By: Carson Field
Noah Bridges stepped onto the grass at Fenway Park, and everything was new to him. Immediately, his head spun around.
As he gazed upon his century-old surroundings, Bridges couldn’t believe he stood where some of baseball’s all-time greats had.
“This can’t be real,” Bridges said. “I remember I was warming up and was looking up and I thought I was dreaming.”
Thursday’s workouts at Fenway Park marked Bridges’ first visit to the Red Sox’ home ballpark. As a Wilmington, North Carolina, native, Bridges had only been to a few major-league stadiums prior to Thursday.
Playing in front of the Green Monster is something he’d dreamed of since adolescence.
“If I could go back in time and tell myself when I was 12 that I’d be out here right now, I wouldn’t believe it,” Bridges said. “It’s an unbelievable blessing. I’m trying to take in every second of it.”
Though playing the child’s game at Fenway is a dream come true for anybody involved with baseball, Bridges isn’t a blue-blood Red Sox fan. Imagine what Thursday must have meant for Peter Burns or Cody Morissette. They’ve been cheering for the Sox for as long as they can remember.
Both from Boston College, Burns and Morissette actually played at Fenway, when Boston College played the Beanpot against Northeastern in April. That game, the Eagles won 5-3 and Morissette drove in three of their runs.
Even with April’s game, every trip to Fenway is memorable for Morissette.
“Every time I walk in here and look up, I feel like a little kid,” Morissette said. “There’s just nothing like it.”
Growing up just 52 miles from Fenway in Exeter, New Hampshire, Morissette attended his fair share of Sox games as a child. One of those provided a lifelong memory that only enhanced his affection for the team.
“One of my favorite memories is coming here and catching my first foul ba ll with my dad. We were sitting by the ‘Pesky pole,’ Morissette said. “That was a pretty cool memory.”
For Burns, he has trouble pinpointing one memorable moment from his life-time love for the Red Sox. But, if he had to choose, Burns’ most vivid memory of his fandom occured at a game he didn’t even attend.
“My favorite memory is when David Ortiz hit that home run into the bullpen and the police officer in right field put his hands up,” Burns said. “I remember that moment like it was yesterday.”
Throughout the Red Sox’ existence, some of the sport’s most prolific stars have played in Boston. From Carl Yastrzemski to Carlton Fisk, the organization’s rich history is undeniable.
But this doesn’t just apply to players in the “Golden Age of baseball.” Even in the last decade, many of baseball’s biggest stars have played under the lights at Fenway Park. One of those, second baseman Dustin Pedroia, was Morissette’s main inspirations in his pursuit of baseball.
Playing in the same base path as Pedroia was a dream come true for Morissette.
“Just being able to play second base where Pedroia used to, there’s nothing like that,” Morissette said.
In contrast to Doran Park, which holds a couple thousand people, Fenway seats 37,731 and is home to some of the most iconic views in baseball. For Bridges, working out in the mecca of baseball only increased his drive to play in the big leagues.
“It definitely kick starts the dream again when you’re here,” Bridges said. “You feel closer to getting it, and it’s unreal.”
Through only 11 games, Bourne has plenty of time to turn this motivation into wins. But not everybody has that chance.
On June 25, the Braves released infielder AJ Curtis, who batted .235 in 10 games. Before he flew home on Friday, the Fenway trip marked his last event with the Braves.
While Curtis’ season has come to an end, experiencing baseball’s most historic park for the first time capped off a memorable few weeks on the Cape.
“Living all the way in California, I never really had the opportunity to see a field of this much history,” Curtis said. “It’s really cool to be here and soak it all in before I leave.”