Beating The Obstructed View At Fenway

Anyone who has sat in the Grandstand seats at Fenway Park in Boston can tell you that it's one of the best places to see a ballgame. It can also be one of the best places to not see a ballgame.

Fenway was built in the early 1900s, when baseball owners tended to not give much of a whit about fan comfort or views. The goal then was to pack as many butts into the place as possible (as opposed to today, when the goal is to get the most cash out of each butt), and Fenway was clearly designed with this sort of expediency in mind. Most computer monitors these days are wider than Fenway's Grandstand seats.

At any rate, the construction of Fenway Park (as with Wrigley, although the problem isn't as pronounced there) included support poles to hold up the upper deck that are about a foot and a half wide. The placement of these poles is such that most every Grandstand seat is going to miss some portion of the field, so the Boston Red Sox have a rather high standard when it comes to actually informing the consumer that their view is obstructed before stamping an "OV" on the ticket. Obstructed view seats were discounted once but no longer are (as of this writing anyway).

So if you are informed that your ticket is obstructed view, know that either you will be sitting directly behind a large support pole (and I mean directly behind it, really) or at least two key parts of the field are going to be blocked from view by those confounded pillars. In other words, your view of the pitcher's mound could be blocked and it would not count as obstructed. So if the Red Sox say the view is obstructed, believe it.

Even with this knowledge, it doesn't help that most Grandstand seats bear no such warning, and you will want to know before you buy a ticket how bad it is.

Fortunately, we live in a world where people solve problems and give the solutions away free on the Internet.

The "Precise Seating" ( website is operated by some seriously dedicated and unselfish fellow baseball fans. They have clearly spent countless hours figuring this entire joint out. The purpose of Precise Seating is to provide vital information about as many seats in Fenway Park as possible--currently their number is up to 36,000.

While you are ordering tickets from the Sox's website or through another source like Ace Tickets (several are linked to the site), you can pull up Precise Seating, enter the section, row and seat number of your potential ticket and Precise Seating will provide for you:

- The exact location of the seat
- The portion of the field that will be obstructed from your view
- What percentage of the field you will be missing
- Whether there is a "walkway advisory" warning of people traffic in front of the seat
- Whether it is sheltered from the rain
- How many feet from home plate the seat is
- A 3D view of the field from the seat
- A general rating of the seat on a 1-10 scale

And it works, too. I put in Grandstand Section 18, Row 5, and Seat 6. Precise Seating gave this seat a 6 rating. It informed me that the pitcher's mound and 15% of the field is obstructed, that I can see all of the bases, that I'm sheltered from the rain, and that I will be 149 feet from home plate. Knowing that I wouldn't be able to see pitcher's mound, I would probably opt for another seat if I could. Without Precise Seating, I probably would have jumped at this seat.

Many people complain about obstructed views at Fenway and rightly so. Precise Seating gives you an opportunity to avoid them. With this available at no cost to you the consumer, there isn't any reason not to use it anytime you are ordering tickets to see a game at Fenway Park.

The Internet is some great place.

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Comment by Kurt Smith on February 20, 2012 at 8:13am

Absolutely Bill, and they keep improving it. Thanks for commenting.

Comment by Bill Pritchard (29) on February 19, 2012 at 8:27pm
Before I scrolled down far enough, I was actually going to mention the link you used. It is a great tool to use and they provide actual and computer generated photos of almost every seat.
Comment by Kurt Smith on April 10, 2010 at 4:48am
I actually agree with you Scott. I've been there twice and wasn't real crazy about the seating arrangements. I'm a big guy so I need leg room. Although, if they did replace Fenway I can't imagine how expensive tickets would be.
Comment by Scott Bell (30/42) on April 8, 2010 at 6:45pm
From the mouth of a life long Red Sox fan.


(Just don't mess with the "Cask and Flagon")
Comment by Kurt Smith on April 7, 2010 at 3:15pm
All true Chuck. I went to Fenway twice and the second time I bought a single seat the day before and the pole was in front of the seat next to me. I couldn't see much of right field but truthfully it wasn't all that bad. But the poor girl next to me paid $26 for her seat...and this was in 2001 when they were still discounted so I'm sure it would be much more now. If I went to Fenway again I would look for something other than a Grandstand seat, but it's nice that this site is out there to help.
Comment by Chuck Booth (35) ALL 30/23 DAYS! on April 7, 2010 at 2:20pm
Yeah, good points Kurt, the granstand tickets that are the worst are the back rows of the GRANSTAND, anywhere behind home plate---or along the 1st or 3rd base sides. Hundreds of people will watch the game standing behind these seats and you will have a bad experience watching the game. Too many people walking and too many vendors. However this is a good place to stand during those games if you do receive a ticket that is obstructed by 'said' poles.
Comment by Kurt Smith on April 6, 2010 at 3:06pm
You bet Hansel. It's a fantastic site and I will use it myself if I go to Fenway.
Comment by Hansel Rodriguez on April 6, 2010 at 9:20am
I am going to Fenway for the first time this year, thanks for higlighting, it's a good tool to have available.


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