Monday, April 16, 2012

Important Games in Fenway History: April 29, 1986

Imposing. That’s the first word I think of when I see Roger Clemens’ iconic 95-mph fastball pitch. From 1984 through 1996, Fenway Park was home to the legendary pitcher but it wasn’t until his second year with the Red Sox that Clemens cemented himself as one of the best players the team had ever seen.

1986 was a landmark year for the Red Sox and Roger Clemens. Not only was ’86 the year that Clemens won the MVP and Cy Young awards for the season, but he helped lead the team into the World Series against the Mets. While the less said about that game the better, the Red Sox made history that season with a record-breaking game against the Seattle Mariners in April.  

Despite rumors of shoulder troubles pre-season, Clemens single-handedly struck out 20 players in just one nine inning game. Clemens broke the record of his childhood hero Nolan Ryan, the strikeout king of the 60’s and 70’s, whose record peaked at 19 strikeouts. A decade later, Clemens would repeat his 20-player strikeout streak against the Tigers. But after proving he was still at the top of his game, Clemens signed to the Blue Jays less than two months later. Despite spending years playing with other teams, fans rest easy knowing that Clemens’ record-breaking strikeouts still belong to the Red Sox and Fenway Park.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Here’s to 100 years of Fenway Park, and to 100 more.

Here’s to 100 years of Fenway Park, and to 100 more.

The Fenway experience is unmatched, there is nothing like going to Fenway Park for the first time and feeling so much history within seconds of your visit. It is the oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball, recording its first official regular season game on April 20, 1912. On that day, the Red Sox defeated the New York Highlanders, later known as the New York Yankees, 7-6 in front of 27,000 fans. I couldn’t think of any scenario better than that Opening Day at Fenway.
Holding just under 40,000 fans, Fenway Park is a great place to watch a game. As these dedicated fans have been known, The Royal Rooters of decades ago and the Fenway Faithful of today have experienced 7 World Series titles alongside an 86 year draught before the epic 2004 win. The history behind it, the emotion, and the passion are all unique to Fenway, which adds to the feeling one gets when he realizes he is in a place that has stood for 100 years.
When John Henry brought Larry Lucchino to the Red Sox in 2002, most fans thought America’s most beloved ballpark was going to be torn down for a new stadium.  However, to the excitement of Red Sox nation, Lucchino chose renovation over demolition. Because the park has stood for a century, Fenway has obviously had to undergo several facelifts to keep up with the times. Even with the changes to Fenway, the place is still full of history, the most history of any ballpark. Many people travel to Fenway not to see a game, but to simply take a ballpark tour and experience the feeling for themselves.
One of the coolest things about Fenway is that it is unlike any other stadium due to the structure. The walls of Fenway create an intimate feeling of being so close to the players because of the odd angles. Fenway’s dimensions are more peculiar than any other park in baseball measuring 310 feet down the left field line; 379 feet in left center field; 390 feet center field; 420 feet in deep center field; 380 feet in deep right field; and 302 feet down the right field line. Fan, Greg Geddes, talked about the angles of Fenway as one of the things that makes it so special. He said, “There is only one Fenway. Fenway's dimensions and architecture were based on necessity, and the result was an unplanned, bizarre and glorious ballpark. I don't want a "new" and "entertaining" Fenway with "conveniences." I want to watch a baseball game at the greatest ballpark in the world.”
Something else Fenway is surely known for is that left field wall, The Green Monster, which measures 37 feet high. It has only been green since the 1947 season because before then, the left field wall was covered with advertisements. It was not until the 2002-2003 offseason that 274 seats were added to the top of the Monster. Those seats have been considered by many baseball fans, Red Sox or not, as the best place to watch a game in the sport.

There is another special seat located in Fenway Park. Section 42, row 37, seat 2. If you arrive to a game early enough you can look out into the right field bleachers and see a painted red seat in the sea of green. This seat signifies one of the most famous home runs in Red Sox history, the longest home run hit in Fenway Park by Red Sox legend, Ted Williams, in 1946.
The history of Fenway is associated with the famous players who lined up to take the field. Hall of Famers Joe Cronin, Bobby Doerr, and Jimmie Foxx played there. Baseball legends Joe DiMaggio and Babe Ruth played there. The record breaking 2004 World Series team played there. Memories of Fenway date back all the way to 1912 as its 100th birthday nears.
Fan George V. Mitrovich, like most of Red Sox nation, feels a connection with Fenway and believe it is a place that should remain alive forever. He said, “Historians will demur, but Fenway Park is better known than the Tea Party, Paul Revere's ride, or Faneuil Hall. When a place has been visited by more than 100 million people, inspired a million stories, drawn baseball worshippers from around the world, such a place belongs not to the wrecking ball, but to the ages.” There is no way Fenway Park could ever be recreated with a new stadium. You can’t recreate it. There is nothing like it, and there never will be. So here’s to 100 years of Fenway Park, and to 100 more!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Fenway's Soccer Tradition Returns

A soccer match at Fenway park last summer when
Celtic F.C. took on Sporting Club de Portugal. (Courtesy of NESN.)

Fenway Park’s most memorable moments have come from a 100-year history of Red Sox greatness, blunders and everything in between. However, one Fenway tradition that stretches back to 1931 has nothing to with the Red Sox. That tradition is soccer and it is being brought back to Fenway Park this summer.

It is no surprise to see John Henry and the Fenway Sports Group bringing their newly purchased English Premier League team for a summer tour stateside. Liverpool F.C., one of the largest and most recognizable soccer teams in the world, will be coming to the United States and will be playing a highly anticipated game at Fenway Park on July 25.

Liverpool F.C. team crest.
This will be the first time Liverpool have come to the U.S. since 2004 and will be only the second soccer match played in Fenway in over 40 years.

Henry, principal owner of Fenway Sports Group, is bringing the club to Fenway as part of Fenway Park’s 100-year anniversary celebration and is hoping to show off the stadium to a whole new audience.

In a statement Henry said, “During its 100-year history, Fenway Park has hosted some of the best in athletic competition, and a match between Liverpool and AS Roma – two of the world’s most well-known and respected clubs – is an appropriate way to help celebrate Fenway’s 100th anniversary and showcase our ballpark to an international audience.”

The very first soccer match at Fenway took place on May 30, 1931 with 8,000 fans showing up to watch the New York Yankees of the American Soccer League take on Scottish club Celtic F.C.

Since then Fenway has hosted 19 soccer matches, but up until 2010 it had lacked soccer for almost 40 years. It was only fitting that Celtic F.C. broke the soccer drought at Fenway on July 21, 2010 when they played against Sporting C.P. of Portugal.

“During its 98-year history, Fenway Park has been privileged to witness some of the best in athletic competition, not only in baseball, but in football, boxing and most recently in hockey with the 2010 NHL Winter Classic,” Sam Kennedy, executive vice-president and COO of the Boston Red Sox and president of Fenway Sports Group, said in 2010 via a Red Sox press release. “This match is a tremendous opportunity to highlight some of the top talent in the soccer world, and we want to thank Celtic F.C. and Sporting C.P. for bringing the sport here for the first time in over 40 years.”

Steven Gerrard, Liverpool F.C. team captain,
will lead his team into Fenway.
Liverpool will now continue this proud soccer tradition with the game against A.S. Roma from Italy. Two of the biggest clubs in the world bringing soccer to Fenway yet again and fans are excited.

“Im really excited about it and they have a big fan base all over the world so it’s great that they chose the United States and Boston,” said Ben Parinello, a 21 year-old Liverpool supporter living in Boston. “Not everyone gets a chance to go to England and see they’re favorite team play and Fenway is a great venue so I cant wait. ”

Fans should be excited because it sounds like there will be more soccer at Fenway to come. The Fenway Sports Group’s recent acquisition of Liverpool shows it’s commitment to growing the sport.

Liverpool will use Boston as it’s home base during the North American summer tour and will host pre-season training sessions at Harvard University.

College Day at Fenway Park

Source: The Beantown Bloggery

This past September Fenway Park hosted College Day where all college students got into the park for free with a student ID. Sponsored by Student Universe, students had the opportunity to visit the iconic stadium for free and win prizes from multiple brands. Some of these brands included Bruins tickets, Red Sox Tickets, Mount Snow Passes, Dunkin Donuts gift cards, and more.

College Day wasn’t just about baseball—it was about the students. The first 100 students in line were given free day passes to use Hubway bikes for a day. Throughout the entire day there was one-of-a-kind photo ops, giveaways, door prizes, free food.

The crowd flooding into the park.
The line wrapped about the entire park with students eagerly waiting to get inside. Students were welcomed with bags full of random free goodies that they could keep and use to collect their free items throughout the day. There were raffles and competitions where students from all schools played against each other for free things. 

“It was wicked cool. I won a free mini basketball hoop just for playing a game,” said Joe Laviano, a student at Northeastern University who attended the event. He continued by saying, “I hope they do it again next year. Not a lot of people get the chance to go to Fenway for free, and get free stuff for going!”

Students had a chance to take a photo with the park in the background and Wally the Green Monster by their side. Later they were able to see all of the photos on the event Facebook page! The day was a success and memorable for many fans who have never had the opportunity to visit there ever before. Hopefully Fenway hosts more events like this in years to come.