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The Magic of Fenway Park, Home of the Boston Red Sox

Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts.

by Eric J. Hurwitz. Article updated on Dec. 31, 2016.

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If a baseball park was to be rated on charm alone, Fenway Park in Boston, Mass., would rank as one of the best baseball stadiums in Major League Baseball.
 
Through the years, Boston Red Sox fans have known Fenway Park as an ancient charmer in a modern, state-of-the-art world. The pastoral, beautiful symmetry of the game has always looked good at Fenway, and always will -- enhanced by the charismatic 37-foot high Green Monster scoreboard, the esteemed Citgo sign behind the stadium, seats intimately close to the well-manicured field, thick Boston accents, Fenway Franks, too much beer, and stentorian locals having a complete knowledge of who played here (from anomolies like Mike Garmen and Kevin Romano to fan favorites like Johnny Pesky, Luis Tiant, David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia). They know who ruined our "summahs" -- Bucky "Bleeping" Dent and Bill Buckner (even though it was technically fall), and they know who the "phonies" were -- we won't name names here. Three recent World Series rings (2004, 2007 and 2013), however, makes up for a lot of lost time in the history of the franchise.

Fenway Park Greem MonsterFenway Park has a beloved downside with cramped, slightly uncomfortable seats (and not enough of them at around 37,000+). The restroom facilities -- albeit slightly improved -- once prompted me in the early 80s to run across the street in between innings to the now defunct Aku Aku Chinese restaurant to use spotless restrooms. The concession stands have also improved but still not in the comfort food selections hall of fame. The stadium, overall, feels like a worn out, old comfortable shoe that sometimes looks more inviting from the comfort of the living room television. We always return, however, as the living room is built for, as mentioned, comfort and Fenway Park for discomfort -- the latter of which New Englanders prefer (along with bad weather, high taxes, astronomical real estate costs, elevated college tuition, and one-way city streets never quite getting you to your intended destination). In all fairness, renovations and expansion have been made in the past few years to make things more comfortable, but we're still not talking about one of those modern ballparks with all the bells and whistles -- it is still an old ball park, but a charming one-of-a-kind one, at that.

No matter who has been in the Boston Red Sox lineup, it has ultimately been the fans historically serving as the city's baseball catalyst since 1912. Fenway Park fans have kept the Boston Red Sox in business by not only paying for their tickets en route to traditionally sold out games, but by also creating the spirit behind the team that had, until recently, not won a World Series since 1918. We've heard the fervor of that fortunate paradigm shift in the stands, in the streets, on the radio and sometimes from the living room through the open windows and into the neighborhood.

Fenway Park cannot be measured by modern amenities -- not by a tape-measured longshot. All is has going for it are the people. TheCrowds outside Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red So fans in other cities with modern ballparks just have that, the modern ballpark -- no soul, no screaming, no yelling, no cheering, no signs of life. It is like going to a Michael Bolton concert where, as we all know, there are simply no memories in the making.

Everyone has a memory or two of Fenway Park. To be a kid and watch a game at Fenway Park was one of the true highlights of my childhood. My favorite memories include the time Baltimore Oriole first baseman Boog Powell almost took my life with a foul ball rocket over my seven-year-old head. Tony Oliva, the Minnsesota Twins star outfielder, once let go of his bat accidently while swinging and almost had the same effect on me as Boog Powell. Then there was the time when the crowd yelled in unison "We want a hit," while my lone, meek little eight-year-old voice followed with "We want a hot dog." Everyone laughed within earshot.

Then there's the bleachers, which seemed to formerly accommodate leather-lunged fans with no limits on their unlimited profane vocabulary -- as well as women in  inappropriate clothing who loved these men.  Now, it's a bit more family-friendly with more civil behavior overall, pink baseball caps, and what seems like one big happy family singing along with Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" on the speakers (a newer Fenway Park tradition). It's all part of the fabric that creates the Fenway Park magic, but in a different way than in the die-hard Red Sox fan past.

The Fenway Park Tours are great, too! Knowledgable, often humorous locals take you all over Fenway Park at a fair rate to inform and entertain on its fascinating history and details on the unique nature of the park and it recent upgrades. It's really the next best thing to watching a game and we look forward to going on the tours as a yearly summer vacation tradition.

We may lose Fenway Park someday to a Camden Yards-type model, possibly in South Boston. So far, politics has kept that from happening -- this is one good example of red tape preserving our memories. Many New Englanders wouldn't mind a new stadium, however. as they are smart enough to know history begins the day something new happens. For the rest of us, however, Fenway Park will do just fine. Sometimes feelings overrule logic, and although a new stadium would be nice, the "Fenway magic" has a spell on us that won't ever go away. After all, that is the New England way of thinking.




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