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Located just outside the centre of Boston is Fenway Park, the holy grail of every baseball fan. This baseball stadium and home of the Boston Red Sox is the oldest baseball stadium in the United States still in use. It is famous for its intimate atmosphere, nostalgia and of course… the Green Monster!
Fenway Park is the pride of the Bostonians. When the Boston Red Sox are playing a home game, it is as if the entire city makes its way to the stadium. Hordes of fans march en masse from the city centre to Fenway Park, all wearing a red or blue Red Sox T-shirt or a baseball cap with the Red Sox logo, the iconic red sock. Going to a ball game is a special experience and, if you have the opportunity, is highly recommended.
The stadium, designed by architect James McLaughlin, opened its doors in 1912. Its baptism of fire took place on 20 April that same year when the Boston Red Sox played their first game against the New York Highlanders (later the Yankees). Since that time, very little has changed inside the stadium which actually gives it much of its charm. With all of today’s high-tech stadiums, Fenway Park is a baseball temple full of nostalgia.
Fenway Park is unique in a number of ways. One of its most famous features is the Green Monster, the green wall on the left side of the playing field. The Green Monster is famous due to its enormous height, making it extremely difficult for players to hit a homerun as the ball rarely makes it over the monster. Many balls also bounce off the wall back into the playing field. The monster was originally blue and covered with advertisements. ‘The Wall’ was not painted green until 1947 which led to its legendary nickname.
The scoreboard on the green wall also holds a special place in the hearts of Red Sox fans. When it was installed in 1934, it was one of the most advanced scoreboards in the world, with coloured lights indicating the number of balls and strikes. Naturally, the technology behind it has evolved many times over since then but the scoreboard at Fenway Park has not changed. A 3-man team manually changes the score, inning after inning. They also keep track of the scores of other American League games. This is no small task, since the numbers are made of steel, each 40 x 40 centimetres in size and weighing 1.5 kilos. National League scores have been followed on electronic boards since 1975.
Another special feature of the stadium is seat 21 in row 37 of section 42, where the longest homerun ball in the history of Fenway Park landed. This seat is also nicknamed the Red Seat, the only seat in the stadium that is red.
Guided tours of Fenway Park are offered daily. During the tour, an enthusiastic guide tells you all the ins and outs of America’s most legendary baseball stadium. Naturally, the best way to experience Fenway Park is during a game. It is advisable to purchase tickets ahead of time via the Boston Red Sox website, although you can also ask about ticket availability at the ticket counter on the day of the game.