Posted by Kelly on April 20, 2012
Fenway Park's Yawkey Way facade as captured with my phone October 18, 2010
It isn’t every day that you get to celebrate a 100th birthday. As rare as it is with people, it’s even rarer with ballparks. Unprecedented, in fact. Today we wish a happy 100th birthday to Fenway Park.
Today could have been a day of twin celebrations in Major League Baseball. On this date in 1912, when the first game was played at Fenway (after two days of rain-outs) Detroit’s Navin Field, later renamed Tiger Stadium, also hosted its first game. But after the 1999 season, Tiger Stadium was torn down while still a spry 87.
Wearing my pride
So now, Fenway stands alone. It’s big deal in a country where shiny new stadiums are increasingly popular, where historic buildings of all types often don’t survive unless local ordinances mandate preservation. In Boston, the preservation was mandated by the fans, who rose up against the former owners’ determination to tear it down and start fresh, and affirmed by new owners who have spent hundreds of millions of dollars not refurbishing and enhancing it.
Even as I wear my “B” logo earrings as a personal tribute, other commendations to the old ball yard abound on the web:
- Yahoo! Sports ranks history’s 10 most historic stadiums (of any sport) and even though the Roman Colosseum came in first, Fenway was right behind it.
Two World Wars, The Great Depression, nothing stopped baseball and the park was always bustling with loyal fans. No other stadium compares to Fenway Park and no other baseball stadium stands today that was built before it.
- Fenway’s jealous younger sibling weighs in.
My name is Wrigley Field. And I’ll try not to be resentful and jealous this week.
You realize what Friday is, right? Yeah, the 100th birthday for that insufferable cousin of mine in the northeast, Fenway Park.
They’ll be going all gaga the next few days over the little twerp. He thinks he’s so cute, there with his Green Monster. I hope he has a power outage.
- CBS News gets the perspective of comedian, Worcester native, and lifelong Sox fan Denis Leary.
Leary said, “That’s the thing about Fenway Park. Even in these seats or those seats, you feel like you can reach out and choke the opposing players with your bare hands at any given moment. And sometimes you feel like choking a Red Sox player.”
- Over at ESPN.com, Jim Caple pays tribute.
I hope Fenway Park lasts to celebrate a second full century in baseball. Although I shudder to think what ticket and beer prices could be there in 2112.
[ . . . ]
“What a cathedral. It’s like going to church,” said Tim Wakefield, who pitched 17 seasons at Fenway before retiring this spring. “The stadium is the star here. Fenway is the star.”
- The New England Sports Network, the cable TV station that is partially owned by the Sox and carries all their games that aren’t nationally televised, marks the 100th birthday with 100 interesting ballpark facts.
10. The Green Monster was originally blue and featured many white advertisements.
[ . . . ]
17. The [grandstand] seats at Fenway are made out of Oak wood.
[ . . . ]
59. Fenway Park is 20 feet above sea level.
[ . . . ]
81. Earl Wilson no-hit the Angels on June 26, 1962, becoming the first african-american pitcher to throw a no-hitter in the American League.
[ . . . ]
95. [Boston Mayor] John. F. Fitzgerald, grandfather of John F. Kennedy, started the tradition of tossing out the first pitch.
- A Christian Science Monitor correspondence and Orioles fan now living in Massachusetts expresses her appreciation of the role the old ball yard will play in her young daughter’s life.
[A]s parents, we have come to accept that when our daughter grows into her team — when she starts memorizing on base percentages and ERAs, when she insists on showing up early for batting practice and the chance to get a player’s signature, when she becomes aghast that we (or her grandparents) have tossed out old dusty boxes of baseball cards that were cluttering up a basement — we will root along side her.
So happy birthday, Fenway Park. We’ll learn to love you. Or at least accept that you’ll give our daughter happiness.
There are many more accolades and others will come. The Red Sox held a free open house for the public yesterday and will mark the actual anniversary this afternoon with special ceremonies and a game against the New York Highlanders (now the Yankees), the same team that played at the grand opening. Both teams will wear vintage uniforms. It isn’t quite the same as logo earrings, but it will do.
Posted in ballpark moments, history, milestones | 1 Comment »
Posted by Kelly on October 29, 2007
It’s so different from 2004. No underdog status, no great unburdening, no tears for those who lived their whole lives never seeing a championship. All we have now is…a tremendous accomplishment. The Boston Red Sox are 2007 World Series champions.
It’s very different from 2004. Then, we had several players we knew wouldn’t be here the next year. Many of the key characters in that unprecedented postseason did indeed move on: Derek Lowe, Dave Roberts, Pokey Reese, Orlando Cabrera, Doug Mientkiewicz, the Certain Former Red Sox Pitcher Whose Name Shall Not Be Spoken. Now, we are looking forward to years of success built around young guys named Papelbon, Ellsbury, Pedroia, Delcarmen, Lester, not to mention Beckett and Matsuzaka.
WRKO’s Joe Castiglione just pointed out that the Red Sox are the first baseball team in the 21st century to win multiple World Series championships. All those years when we thirsted for success, when we would have practically given our right arms for just one victory, seem like so very long ago. If 2004 represented our liberation from angst, 2007 represents the maturing of our new role as fans of a team that expects to contend every year.
I’ll have more to say about all this after I get some sleep. For now, I’ll mention that Glen Gefner is reporting that an announcement about a victory celebration in Boston will be coming from the Mayor’s office later today. Rumor is the parade will be Tuesday. I hope my boss doesn’t mind my taking some time off.
Sweet championship dreams, Nation.
Posted in faith, milestones, postseason | 7 Comments »
Posted by Kelly on October 8, 2007
When David Ortiz homered in the fourth inning of today’s ALDS game 3 against the Angels, the Red Sox did more than take the 1-0 lead. They served notice that they were serious about moving closer to their ultimate goal: a World Series championship. So although there was much revelry in the clubhouse after completing the 3-0 sweep, everyone knows this is but another step on a journey that isn’t over yet.
That attitude—that there is much more to be done—might explain why the Red Sox are unique among MLB’s 2007 division winners in not having placed a "Division Champions" graphic on their web site.
Philadelphia Phillies: Eliminated.
Chicago Cubs: Eliminated.
Los Angeles Angels: Eliminated.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Facing the Colorado Rockies in the NLCS.
Cleveland Indians: As of this writing, still playing the ALDS.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox web site shows no signs of having won anything yet.
It’s one thing to celebrate milestones. But celebrating a "championship" that really isn’t one smacks of resting on one’s laurels. Sure, it’s fun for fans to run out and buy the AL East t-shirt MLB put out the day after they clinched first place. But the team, I suspect, realizes there is plenty more to be done. So they’re congratulating themselves for a job well done against Los Angeles. And tomorrow, they’ll start preparing for the next step.
Posted in milestones, postseason | 1 Comment »
Posted by Kelly on September 30, 2007
The Red Sox have taken care of all the business there is to take care of before October. On September 22, they clinched a playoff spot, the first major league team to do so this season. On September 28, they clinched their first American League East division title since 1995. Last night, they clinched at least a tie with Cleveland for best record in the league, a tie that will be broken if necessary by the season series, which the Sox won 5-2. That last bit gives Boston home field advantage for every playoff series in which they appear this October.
So it is without the slightest trepidation that I leave in the middle of this afternoon’s final regular game to attend a church event with my niece and fellow Red Sox fan, Janel, who asked me to be her confirmation sponsor. We’ll be praying for God to look favorably upon our boys. Season wrap up to follow later this evening.
Posted in milestones, standings | 1 Comment »
Posted by Kelly on September 2, 2007
Q: What do the following players have in common?
A: They all pitched no-hitters for the Boston Red Sox.
Congratulations to Clay Buchholz for joining this elite club tonight against the Baltimore Orioles in just his second major league game.
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Posted by Kelly on August 22, 2007
In addition to a big win, last night brought a milestone for one of our boys, as Jonathan Papelbon earned his 30th save of the season and became the first Red Sox pitcher ever to save at least 30 games in two different seasons. He had 35 saves in 41 chances last season before being shut down in September due to apparent overuse. That problem shouldn’t recur this year because of the backup provided by Hideki Okajima, Manny Delcarmen, a resurgent Mike Timlin, and I would hope Eric Gagné (once he gets his crap back together). A strong bullpen in general, and a healthy Papelbon in particular, will be key throughout the playoffs.
I can’t believe I forgot to mention that when I was at last Saturday’s game, I saw another milestone: J.D. Drew’s 1,000th career hit. It came in the midst of the Red Sox’ offensive explosion in the fifth inning, so if there was any recognition of the moment by the players, it would have blended in to the general revelry of the inning. On Drew’s next at-bat, a blurb on the electronic scoreboard mentioned the milestone.
So here’s offering congratulations to Paps and J.D. May they have many more successes while wearing the Red Sox uniform.
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