of World Record Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 days click here  or on the 30 MLB Parks in 23 days GWR tracker at the Reports click here. To Purchase or read about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book, ” please click here ***

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