Fenway Park: pictures of a quality experience

As most of you know, Actio is headquartered in New Hampshire.  This means, specifically, that Actio is headquartered in Red Sox Nation.
Photo taken at Fenway Park, July 16, 2012
So when Actio related folks go to Boston, a pilgrimage to baseball's Fenway Park is usually involved.
Fenway Park from behind: seldom seen Van Ness & Ipswich angle
This year, 2012, Fenway Park turns 100 years old.  And if you approach from behind you can see that it's true:  it's 100 years old.  It's not pretty.

It's way better than pretty.

For perspective, see the bricks next to my friend Cate's right shoulder below, near Fenway's Gate A:
Who else has bumped a shoulder against those bricks in 100 years?
Emotional texture:  My Grandpa Hurley spent many afternoons at Fenway Park in his life, having graduated from (Harvard Medical) school in 1912. That's the year Fenway opened. He attended baseball games that very summer.  When his descendants go now to the Park, it's easy to imagine this never-met ancestor bumping a shoulder up against the same exterior bricks, jostled by an eager crowd on a Sunday afternoon in July.  Just like Cate, above (and like me, moments after her).  Except 100 years different.  

Connection:  It's a continuity thing.  For a lot of us, the bricks of Fenway are a shared experience with relatives, friends, strangers and even ancestors we never got to meet.

Ghosts:  Perhaps Grandpa Hurley sat behind home plate in the summer of 1912, like I did recently.  
View of Fenway and Green Monster from behind home plate
Grandpa Hurley wouldn't have seen the Green Monster until it was erected (in 1936). And he would've missed the excitement of Kevin Youkilis — coming to bat 100 years after the inaugural season   but batting for the wrong team (Chicago White Sox).  

Here is Youkilis on deck, with the Monster behind him, moments before the stadium erupted in a crazy cheer to welcome back the fan favorite:
Kevin Youkilis on deck in his first return to Fenway as a non-Red Sox player
Loyalty:  The blasphemy of Youkilis in a uniform other than a Red Sox uniform occurred due to a sudden and shocking player trade. The trade shook Red Sox Nation. On this night, above, the crowd applauded every hit and run scored by Youkilis, disregarding his uniform.  That's loyalty.  And there were many opportunities to cheer, to put it one way.  

The Youkilis trade had one upside: it seems there's been a reduction in ticket prices behind home plate and along the first base line — those I-was-here-first seats to which earlier Hurleys had grown accustomed but which later generations can only point to and tell stories about.

Stories:  It's said that Grandpa Hurley, like his son and his son's wife, preferred to sit along the first base line, over the home team dugout in the 1912 season and beyond. Half a century or so later, when Baby Kathleen (me) was in utero, abundant time was spent in those very seats.  Baby Kathleen still nurses on Fenway Franks to this day.  (Just in different seats.)

Fenway Park: quality
Nevertheless, when you go to Fenway Park you don't get the cleanest, shiniest, newest baseball park in America. So in a sense, some say, there's a lack of quality in Fenway as a product and as an experience.  But quality has unquantifiable aspects.
The first baseline and Red Sox dugout, at Fenway Park, July 16, 2012
What you really experience at Fenway is:  ghosts, stories, emotional texture, connection, veneration over time, loyalty, a brick house of memories and a field of dreams.  

When we talk about the ingredients of a quality consumer experience, we would do well to include such things in our talk and in our approach.  Thanks for thinking about it.

Kathleen Hurley