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Why going to Fenway Park is better than ever

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This isn't your father's ballpark. Except it is, which is the cool part.

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Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Not every ballpark in the majors is in its best shape, but Fenway Park has never been better. There are generally the ballparks that work and the ballparks that don’t work, and Fenway has forever fit into the former category, warts and all. Tropicana Field it is not.

Changes over the years have smoothed over the warts, and it works as smoothly as ever. Being a baseball park that works takes work itself, and the Sox’s owners have put in the time to bring Fenway into the modern age as a thriving, vibrant stadium that doubles as a museum to the history of Red Sox baseball. The Fenway of today is not the same as the Fenway of 40 years ago. This one is much better. Here are a few reasons why, ranked versus the ghost of Fenway past.

Better Upholstery

The greatness of newer Fenway is apparent before you even get inside the building. People forget this, but the Red Sox went 86 years between World Series-winning seasons, only to snap the drought in 2004 and win again in 2007 and 2013. Really, this happened. Great, right? Well, they have banners with those years and achievements printed on them hanging from the park, which they didn’t have when they were stuck on five titles for your grandmother’s lifetime. It is my humble opinion that more banners is good.

Advantage: The present


The Ted Williams statue

Prior to 2004, the Red Sox had not won the World Series since 1918, a fact to which we’ve referenced. Prior to the 2004 season, the team and city of Boston unveiled a statue of Ted Williams with a little boy, symbolic of Williams’ extensive work with the Jimmy Fund. That year, the Red Sox won it all. So the competition here is "no statue, no new titles" versus "cool statue for a good cause, three titles." Which isn’t really a competition.

Advantage: The present


The Monster Seats

The most conspicuous change to the stadium in history is also the most inspired and the best. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that the seats atop the Green Monster are the best addition to any ballpark, anywhere. Watching clips of homers over the left-field fence in the pre-Monster Seat days (Carlton Fisk and Bucky F’in Dent, most of the time) feels like watching a newscast in black-and-white. It’s not merely that the stadium is better now. It’s that it’s so much better that it’s hard to believe it hasn’t been like this forever. At least in the case of television, they didn’t have the technology. The empty net up there was simply a matter of a lack of imagination. The seats were installed between the 2002 and 2003 seasons with extras added in 2005 and are the most iconic part of the ballpark besides the wall itself.AD

Strong advantage: The present


The wiggle room

Since 2002, the Red Sox have closed off Yawkey Way for two hours prior to every game, making it available to ticketholders only. Previously, you just handed your ticket over at the gate (and yes, you really handed it, because we weren’t scanning yet), went inside, and that was that. This wouldn’t necessarily be a big deal, but given Fenway’s cramped confines, the extra space has been a revelation for ticketholders who like to retain the ability to stretch their legs or just long to get a pregame look at Jerry Remy in the flesh. It never disappoints.

Advantage: The present


Wi-Fi

The traffic light had barely been invented when Fenway Park invented in 1912, leastwise the computer, the internet, and, finally, wireless connectivity. Now all visitors to Fenway Park get fast and free Wi-Fi. Take that, The Past!

Advantage: The present


New for 2017

While it’s charming for us to be a little cramped during our Fenway experience, the same doesn’t hold true for the players, who for decades were subject to facilities built for the smaller humans of the early 20th century. That has been changing. Both dugouts were expanded by 3 feet entering this season, which is good news for the Sox and their opponents alike. Plus, there’s a new whiskey-themed bar in the right-field grandstand, and whiskey is quite good. Finally, there’s a virtual-reality kids batting cage that was introduced in 2016 that lets young ones try to out-hit Pablo Sandoval without costing the Sox tens of millions of dollars. It’s a great deal for everyone.

Advantage: The present


Overall

That’s all of our categories today. Let’s look at the tally:

Fenway Park is better now: 6

Fenway Park was better in the past: 0

Well shoot, that was easy, as is getting to Fenway if you know where to look, so see the Sox today, and don’t delay. It doesn’t get much better than this... until they add another banner, at least.


Whether you’re a baseball junkie or casual fan, games are better at the ballpark. Grab seats at StubHub and be part of the action at Fenway Park. And, download the StubHub app to choose the perfect seats with 360* views from your section