Not long ago I mentioned that Fenway Park was under consideration for placement on the National Register of Historic Places. Well, that has now come to pass. Yesterday the ballpark where the Red Sox play was added to the list of 80,000 (and growing) architecturally, historically, and culturally significant structures deemed worthy of protection. Though I love Fenway, I was actually one of the people who would have preferred a new ballpark when there was much discussion of the topic in the 1990s. Others disagreed, and I understood their arguments. As a Sox fan living in the heart of the Evil Empire I can’t say my mind was changed after seeing the new Yankee Stadium when it debuted in 2009. The old ballparks are filled with memories, but it is the people who made them, not the structures themselves. The new ownership decided not to go in that direction and I must say they did an amazing job updating and renovating over the past decade, spending almost $250 million in the process. It is not a coincidence that the team ended an 86 year World Series title drought after revamping.
Now, any further changes must adhere to strict guidelines and be subject to review from governmental and architectural authorities. Thankfully John Henry and his team seem to understand and are committed to the longterm. The Monster Seats they added a few years ago are fabulous and do not detract from the building’s integrity in any way. Fenway is a better visitor experience than it ever has been.
Fenway Park opened on April 20, 1912. The Red Sox defeated the Yankees 7-6 in 11 innings. Spring training is now in full swing and in a few short weeks the little jewel of a ballpark will begin its second century. Things could be worse.