The Red Sox New Fenway Olympic Stadium
The first stage of the Olympic selection process is complete and Boston is now tossed into the international competition. The final decision is expected in 2017 and at that point Boston may be the home for the 2024 Olympiad.
The centerpiece of this every four-year social gathering is the Olympic Stadium and that brings about what to do with the stadium when everyone packs up and leaves.
There is local discussion that the stadium could become the new home of the Boston Red Sox since in the past Olympic stadiums have been converted to baseball venues with mixed results.
The first example was the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum that was used for the 1932 extravaganza or Olympiad X and later for Olympiad XXIII. The stadium was ideal for football since it had been built for that in 1923, but for baseball?
The Dodgers spent a few seasons until Dodger Stadium was complete and the configuration at the Coliseum was adventurous with a 251’ left field with a 40’ mesh screen to at least attempt to bring some legitimacy to the field. Then there was center field that ended somewhere near the outskirts of San Diego.
The latest is in Atlanta where the field has been reconfigured for the Braves and that ball yard is about to be visited by Mr. Demo. Previous stadiums such as those in Toronto and Montreal have been used or continued to be used in baseball.
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Olympic stadiums are a notch or two under the latest generation of baseball only fields. They are casual dining and the new baseball only parks are five-star dining.
Now for Boston.
What does Boston do with an Olympic stadium?
Forget football. The stadiums are excellent for football, but the local football team is firmly entrenched in their own fiefdom in Foxboro. No way will the Kraft’s leave that real estate empire for a return to Boston. Cross that off the list.
Same with college football. Boston College is set in Alumni Stadium and Harvard has their own ancient edifice that they occasionally fill. The other local schools are far down on the football food chain and somehow a stadium with 5,000 seats filled is not exactly an excellent fiscal prospect. Another no go.
The only alternative for filling dates is tractor pulls, concerts, and baseball. So baseball it is.
Why would the Red Sox move? They have a real estate empire of their own in the Fenway area that even the Kraft’s would envy. The value of the team has a direct connection to the iconic ballpark and then tack on the reported 300M the Red Sox have spent on renovations. Why give up that investment and the tax breaks for being historic?
The Red Sox are now owners and not renters. Renters they will be unless the clan that runs this festival tossed the keys to the Red Sox gratis. The Red Sox would probably turn it down.
Then comes the emotional boundaries. I have no deep-seated passion for Fenway Park. The sight lines are terrible, the seats uncomfortable, the odors should have the EPA on site in hazmat suits and those are the good points. I just happen to think it is one of the bottom five in ball parks.
I may be Debbie Downer, but the majority of RSN loves the place. The management in their typical branding mania have labeled Fenway “America’s most beloved ballpark.” Dumping Fenway would be the same as turning the Pubic Gardens into a go-kart track.
If you build it they will come will be 100% correct until they leave after the Olympics. Then you are stuck. I’ll have to see what our local Olympic nabobs have to say on this issue, but my assumption is it will be smoke and mirrors.