Tag Archives: history of baseball

The Park

One of the most surprising things that I’ve read through-out my spring training, was that, prior to Henry, Werner and Lucchino buying the team, there was a lot of talk about abandoning Fenway and building a new park elsewhere.

To me, even before I started my whole Baseball Project, this was unthinkable. Leave Fenway? But…it’s Fenway! It’s one of those places people think of when you say, “baseball.” It’s been around almost as long as the Red Sox have been around. It’s been the home to Babe Ruth and Ted Williams and that Yaz fellow. You can’t leave Fenway.

Since I’ve never been to a major league ballpark and since the season is still a ways out, I decided to take advantage of the Fenway Park Tours. After all, what better way to get acquainted with a ballpark than when it’s completely empty? When it’s full of screaming fans and vendors and balllplayers and reporters and crew, you don’t really get to appreciate it. You miss out on details that are going to be obscured by the excitement of the game.

But a ballfield without players is such an odd thing to see.

The view from the Green Monster.

The history of Fenway is apparent from the moment you walk through the gate. There are dates everywhere; marking the first series the Red Sox won (1903, which was also the first World Series ever) and the years they won the American League pennant. There are the old bleacher seats that have been there since 1934 and they show it: There’s no leg room. There’s no room between you and your neighbor. And, as our guide pointed out, there are no cupholders.

Everything has a story attached to it. There’s the red seat out behind right field, where Ted Williams’ home run landed, the longest homer hit in Fenway. There’s the Green Monster, where Carlton Fisk’s homerun safely landed after he willed it there.

The Green Monster in all its glory.

Fenway is both one of the oldest and one of the smallest ballparks in the major leagues. It’s crammed into a tiny space, surrounded on all sides. Fenway represents Boston, in the way that Boston embraces its past and the future on the same street corner. History and progress in one square block. To me, a newcomer to the game and its history, it’s unthinkable that they even contemplated building a new park.

I can’t wait to see it in action.

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Sporting: Baseball, Boxing and Sports Not Starting with a B

A Sporting Attempt

Living in Boston means living with sports. In Durham, sports talk was mainly limited to people yelling about college basketball, because that was the biggest game in town. Sure, we had the Durham Bulls, but they don’t inspire the same level of fanaticism as, say, the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics or Bruins. There are four major sports franchises crammed into this one city and lord, does it show.

I’ve long resisted any attempt to become involved in the sports culture, but more and more, that seems like ignoring a large and integral part of Boston culture. People communicate in sports, it’s what they talk about, how they interact, a reason to go out for the night and watch a game in the bar.

So, in the interest of embedding myself in the culture, I’m going to “follow” a “team”. Since football season is almost over and basketball season has already started, I picked baseball. Plus, I’ll get the thrill of following the under-dog team, just like the Bad News Bears or Rocky. And I’ve always been interested in the mythology behind baseball.

First up, I need to read up on stats and line-ups and…other…stuff. Maybe I should watch Ken Burns’ Baseball in order to truly learn about the sport from the very beginning. The more I think about this whole process, the more I realize that I know next to nothing about baseball. I know it starts in the Spring. Maybe. Maybe that’s just when they start training.

The last time I even watched a baseball game was a Durham Bulls game almost five years ago. I know there are bats and balls and bases and n ine innings, but other than that, I’m as lost as a linebacker in a hockey rink.

Time to get started.

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Sporting: Baseball, Boxing and Sports Not Starting with a B