Red Sox News: Football returns to Fenway Park

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Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, is undergoing a transformation into a football venue for when the highly ranked “Fighting Irish “(Is that allowed under PC?) of Notre Dame come to Boston to be upset by the Eagles of Boston College. Yes….I happen to be a BC graduate.

Football is nothing new at Fenway Park. I attended a game in 1963 when the then Boston Patriots played the Buffalo Bills. I do remember a rather sparse crowd, a misty and cold evening and Cookie Gilchrist of the Bills running wild. The Patriots did have a tendency to move as they attempted to find a permanent residence.

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In the recent history, Fenway has had concerts as annual summer events. Some have been headlined by (to me) very familiar names and others I have to research to discover who they are. What it does is bring in revenue and for ownership and that is certainly positive – no telling when an overweight free agent will come on the market or an equally overpriced ace to shore up the last place flagship of the park – the Red Sox.

Fenway has a long history of being a multi-use park. Hockey is now fast becoming a yearly event with either the National Hockey League or one of the top ranked local colleges putting the hurt on an opponent. In 1954, the Harlem Globe Trotters played a game against George Mikan and the United States All-Stars. Boxing matches – when boxing was actually relevant – were frequent, especially if the key ingredient of a local favorite was on the top of the card.

Soccer – a sport I admittedly detest – has been played at Fenway with the first contest played in 1931 and featured a goaltender named Johnny Reder holding down that position for the visiting New York Yankees. Not a very original name, but Reder played a bit for the Red Sox in 1932. Recently Liverpool – another scion of the Fenway Sports Group – paid a visit to Fenway. I am told by those that follow, the other football, that Liverpool is an élite and historic team in the kingdom of soccer. From what I have been able to gather soccer hooligans have not been an issue at Fenway.

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Football of the professional variety has long been a staple of Fenway and the now long gone Braves Field. Various leagues and teams surfaced in Boston as football attempted to find a niche in the wallets of the sporting public. Shamrocks, Redskins (PC again?), Yanks and Patriots all played as did a handful of college teams.

What intrigues me is the latest adventure in extreme sports that will soon be at Fenway Park: Snowboarding and Freeskiing. On another day when my body was actually one with minimal aches and pains as opposed to the wreck it is today, such at-risk sports had a certain appeal. For the now what better than to simply watch someone else test the medical capabilities of the orthopedic departments of the Boston area?

Originally when I saw the pictures of the tower being constructed visions of a dramatic sled ride whooshed into my head. I had been on the bobsled ride at Lake Placid and my reaction was another moment on the cusp of insanity was a possibility. But, unfortunately, the tower is just being built for the contestants.

Next: Red Sox Say Goodbye To Rich Hill Going To Oakland

When Notre Dame comes to town on November 21st it will not be the first football game at Fenway, but just one of many in Fenway history, and this one will be remembered for being a historic upset.

Sources: Baseball Almanac
MLB.com