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Fenway Park: Home of the Boston Red Sox and Baseball History
What is Fenway Park?
Fenway Park is a shrine. People go there to worship. – Bill “Spaceman” Lee, former left-handed pitcher with the Boston Red Sox
Opening on April 20, 1912, Fenway Park is the oldest Major League baseball stadium in the world. The stadium is the home of the Boston Red Sox and the team’s fans, “The Red Sox Nation.”
If you are a baseball fan, you must attend a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park at least once in your lifetime. It is mandatory or your fan card will be revoked. The game is truly an experience and the stadium is quite simply the Mecca of the sport.
Over the years since its construction, Fenway Park has survived many plans for a new stadium or restructuring that could tarnish the building’s tradition. It as much a part of Boston as baked beans.
In 2005, the plans for a New Fenway Park were put to rest in order preserve the rich history of the facility. Some minor modern enhancements were made instead, leaving it and Wrigley Field in Chicago as the only two remaining initial MLB stadiums.
Every inch of Fenway Park is filled with baseball history and the architecture is unlike any baseball stadium you have ever seen.
Ted Williams Statue
4 Yawkey Way
Perhaps the most famous address in all of baseball, 4 Yawkey Way is the street just outside of the stadium named after former team owner, Tom Yawkey.
Unlike most baseball stadiums that require you to present your ticket at the building entrance, Fenway Park asks you to do so before walking onto the street.
Once you enter, the Fenway experience begins. 4 Yawkey Way is lined with beer and hot dog vendors, along with Boston Red Sox memorabilia, a statue of Ted Williams and many colorful team banners.
Irish bands and rock bands play Drop Kick Murphy songs out on the street and you begin to hear the cheers of “Go Sawx! Go!”
Whoa! What a Wall!
Fenway Park Stats:
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Opened: April 20, 1912
Left Field: 310 ft.
Center Field: 420 ft.
Right Field: 302 ft.
Fenway Park Swag:
The Green Monster
The first thing you will notice when entering the field area of Fenway Park is the left field wall. Appropriately nicknamed “The Green Monster,” the enormous green wall measures 37 feet, 2 inches tall, making it the tallest outfield wall in all of Major League baseball and a landmark of the sport.
There is a ladder that leads up the wall and is the only ladder in Major League baseball in the field of play. The ladder was originally needed to retrieve home runs and batting practice balls that were caught in the netting above.
In 2003, seating was added on top of The Green Monster, and the netting and ladder were no longer needed. However, the ladder still remains today.
At the base of The Green Monster, is a manual scoreboard updated throughout the course of the day and Red Sox games. The scoreboard offers all the MLB scores of that day’s games throughout the league and is one of the few left of its kind.
In 2005, the left field foul pole that runs along side The Green Monster was named “The Fisk Foul Pole” in honor of former Boston Red Sox catcher, Carlton Fisk, who hit one of the more memorable home runs in baseball history off the pole in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series.
Off in the distance over the wall is one of the most famous pieces of advertising in America, the CITGO sign. Constructed in 1940 and redesigned in 1965, the sign is now an official Boston landmark along side Paul Revere’s home and other historical monuments from our country’s history and has its own full-time caretaker.
The Green Monster not only bewilders fans visiting the stadium, but visiting left fielders as well. Often a left fielder will misplay a ball that bounces high off the wall or ricochets in a different direction.
Right-handed hitter must also take The Green Monster into account since it requires a towering home run to get the ball out of the park. Instead, many will attempt to hit sharp line drives into the wall that can be hustled into extra-base hits.
Therefore, many balls that would be fly-ball outs in other stadiums are hits in Fenway Park. The Green Monster and the small foul areas of Fenway Park make the stadium very hitter-friendly, along with the drawn in right field wall.
Unless you see it, it’s hard to believe that the right field wall is in the same ballpark as The Green Monster. With the foul pole located only 302 feet from home plate, there is no shorter porch in all of Major League baseball than in right field at Fenway.
Mel Parnell coined the name “Pesky’s Pole” for the right field foul pole in honor of Johnny Pesky, a scrawny, light-hitting shortstop for the Boston Red Sox who played for the team from 1946-1952.
Pesky only hit 17 HR in his entire baseball career, but six of them scraped just over the right field wall, although none ever actually hit off the pole.
Have You Ever Been to a Baseball Game at Fenway Park?
Almost dead center in the batter’s eye, “The Triangle” at Fenway Park is a jagged cutout that forms an almost 90 degree angle along the outfield wall located 420 feet from home plate. Many would-be home run balls have gone to die in this cavernous gap that requires a fleet-footed center fielder to patrol its grounds.
The Lone Red Seat
Located in the right field bleachers in Section 42, Row 37, Seat 21 is the only red seat amongst a sea of green in Fenway Park. The seat represents the longest “measurable” home run ever hit at the stadium.
On June 9th, 1946, Ted Williams hit a ball 502 feet that landed directly on the fan sitting in Seat 21. Legend has it that the ball actually tore through the man’s straw hat.
“Measurable” is important to note in that many of Babe Ruth’s home runs were estimated to be over 500 feet prior to the current bleacher layout at Fenway Park.
And in 2003, a home run hit by Manny Ramirez struck off a light tower located above The Green Monster. Without a landing point, no true distance could be determined and therefore the official estimate was 501 feet in order to preserve William’s record blast.
The Old Ball Game!
While the stadium itself is enough to leave a baseball fan giddy for days, a Boston Red Sox game is a unique experience completely in of itself and only adds to the mystique of Fenway Park.
Every home game since 2003 has sold out. In 2008, Fenway Park recorded its 456 consecutive sell out, for a new Major League record.
Getting Red Sox tickets won’t be cheap, but the experience is priceless.
Before the bottom of the 8th inning at every game, Neil Diamond’s classic Sweet Caroline is played over the stadium speakers.
What makes this so cool is that the whole stadium of 40,000 men, women and children sing all the words in chorus, including the “Bum Bum Bum!” throughout the song. At times the stadium music director will stop the song with the fans singing in unison without aid.
The tradition started in 1998 when the Fenway Park music director would play the song from time to time somewhere between the 7th and 9th innings of games the Red Sox were winning.
Eventually the song became a good luck charm of Red Sox Nation and in 2002, new team ownership made Sweet Caroline an official Fenway Park tradition with the song being played every game.
Sweet Caroline at Fenway Park
Boston Red Sox Swag:
The Fenway Frank
Perhaps the second most famous concession item in Major League baseball to the Dodger Dog in Los Angeles, The Fenway Frank is a delicious, boiled and grilled hot dog served on a New England style bun at all Boston Red Sox games.
While the locals think “All the clams jumped out,” visiting fans will definitely want to try Legal Seafood’s Clam Chowder when visiting Fenway Park. There is something indescribable about being served a steaming bowl of New England clam chowder in the middle of June at a baseball game.
The New England Lobster Roll has become a stadium staple and was featured at the 2010 MLB All-Star game as one of the best 12 concession items in all of baseball. At $12 the sandwich isn’t cheap, but who can pass up eating fresh lobster in baseball’s hollowed halls.
Not to worry, sports fans. There is a wide variety of beers and tasty beverages to enjoy at Fenway Park.
Presonal Fenway Experience
I had a chance to go to Fenway Park during the 2010 season as part of a five-city MLB stadium road trip. The stadium and atmosphere literally floored me, and I couldn't recommend it enough for any baseball fan.
There was so much history and so much to take it. It reminded me of a day I spent in Paris a few years back. Every where you turned there was something you wanted to take a photo of our just stop and stare for a few minutes.
Our seats were in the 4th Row in right field, only maybe 15 feet from the field with the visitors bullpen right by our side.
The Red Sox played the Arizona Diamondbacks in Interleague Play and won the game. There was everything you could hope for with David Ortiz hitting a HR and Jonathan Papelbon coming into to close the game with the Drop Kick Murphy's "I'm Shipping Into Boston" blaring over the speakers.
The fans were the best in baseball and certainly love their Red Sox and the staff was friendly, fast and accommodating.
So, what are you waiting for? Get your tickets for a Boston Red Sox game today and take in all that is Fenway Park.