Freedom in Fenway
When you think of history in Boston what comes to mind? The Freedom Trail, Cutty Sark, or the Royal Naval College? What about Fenway Park? For many people this little neighborhood holds sacred ground for baseball lovers.
Fenway Park is the home of the Boston Red Sox and has been so since 1912. Due to its location and the neighborhood that encroaches on it, expansions have been difficult and it is one of only eight MLB ballparks that seat less than 40,000 people.
No matter how much you love (or don’t love) America’s favorite pastime, this ballpark is not to be missed. Spend the money and go on a group tour. The guides are extremely knowledgeable and are eager to share the history of the team and the sport in general. Still not excited? Movie buffs will get a thrill walking into the entrance where the final shootout in The Town was located, sitting in the press box where Brad Pitt filmed some of the final Moneyball scenes, and walking through the seats where Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon fall in love in Fever Pitch. And who can forget one of baseball’s most iconic films, Field of Dreams? Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones sit and hear the voice that tells them to “go the distance.” The Green Monster and iconic Citgo sign make an appearance in this film as well. (Little known fact; Ben Affleck and Matt Damon actually made their film debuts among all the extras in these scenes as well.)
Anyone familiar with this park is going to know the Green Monster. Did you know it was part of the original construction? It was covered in tin and wood in 1934 when the scoreboard was added and then covered again in hard plastic in 1976. Incidentally, it wasn’t painted green until 1947; before that it was covered in advertisements.
I could go on and on about the Triangle and Williamsburg, but I fear I am not enough of a storyteller to do them justice. One thing that should not go unmentioned, though, is the lone red seat. On June 9, 1946, Ted Williams hit his famous home run whose official measurement is 502 feet. It was a beautiful, bright sunny day and Joseph A. Boucher had his straw hat pulled low over his head. This particular baseball penetrated said hat and hit Mr. Boucher in the head! Boucher is remembered as saying, “How far away must one sit to be safe in this park?”
Along with the famous field that has hosted numerous games, including baseball, football, soccer, and even hockey, concerts are held on the field as well. Behind the Green Monster is a wall of posters showing many of music’s greats throughout the years who have performed in this little park.
At the end of the tour, take the time to stroll around the museum that is in the park as well. You will read about baseball legends who are larger than life and a time in American history where proud Americans loved and supported both each other and their country. Outside are statues of Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky, and Dom DiMaggio, all of whom took breaks from their careers to serve in World War II. You will also see another of Ted Williams, who was a big champion of children, and also one of Carl “Yaz” Yastrzemski, who in 1967 was instrumental in reviving the franchise and renewing the spirit of the Red Sox Nation. After going through this tour and experiencing the life that is within these walls, it makes me feel that Fenway represents a bit of history in our freedom as well.