That’s me making my first-ever visit to Fenway Park with my brother-in-law Stuart, a Boston native who got us tickets to see the Red Sox take on the Tampa Bay Rays last Friday night. I’m not a big baseball fan, but I’ve been to a few major league stadiums, and this was on my needs-to-be-seen list.

After working our way through the crowd of people with that accent, my first impression inside was that Fenway isn’t that big. It holds about 38,000 fans, but seems smaller, with very few bad seats other than those behind the poles that hold up the second deck.

I haven’t sat in obstructed-view seats since I was a kid and my dad took us to a football game at Yankee Stadium, which became the home of the New York Giants in the fall and winter. For baseball, we usually sat in the right field bleachers for a buck, but for that price at an NFL game — even in the 1960s — we had to sit way upstairs behind a pole. I didn’t care, I just leaned over on my brother a lot, although the field was so far away I couldn’t tell either the Giants or Cowboys players without my binoculars.

Our seats at Fenway, about 25 rows behind first base in the grandstand, must still be the original chairs from 1912, because they were not made for 21st-century humans of my height and girth. I had to squeeze in with my knees uncomfortably jammed up against the row ahead of us. After the third inning, when Stuart suggested we walk around the concourse so I could see the rest of the park, I was thrilled to stretch my legs.

Upon our return, he noticed a couple of empty seats in a field box and asked the young women sitting next to them if they were taken. They weren’t, so we sat down and I was happy to discover a few inches of extra legroom. From there, we watched the rest of the game, which was pretty exciting, including several shots by both teams off the Green Monster (even more impressive in person than on TV), a Rays player thrown out trying to steal second, and an amazing catch made on the run by Red Sox centerfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. off a ball hit by former St. Louis Cardinal Tommy Pham…

We also saw a foul ball hit a kid in his face about 5 seats to our left. When it left the hitter’s bat and screamed in our direction, there wasn’t much time to react. The boy put up his glove to try to catch it, but the ball glanced off and hit his chin. Fortunately, three quick-reacting members of Fenway staff were there in about two seconds, and took the kid and his parents inside to have him checked out.  The family came back about one inning later and the kid seemed fine, if a little stunned by both the pain and the missed opportunity to catch a foul ball. Just then, a man who had picked up the ball as it rolled around a few rows back stepped up and handed it to the boy as the crowd nearby applauded.

The whole incident should never have happened in the first place. When Major League Baseball ordered all of its franchises to extend the netting past the dugouts this season to protect fans in those seats from line drive fouls, they didn’t add any above their heads (a la behind home plate). Yes, doing so would cut down on the number of foul ball souvenirs, but if MLB really wants to protect the fans in those boxes, it should do it right.

Kudos to the Fenway public address team which, during breaks in the action all night, played songs by Aretha Franklin, who had died earlier that day (even the stadium organist joined in with a version of “A Natural Woman”). The non-Aretha exceptions came during the seventh-inning stretch for “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” and in the middle of the eighth when the whole crowd leapt to its feet for the traditional-in-Boston singing of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.” Wow, they really get into it, helped no doubt by generous consumption of hometown beer from Sam Adams, and the fact that the Red Sox were leading the Rays 7-3 at that point.

When it was over, we walked back to The T (Boston’s subway/light-rail system) for the ride back to Stuart’s house in the suburbs. The train was standing-room-only, but easy to access and — at $2.25 each —  a good alternative to paying $50 to park near Fenway and then sitting in a traffic jam after the game.

I have no intention of visiting any other baseball stadiums, but I’m glad I got to take in Fenway for a night.