After such a disappointing season, the Boston Red Sox are unlikely to do well on the awards circuit this fall.
They didn’t have much in the way of Gold Glove defense or Silver Slugger power at the plate, and there’s more of a chance of Ted Williams coming back to life than there is of a single pitcher on this roster getting Cy Young votes.
There’s been little to celebrate this year, which is why it was nice to see the Sox take the top spot in one positive ranking recently, as TravelMag voted Fenway Park No. 1 on their list of 10 Best MLB Stadiums in the U.S:
"“There may be no other stadium that is more recognizable than Boston’s Fenway Park. The most distinguishable feature of Fenway Park is the Green Monster, a 37-foot wall in left field built to keep onlookers on Lansdowne St. who did not pay for a ticket from enjoying the sights of the game. The Wall grew in size and reputation after being rebuilt in 1936 and given its green sheen. In 2003, the organization added 269 seats atop the wall, making the view one of the most coveted outfield views in baseball. Opened for play in 1912, Fenway is the oldest active ballpark in the MLB and after a series of renovations now seats 37,755 spectators.”"
Is Fenway Park the best ballpark in Major League Baseball?
In terms of history, no team’s home field can beat Fenway. Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, and David Ortiz all hit there. It’s stood through both World Wars, Prohibition, the Great Depression, desegregation (the Sox took far too long), the rise of commercial airline travel, and the invention of the internet, to name a few significant events of the last 110 years. When Fenway opened in April 1912, you could buy a car for $575.
But I digress.
Is “more recognizable” the same thing as “Best?”
Fenway undoubtedly stands out from the ballpark crowd, the same way a grandmother would stand out among her grandchildren. The park carries its age well, but it’s apparent to anyone who’s visited a newer venue of its kind.
And ‘America’s Most Beloved Ballpark’ is the crown jewel of Boston, but by the article’s own metrics, the rankings are a bit confusing:
"“We have also taken into consideration fan and expert opinions. Each stadium offers a unique aspect, whether it is heaven for home run hitters or a safe haven for pitchers. We based the rankings on sightlines of the game and park amenities, stadium and team history, the field’s impact on the game, and the area surrounding the stadium. We have even considered the food served at each ballpark, whether it is a cheesesteak in Philly or Chinese dumplings and sushi in Seattle.”"
Fenway Park has been my favorite place since I was a baby, but I know that there are plenty of ballparks with better food, more comfortable seats, and stunning views of their own. How is PNC Park, widely considered one of baseball’s most beautiful arenas, all the way down at 10th on the list? Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia is somehow one spot ahead of Oracle Park in San Francisco, where fans can watch home runs soar right into the bay. Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium somehow topped Wrigley Field.
Camden Yards is considered a beautiful ballpark, and its design was even overseen by legendary architect Janet Marie Smith, who also played a key part in the Fenway renovations when the current ownership took over in 2002, and the construction of their Triple-A WooSox. It’s thanks to her that fans can now sit on the Green Monster.
Still, to put Camden Yards second on this list is a bold take. Really, the entire list is a bold take. The introduction even says that these are the “ballparks every fan should visit” – a descriptor that is definitely in a Venn diagram with “best,” but not an entirely overlapping circle – and yet, each ballpark’s bio reads more like a history lesson than an alluring invitation.
If I were to rewrite the Fenway section of this list, I would mention how the unique, trademarked green of the park perfectly contrasts with a deep blue summer sky. And in the evenings, as the sun sets, the sky blazes like fire and then fades into cotton candy-like whisps of pink and purple. Late at night, anyone within a half-mile radius at least can hear the throngs of fans singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and “Sweet Caroline.” The food is overpriced but classic. Above all, it’s a place seeped in history and tradition, a home for generations of fans, and a safe haven from the ever-changing outside world.
But really, to each their own. Some people even like the cold, mausoleum-like quality of the new Yankee Stadium.
At least there’s one thing the Sox were “best” at this year.