Saturday, January 31, 2009

Column: A twit tweets and tries for tix

I have a son who’s a Red Sox fan. Actually, “fan” is probably not a strong enough word for Timmy’s feelings about the Red Sox, who have completely supplanted Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi even though none of them could last 10 minutes against Darth Vader. (Well, except maybe Youkilis, who might be able to fight him off with his massive head.)

This puts me in an interesting position. As a native New Yorker, it goes against my grain to actively support the Red Sox, and yet as the father of a Sox-obsessed 7-year-old I find myself compelled to hock something valuable and try to get tickets to at least one game every year. Knowing this, the Red Sox make the process as humiliating as possible, just to rub it in.

If you haven’t tried to buy Red Sox tickets lately, the process involves logging on to their Web site on a particular day and being shuffled into a “virtual waiting room.” After that, one computer sitting in a janitor’s closet at Fenway Park (I think it may be a Commodore 64) gives you a chance to buy tickets at some random moment during the next 24 hours, most likely when you’re in the bathroom or have fallen asleep at the keyboard.

In the meantime, the site tortures you with a little 30-second screen-refresh ticker that clicks down to zero, only to restart back at the beginning, over and over and over again. It’s a nice touch, probably devised by the same people who invented the little bomb symbol that used to pop up when your Mac crashed.

So to keep from going insane this past Saturday, I shared my waiting room experience in real time on, the “micro-blogging” tool that limits you to 140-character bursts of wisdom. It’s kind of like a telegram, if telegrams had funny little avatars next to them and were sent exclusively by unrepentant narcissists.

And so, following are my “tweets” (as they’re called) from my time in the waiting room, along with those of some fellow Twitterers (as they’re also called) who chimed in during my quest. (Note: Some tweets have been embellished to protect the innocent.)

· Preparing to spend the day in the endless Red Sox “virtual waiting room.” It’s like a Sartre play.

· The waiting room is nice, but all the framed pictures of Johnny Pesky are creeping me out. His eyes follow you wherever you go.

· I was going to leave the virtual waiting room up in the corner of my screen and try to work, but the digital readout is too mesmerizing.

· 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... It’s like the bomb at the end of “Goldfinger.”

· [from @KimRossi] I’ve got 30 windows open.

· [to @KimRossi] Does the “opening more windows” method really work? I’m afraid my computer will explode.

· [from @KimRossi] It’s definitely worked for me in the past. Though I feel like I’m going to induce a seizure trying to scan all these windows.

· Is it ignoring me on purpose? I think it knows I grew up in NY. And I get this weird feeling that John Henry is watching me and laughing.

· They need some new virtual magazines in the virtual waiting room. I mean, “Highlights” from 1978? How much Goofus and Gallant do we need?

· Can feel the Red Sox tix slipping away through my fingers. Damn you, virtual waiting room! Must you mock me so??

· [from @KimRossi] I’m telling you: more windows is the key.

· OK, got seven Red Sox virtual waiting room screens open now. Am sitting here mainlining “5” brand Flare gum. Beads of sweat on forehead.

· [from @BillBrenner70] You really need to get a life. ;-)

· [to @BillBrenner70] No, I need to get Red Sox tickets! Haven’t you been paying attention?

· Success! After 3 hours, got four in August in G13. Thank you, Red Sox virtual waiting room, for smiling upon me in all of your munificence!

· [from @haverhill01835] Geesh man — it’s just the Red Sox — get a wide screen TV! The seats and food are better watching at home.

Come to think of it, I guess @haverhill01835 has a point … But he’s not the one who’d have to explain it to Timmy. Try doing that in 140 characters.

Peter Chianca is a managing editor for GateHouse Media New England. Read his column each week in North Shore Sunday and follow him on Twitter at To receive At Large by e-mail, write to, with the subject line “SUBSCRIBE.”

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