Boston Red Sox: Fenway Park

Fenway prepped for party of a lifetime

October, 30, 2013
BOSTON -- There have been some spectacular moments at Fenway Park in her 101 years of existence.

But not since the days of Babe Ruth and the 1918 Red Sox has the home team celebrated a World Series championship at the storied ballpark. That could all change Wednesday (or Thursday) night.

Is she ready?

“Oh, yeah,” said Dave Mellor, director of grounds at Fenway.

[+] EnlargeFenway Park
AP Photo/Elise AmendolaThings were pretty quiet at Fenway the day before what could be a party 95 years in the making.
The Red Sox hold a 3-2 lead over the St. Louis Cardinals and a win in either Wednesday’s Game 6 or Thursday’s Game 7 would give Boston its third championship in less than a decade. In 2004, the Red Sox clinched the title at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. In 2007, they won it all at Coors Field in Denver.

Now, the Red Sox and their fans hope, it’s this gal’s turn to be soaked in champagne. After all, she’s avoided the wrecking ball and will remain a part of history forever. She celebrated her 100th birthday a year ago, which happened to be one of the worst seasons in franchise history.

On Tuesday, it was relatively quiet around the old ballpark. The Red Sox went through their off-day workout and it seemed like any other day during the regular season. It was as though she was taking her pregame nap before the big event.

Ballpark workers gave Fenway a spit shine. The grounds crew manicured her pristine grass and made sure the “B Strong” logo in center field was perfect.

“I’m very superstitious and so we’re just stressing everything we’ve done all year,” Mellor said. “I’m very proud of my staff and the support we get from [ownership]. We’re looking forward to the excitement. It was fun watching in St. Louis and it was great being here for Games 1 and 2 and we’re excited to get the team back.

“We groom it just like we groom it for game whatever -- 2, 10, 50,” Mellor said. “I’m fortunate to have a great group of coworkers and we just stress attention to detail. It’s an honor to be out here. It’s fun to be a part of.”

Outside the ballpark, people were willing to spend thousands and thousands of dollars, trying to get a ticket for the potential clincher.

“There’s a lot of people with a lot of money willing to spend,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “From a historic perspective, when you consider that an event like this hasn’t been here in a couple of generations, there’s a lot of people that are willing to take some extra cash and try to be a part of it.

“We don’t take for granted the passion that our fan base has or that our fans have. And I think our guys get it. They understand their place here. And they understand what the Red Sox mean to this region, particularly this city. There’s kind of a rekindled relationship between this team and the fans. And that has grown out of the personalities that are here now, and like I said before, the way we play the game.”

[+] EnlargeDavid Ortiz
Jared Wickerham/Getty ImagesDavid Ortiz looks forward to the prospect of winning the Series in Boston, but wants fans to be safe.
In 2004, the Red Sox, the bunch known as the “Idiots,” erased 86 years of misery and swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series at Busch Stadium. The Red Sox celebrated in St. Louis and returned home to a hero's welcome.

“I don’t know what it would have been like [to win at Fenway],” former Red Sox Kevin Millar said. “That first one’s always the craziest. This team is a lot like the ’04 team. The city has definitely gravitated toward this group of guys, and this being a chance to be the first time in a long time to celebrate here at home, we’ll see. Only time will tell if [Fenway’s] ready.”

Millar admits the idea of winning at Fenway Park never came up while the ’04 team was traveling back from St. Louis that October.

“No,” he said. “Ours was so dynamic with the Yankees series, and then we swept the Cardinals, at that point you don’t care if you won it in another country. It was just about getting that first championship in 86 years. There was never any of that. I didn’t even think about that until it was brought up.”

Millar admits he discussed that fact with Red Sox ownership Monday night in St. Louis. He also remembers what it was like when the ’03 team clinched the wild card and how that group celebrated.

“We celebrated by running up Yawkey Way,” Millar said. “I can’t imagine winning a World Series. I mean, we were in full uniform across the street, so it’ll be pretty cool.”

In 2004, the Red Sox finished off the Yankees in the ALCS at Yankee Stadium in New York. It was a historic comeback for the Red Sox, who lost the first three games of that series. Fans converged around Fenway Park, but the party turned tragic when Emerson College junior Victoria Snelgrove was killed during the celebration after being shot in the eye by a projectile fired by police seeking to disperse revelers.

With that in mind, Red Sox veteran David Ortiz has a message for the fans.

“If we get it done tomorrow, hopefully, don’t go crazy, don’t be stupid. Have fun. Enjoy. But don’t be doing things that get you in trouble -- period,” Ortiz said Tuesday.

Win or lose, Ortiz and the Red Sox want fans to be respectful and safe.

“It’s going to be crazy, regardless,” Ortiz said. “It’s going to be crazy. It’s going to be unbelievable, but we have history of bad things happening when everything’s going down. I want to send this message to everyone: Enjoy this, and there are tons of different ways to have fun without doing anything stupid. Hopefully everybody’s aware of it.”

Fenway Park, the Red Sox and their fans have been waiting a long time to celebrate a World Series championship the good ol’ fashioned way in Boston. The Red Sox are one win shy of achieving that.

“This year, if that were to happen, it would just be awesome,” Mellor said. “Awesome.”

Red Sox tab three for Fenway PA duties

April, 5, 2013
The Boston Red Sox on Friday named two former Boston television personalities and a local teacher to share public announcing duties at Fenway Park this season.

Longtime broadcaster Dick Flavin will announce each hitter over the Fenway PA system for most day games, Marblehead teacher and former Red Sox public relations staffer Henry Mahegan will call most night games and former WBZ sportscaster Bob Lobel will be in the mike on most Saturdays, the team announced. The trio will be spelled occasionally by guest appearances from Boston or baseball personalities.

Long-time Fenway PA announcer Carl Beane died last May and the Red Sox rotated in a few dozen people to serve as the voice of Fenway throughout the season. The team interviewed more than 300 people for the job on a search that started in January.
BOSTON -- Baseball is primarily a game of numbers. Whether it’s DiMaggio’s hitting streak or Williams’ batting average in 1941, the numbers endure.

And so the most notable number associated with the Red Sox in recent memory is 793. That is the number of consecutive home games deemed “sellouts” at Fenway Park. As sure as the Star-Spangled Banner will be played, that odometer will click over to 794 with the team’s home opener Monday.

[+] EnlargeFenway Park ticket office
AP Photo/Elise AmendolaIn this image taken with a fisheye lens, fans stand at the ticket windows at Fenway Park on Friday.
“Opening Day should be seven-ninety-four,” said Red Sox president Larry Lucchino on Friday during a tour of the park. “What happens after that is uncertain. What I am certain is that it will likely end sometime during April, during the first or second series.”

Akin Cal Ripken Jr.’s iron-man streak, the end of the sellout streak is a nod to nature and inevitability.

Lucchino talked about the streak while joined by Boston Mayor Tom Menino in a pre-opening day tour of Fenway and a taste of its newest culinary offerings. Menino made news last week, announcing he would not seek election for a sixth term. So Friday served as a kind of farewell tour for a man who will be inextricably linked to the city’s pro sports success story of the last decade -- along with a wheelbarrow full of colorful soundbites.

“I’ve still never ridden on a Duck Boat,” Menino said, predicting another rolling rally starting on Lansdowne Street.

After sampling the fare -- Bavarian pretzels smothered with garlic butter and bowls of chicken lo mein -- Lucchino reflected on his first interaction with the mayor. It was Dec. 21, 2001, a day after the group of John W. Henry, Tom Werner and Lucchino won the bid for the Red Sox. Their first matter of business involved what was to become of Fenway Park.

“There never was any doubt about what we wanted to do to improve, expand, enhance Fenway Park,” Lucchino said. “But we had to be here for a couple of years to see how that would work, making sure it was financially feasible. But we always wanted to preserve and protect the park.”

About a decade later, Fenway Park is still revered in the present tense with marked facelifts at every turn. The ownership group has turned up revenue streams in every nook and cranny of the confines and beyond -- from seats atop the Green Monster to the right field roof seats. There were even some pie-in-the-sky plans, including one initial plan for the Monster construction that Lucchino described as “an iron-and-steel catastrophe,” that never saw the light of day, in addition to some more outlandish ideas from fans, including a mausoleum built into the 37-foot wall, a final resting place for devotees.

“We’ve had some off-the-wall ideas,” Lucchino said.

That phase is now complete.

“Now we’re just fine-tuning, with minor improvements,” he added.

Aside from the persistent swing of crane booms around the park, Lucchino counts the sellout streak among the most noteworthy of accomplishments by the ownership group.

“I think the world championships in 2004 and then the repeat in 2007 have to go to the top of the list,” said Lucchino, who wore a hunter green necktie with peanut shells speckled on it. “But I think the fact that the fans supported the team in such numbers and with such consistency, I’d certainly put that on the list.”

The streak is the longest in American professional sports history, though some questioned its authenticity last season.

“I don’t think anybody will come close to that kind of success for a very long time,” Lucchino said, all but talking about the streak as a bygone era. “We’re proud of it, but it’s time to move on.”

The Red Sox will play 17 games at home during the month of April -- the most in team history. Lucchino maintained that with the chilly nighttime temperatures and potential drizzle, it will be “easier to get tickets.”

“We had a disappointing season last year and a terrible finish the year before,” he said.

While taking two games out of three in the Bronx might help, the key to any streak -- or success in baseball, for that matter -- is consistency.

“The best way we can do that is to provide good, winning baseball," he said. "We haven’t forgotten that’s the most important part.”

Red Sox cut prices on April concessions

March, 26, 2013
In an effort to boost sagging ticket sales and draw more fans to Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox are offering reduced prices on some concessions for the month of April.

The team’s 793-game home sellout streak will likely come to an end early in the season, perhaps on April 10, the second home game on the schedule.

“We recognize that the sellout streak is likely going to be coming to an end in early April, and we’re looking for ways to thank our fans for their incredible support and commitment,” Red Sox chief operating officer Sam Kennedy told the Boston Globe.

Among the cuts in concessions: A 12-ounce cup of beer drops from $7.50-$8.50 to $5; Fenway franks are buy one, get one free; hot chocolate is nearly half price ($2, compared with $4.25 last season) and kids will eat for free (hot dog, snack and juice carton) as long as they pick up their meal before the third inning.

Tickets for all 17 games at Fenway in April are still available online, including the home opener on April 8. Eleven of those games will start before 7 p.m. in another nod to the fans. Night games in April are usually chilly.

“We’re looking for ways to fill the ballpark, and hopefully this will help,” Kennedy told the Globe. “But more importantly, that it be received as a thank you given everything we’ve been through the last nine, 10 years together. We thought it was an appropriate gesture.”

Tito on Fenway 100: 'I'm glad I went'

April, 23, 2012

Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona remembers walking out on the field for the 100th anniversary celebration of Fenway Park.

Video: Olney, Ravech on party, letdown

April, 21, 2012

Buster Olney and Karl Ravech reflect on the Fenway celebration and take a look at what ails the Red Sox.

Video: Pedro's fond memories

April, 20, 2012

Baseball Tonight's Karl Ravech catches up with Pedro Martinez after the 100th anniversary celebration of Fenway Park.

Pedro says the day stirred up mixed emotions and a flood of memories, and that seeing all of the other great Red Sox players made him feel "so privileged" to have been part of the 2004 world champion team.

Pedro also talks about the satisfaction of beating the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS, and what that comeback victory meant to Boston. Good stuff.

Hurst brings attention to teen suicide

April, 20, 2012
BOSTON -- Former Red Sox left-hander Bruce Hurst was wearing a purple band on his wrist to help promote the Will-To-Live Foundation.

The nonprofit foundation was started by former Red Sox pitcher John Trautwein (1988) in memory of his son, Will, who committed suicide almost two years ago. Teen suicides have been rising at an alarming rate, and the foundation’s mission is to make sure that parents and teens aren’t afraid to say, “I love you, man,” as stated on its website.

Hurst said that Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who was a teammate of Trautwein’s at Northwestern, also was wearing a band.

For more information, the foundation's website is

Snapshots: The scene at Fenway

April, 20, 2012
Check out some photos from today's 100 anniversary celebration at Fenway Park (we'll add more pictures throughout the day):

Johnny Pesky, Bobby DorrJohn Tlumacki/The Boston Globe/Getty ImagesRed Sox legends Johnny Pesky and Bobby Doerr were helped out to the infield by recent Sox retirees Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield. David Ortiz accompanied them.

Carl Yastrzemski, Jim RiceStan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

Luis TiantAP Photo/Elise Amendola

Terry FranconaAP Photo/Elise Amendola

Red Sox PregameElsa/Getty Images

Kevin Millar & Pedro MartinezJohn Tlumacki/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

(Read full post)

Video essay: What makes Fenway special

April, 20, 2012

Listen to four generations of Red Sox fans as they celebrate the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park. They describe every nook, cranny and memorable moment that make Fenway great.

ESPNBoston's Gordon Edes has seen many great moments at Fenway Park, but his favorite was seeing the field in its full green glory.

Valentine offers some thoughts on Fenway

April, 20, 2012
BOSTON -- Bobby Valentine shared some of his feelings about the historical aspects of the afternoon. He clearly has an appreciation for Fenway Park, especially after seeing more than 50,000 fans show up for an Open House on Thursday, not for the autographs or photographs of players that were available, but for the ballpark itself.

“This ballpark has created as many memories for the people in this area and around the world as any venue in the world,” said Valentine. “This game will make memories for me and everyone else here and I’m looking forward to that.

“I thought (Thursday) was amazing. I understood (the value of the park’s history). It was an incredible experience. There were 10s of thousands of people here. I have over 20 of my friends drive up here, to be on the field, to walk up to the scoreboard and see it up close and person. It was for the park. That was pretty cool,” said Valentine, a native of Stamford, CT.

“The park here has at least a life of its own. A magic to it. It’s the baseball land of Oz. People dream about this place,” said Valentine. “When I came here in the wintertime there was an ice skating rink on the field and it was still a wonderful place to be, not like 20-30 years ago when it was just an old building on the corner. It’s a credit to a lot of people’s hard work.”

The manager had an opportunity to see some former players who were at the park on Thursday. He said he didn’t recognize all of them, but that he was sure they recognized him.

“They had an advantage on me if they went to the post office and saw the Most Wanted poster of me. That made it easier for them,” joked Valentine, who has been embattled early in his first year as Sox manager with the team off to a 4-8 start.

Video: Ravech sets scene at Fenway

April, 20, 2012

Karl Ravech sets the scene at Fenway Park as the Red Sox prepare to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first game played on April 20, 1912.

State of the Nation: Fenway 100, Sox-Yanks

April, 20, 2012

In this edition of State of the Nation, ESPNBoston's Gordon Edes celebrates Fenway's 100th birthday while previewing the Red Sox's series with the Yankees.

Video: 2004 ALCS Game 4 (nuff said)

April, 20, 2012

The beginning of the biggest comeback in baseball history.