So, Youk is history. Tito’s bitter. The Red Sox limped through spring. And still: Fenway Park retains its summer magic, drawing generations of New England families for nine innings of baseball, food, drink, and revelry, and not always in that order. The experience of visiting Fenway, celebrating its 100th birthday, has improved as the team has doubled down on its historic, if cramped, stadium. (It’s also become more expensive, of course.) Since 2003, when the Sox began closing Yawkey Way before each home game, the west side of Fenway has resembled a street party, with music, steaming sausages, souvenirs, juggling, and more. On a recent game night, a brass band blares. Cops direct visitors in multiple languages. Vendors make their pitches: “Who’s hungry, guys?” “Come on over, ladies, get a soda!” “I got no lines!” Turnstiles crank. The gate agents’ devices beep as they scan tickets. Excitement builds for the first pitch — each game, after all, is special if you hold a ticket. “The Star-Spangled Banner” rings out from inside the stadium, followed by an expectant cheer and the exuberant command: “Play ball!”
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