April 03, 2005

"'Fenway Park is baseball,' : Theo Epstein told me last year...[b]ut only fools and fabulists fail to understand that time marches on." Time for Fenway Park to go, says the Boston Globe's Michael Ryan.

posted by lil_brown_bat to baseball at 02:15 PM - 7 comments

Count me on the side of a new park for Boston- but much stronger on the side of leaving Fenway in tact, whether the Sox play there anymore. Tearing down Fenway would be like tearing down the Old North Church or Fanueil Hall. However, building a new ballpark, such as a waterfront park, would be very nice indeed- provided it wasn't a taxpayer scam, like the stadium currently housing the Seattle Boondoggles- er, I mean, Mariners. The Kingdome was only ~20 years old when they tore it down ferchrissakes- Fenway is 93 years old. I'd say that 90+ years is plenty of time to get full use out of a building. I've been to Fenway in my youth more times than I can count; even as "just" a baseball stadium, it's as replete with history as any building is, in one of the most historic of American cities, and to see it torn down would seem outright criminal. But it is smelly, and dank, and cramped, and plenty of those seats have obstructed views behind poles. The Sox should play in a new stadium: the current one is older than the now-deceased C.o.t.B.! But for Fenway to still remain as a sports museum, and tourable temple to the grandeur of Boston baseball- that would be wonderful!

posted by hincandenza at 03:32 PM on April 03, 2005

Hal, here's a stupid question -- could Boston support a AA or AAA team in the same town? Seems like Fenway, scaled down a bit, would be a great place for all those folks who can't afford the big house to see the Sox youngsters play, plus it qould save the team travel expenses and all that stuff.

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:45 PM on April 03, 2005

I think Boston could probably support a minor league team, as far as butts in seats...but I'm sure Fenway costs a lot more to operate than a minor league park. I don't think it'd work. The Red Sox have kind of painted themselves into a corner by hanging onto the park this long. Because their stadium's the oldest, it's also the farthest from meeting current needs. And the big problem isn't the lack of modern amenities, it's the number of seats. It's a major crimp in their revenue, and the kind of incremental increases they've been doing aren't going to solve that problem. The last time the issue was seriously raised, back in the '90s, all it really accomplished was to get people stirred up and ultimately harden almost everybody's stance in favor of keeping the ballpark as is -- not because that was most people's first choice, but because many people came to see it as the least of several evils. Building a new stadium out of the city, or at least out of the Fenway, would have made the most sense...but the more it got discussed, the more bloated the Fenway sacred cow became. The Yawkey trust owners' final impractical solution was to propose a huge new stadium next door that would have cost a fortune and taken over several adjacent blocks of densely-used city real estate. Possibly it could have been done...but not by short-term owners, and so that proposal quietly died. You won't see another one like that.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:09 PM on April 03, 2005

As the money gets bigger and bigger, can Boston remain financially competitive with the Yankees without a new ballpark? If not, Sox fans would probably agree to tear Fenway down by hand.

posted by rcade at 12:25 PM on April 04, 2005

Can anyone remain financially competitive with the Yankees? No. No they cannot. Boston's $130m payroll dwarves most all other teams, save one: still, they remain $74m behind the Yankees....

posted by hincandenza at 01:32 AM on April 05, 2005

I may be in the minority, but I'd rather keep fenway and let the yankees win 10 more championships with payrolls through the roof. Fair trade for me.

posted by justgary at 02:36 PM on April 05, 2005

My design firm works with architects on restoring old buildings, offices, hotels, etc., so I see lots of before and after on 100+ year-old structures. It is absolutely amazing how wonderful an old building can be when it's restored and/or improved with authenticity in mind. If an office building can be restored to a stunning beauty, imagine what could be done with Fenway.

posted by dusted at 02:56 PM on April 05, 2005

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