As the Red Sox approach their centennial in 2001, they confront the painful and necessary decision to replace Fenway Park. The outcry which has accompanied their stated intention has unleashed a torrent of protest and hot air unseen in these parts in years.
While it is clear that both Red Sox management and its adversaries love the existing park for a variety of reasons, it is also clear that the park has been the chief impediment to the team's epic eight- decade quest to regain the world championship it last won in 1918. Not only is the park economically obsolete, but its endearing coziness and dollhouse dimensions have doomed the team competitively since the era of Ty Cobb and Stutz Bearcats. It is time for a new Fenway Park.
When Fenway Park opened in 1912, it was perfectly suited to the dead ball era game played within its snug, asymmetrical confines. From Day One, Fenway was a pitcher's park with ample foul lines and power alleys which worked to the team's advantage at a time when a three-home run season earned a player the nickname "slugger." Left field was a virtual Death Valley for batters as the nimble-footed Duffy Lewis hauled down countless liners and flies while scampering up a 10-foot earthen embankment known simply as "Duffy's Cliff."