Fenway Park is as famous for its odd quirks as it is for its primary tenants (that’s the Red Sox, folks). Many of its oddities are as familiar as those in your very own home. It is a destination as much as anything else in Boston.
While its features are renowned for their uniqueness, we wanted to provide Metro’s take on what makes this place special. We will go with eight great features in honor of No. 8, Carl Yastrzemski.
1. Green Monster – You can’t miss it. It’s that big wall in left field. And it is perhaps the most famous landmark in the city, or at least second to the Twin Donuts in Allston. The Monster is just over 37 feet high, 231 feet long (three of which are in foul territory) and incalculable in its place in Fenway Park lore.
2. The Red Seat – Some believe it happened, others don’t. Those that don’t are the jerks that broke the news on Santa Claus in second grade, long before the rest of us were ready for the truth. The one red seat in the bleachers marks the spot where Ted Williams hit a 502-foot home run in 1946. Or at least where some say he did. We were given evidence that it might’ve happened on Tuesday night at Fenway, where Texas outfielder Josh Hamilton parked one not far from the off-colored rump-rester. Hamilton’s blast was measured at 469 feet but remember that changes to the park structure behind home plate over the years have cut down winds that used to blow out to the outfields; Babe Ruth is said to have hit a bomb 545 feet into the old bleachers in 1926.
3. Scoreboard – The only remaining manually operated scoreboard in the game has undergone minor changes over the years but maintains its old school charm (it was actually replaced over a decade ago) along Fenway Park. The best is when an opposing left fielder sizes up a ball ticketed for the Monster, leaps to catch it and comes down scraping one side of his body along the dented metal with the sharp edges. So much fun to watch them writhe in pain, right? Go Sawx! Did you ever notice the Morse code on the scoreboard? Those provide the initials of former owners Thomas and Jean Yawkey.
4. Pesky’s Pole – Just 302 feet down the right-field line, the most famous foul pole in baseball is covered at its base with all sorts of writing, most of which is unsuitable for children. Pesky only hit six career homers at Fenway, but the moniker stuck after one of them won a game. Although it stung Red Sox fans at the time, the most dramatic shot off of it came in the 1999 ALCS against the Yankees, when Darryl Strawberry responded to a 30,000-plus chorus of “Just Say No” chants with a line drive that clanged off the top of the pole. The “ping” could be heard in Portland, and Strawberry never heard another insult.
5.The Triangle – Take your kids the park and give them a geometry lesson. There’s the diamond, the five-sided home plate (that’s a pentagon, children) and lines and angles all over the place. Then there’s “The Triangle,” a place that swallows up outfielders and extra-base hits as far as 420 feet from home plate. Just above and to its right sits a Jordan’s sign that contains a small baseball that needs to be hit for a bunch of people to win free furniture. Unfortunately, it will never, ever happen — for the promotion to work it can only be hit by a Red Sox player and only after July 16, which involves just 35 games. Also, it has to hit the baseball on the sign, not the sign itself. Impossible. Unless David Ortiz has one magical swing later this year we will have to watch those freaking commercials for another year.
6. Bullpens – There are a few parks that still have bullpens down the foul lines, just like in the old days. Nobody has pens that appear to almost be thrust into the outfield like they are at Fenway, almost as if they are a side show to the main stage. And that’s what they’ve become over the years, a place to plant tomatoes, bang on forks or for the fellas to flirt with the honies in the bleachers. A truly unique environment for a reliever, it was created in this way in large part to give Williams a closer target.
7. Citgo sign – Located a big block away from the park, it is no longer visible for most Fenway Park visitors because of the massive video scoreboards installed before the 2011 season. Also, does Citgo even exist anymore? Give me a Hess Express and a 99-cent Mountain Dew and I’m…oh yeah, this is about Fenway turning 100. So, yeah, the Citgo sign is totally cool.
8. Dugouts – In this writer’s estimation, these are the most authentic areas in the park. They are so cramped and covered in decades-old chaw and gum, a place where men can truly be men. We simply love the poles that exist in part for guys to lean on and in part to provide support for a roof that may cave in at any moment. During heavy rains the dugouts can fill with inches of water. Since the 10 years of renovations began, this has emerged as the one place where it can really feel like 1934 all over again. Unfortunately, fans can only experience this if they elude security.