Matt Cain had a pretty good night on the other side, too. 9 innings, two hits, only got pulled for a pinch hitter.
-Fenway Park turns 100 today. I know it gets a lot of hype, and I know that the national baseball narrative has made the Red Sox and their fans out to be some kind of villain, but trust me when I say Fenway is the genuine article. It looks awesome on TV, yet TV doesn't really do it justice. None of the recent additions (right field roof deck, bleachers on the left field roof, seats on the Green Monster, a new JumboTron in center field, and a re-structuring of the luxury boxes behind home plate) feel tacked-on, and for the most part it's hard to remember the place without it. (Seriously. Ten years ago there were no seats on top of the Green Monster.
There was only a screen in place to keep balls from sailing out into the nightclubs across the street. Only ten years. Seems like they've been there forever though, right? By the way, I had Monster seats for a game last year. Unbelievable
how awesome those seats are.)
Some facts about Fenway:
-Not only has the new ownership renovated Fenway Park to an extreme degree, they've renovated the neighborhood around it. Back when I went to my first game there, the neighborhood around it was full of bars that didn't open until 5:00, a Tower Records, a bowling alley under the park (no longer there, but it was for a long time) that didn't open until 5:00, and that was about it. Now there are restaurants (including a Jillian's and a House of Blues), about a dozen official team stores, a movie theater, a Popeye's (where the "chicken" in "chicken and beer in the clubhouse" came from), and a couple of high-end hotels in Kenmore Square. Again, all of this is less than ten years old.
-Why is all of that "ten years ago" stuff so important? Because back then, before New England Sports Ventures bought the team, there was serious talk of replacing Fenway with a "replica" in Southie, near the waterfront. I don't see any way this would have ended well. A) the area where they wanted to build happened to be occupied by a couple of parking lots. These are the same parking lots that Frank McCourt used as leverage to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers. No shit. That is how rare parking in Boston is--two parking lots attached to, at the time, not much at all were valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
B) That area is also now the home of the Boston Convention Center, and seems to be the new area of interest for developers. I don't know where the Hell we would have put the convention center if there had been a baseball stadium in the way. C) Speaking of, I just attended PAX East a couple of weekends back, and the traffic coming in was ridiculous. See, as it turns out, this patch of land is also right in the middle of what was once the Big Dig, and what is now a traffic nightmare. Things would have been a bit crazy if some 40,000 people were trying to get to the waterfront, eighty one nights out of the year at bare minimum. So yeah...
-Total attendance: 139,632,062 (coming into the season). No word on how many italian sausage sandwiches have been consumed in the park's history, but I'd bet on it being somewhere around that total. That's right: the signature food at Fenway Park is not the Fenway Frank, nor is it Legal Sea Foods' clam chowder (no that's not a joke, yes we really have that, yes even on hot days), and it isn't Dunkin' Donuts iced coffee. Italian sausage vendors are all over the place, and that's what the locals get when we come in.
-One JumboTron in center field, one electronic scoreboard in left-center, and that's it. That's all the "stuff outside of baseball" that the inside of Fenway Park has to offer. Miami can have its fish tanks, Arizona can have its pool, Pittsburgh and San Francisco can have their waterside ballparks, and Milwaukee can have its mascot slide. All we ever seem to need is baseball. It is the opposite of the modern sporting venue. (I imagine there are some people thinking about what a huge baseball nerd I must be at this point. Look, I'm sure the new places are awesome in their way. I'm sure Cowboys Stadium gives what it promises, but I imagine I would feel like an idiot any time I caught myself watching that gigantic screen while a live sporting event unfolds beneath it. I just prefer the Fenway experience, where it's you, whoever you came in with, and the game, and that's it.)
-I dare you: check out Fenway Park on Google Maps, and figure out where you would put your car if you were going to the game. Go ahead. Give it a shot. (Note: you cannot park on any of the streets that touch Fenway.) Good luck.
Spoiler: (click to reveal/hide)
The real answers: 1) "Don't." 2) "a little way up Beacon Street toward Brookline." (That's twenty bucks.) 3) "HOLY LIVING SHIT, HOW DO PEOPLE GET TO THIS PLACE?!" 4) "Make friends with somebody who lives around the park and has a spot of their own." (Ah, the joys of being a local.)
Hirschof wrote:I'm waiting for day you people start thinking with portals.