The 100-year anniversary celebration at Fenway Park was an experience every Red Sox fan could enjoy. Sitting down to actually watch a game at Fenway Park, however, is not so enjoyable.
From the seating situation to fans singing "Sweet Caroline" when Boston is losing, it's time for a change at Fenway.
Owner John Henry, President Larry Lucchino and Chairman Tom Werner should be ashamed of the seating situation at Fenway Park. In 2005, Dr. Charles Steinberg, Red Sox former vice president of public relations, told the Boston Globe:
I know that when we got here, we were amazed and amused at some of the quirky seats we've got here. Seats squarely behind poles. Seats that had been installed before we got here in a cross aisle where fans have to shimmy on through with a lot of excuse me's. I think it's clear that the work of these annual Fenway improvements is far from done. The main focus of our improvements has been more seats, more space, more information. So the new seats that you build [such as those above the Green Monster] are the roomy alternative to the odd ones and the cramped ones.
It's 2012. It’s been three years since a playoff berth. Fenway is still quirky. The ladder that’s in play on the green monster is quirky — the giant steel beam that blocks your view of the field is not.
Let’s be fair. The Red Sox have spent $285 million on renovating Fenway Park. They should be commended for their work. But that’s it for the facelift. The seats are still far from perfect and there will be no more improvements at Fenway (mlb.com).
While the Red Sox have put money into the overall fan experience, not much thought has gone into the overall viewing of the game. Dr. Steinberg's sentiment back in 2005 was nice, it just never became a reality. Lucchino likes to think of Fenway Park as a “living museum” (Boston Herald). Let’s be honest, fans do not want to watch a baseball game in a museum.
The bigger concourse is nice. The extra bathrooms are a perk. But that does nothing to solve the horrendous seating situation at Fenway. Ownership knows there is a comfort problem and addressed some of those issues over the offseason.
The Dugout, Field Box and Loge Box seats were replaced by new seats with cup holders. Dugout and Field Box seats were padded.(mlb.com)
That all sounds fine, but as anyone who has been to Fenway knows: cup holders aren’t the problem.
Many seats do not face the field. Many seats sold as “obstructed-view” offer no view of the field at all.
In addition to the seats, the Red Sox need a philosophical facelift as well.
After all of their effort to improve the fan experience, Red Sox management has eliminated the real fan. According to ESPN, the average ticket price across the league is $26.92. The average ticket price at Fenway is $53.38.
Fenway Park has become the most popular nightclub in Boston and the patrons don't necessarily care for baseball.
When the fans are happily singing “good times feels so good,” there is an obvious disconnect between the people attending the games and what’s actually occurring on the field. No, good times don’t feel so good, when the Red Sox blow an eight-run lead against the Yankees.
You can’t smoke at Fenway anymore, but I’ll take a puff of smoke in the face instead of "Sweet Caroline" any day.
Although the ship has sailed on building a new ballpark, the owners owe their fans a better baseball viewing experience.
Whether that means gutting out every seat in the ballpark, lowering ticket prices or simply not playing "Sweet Caroline" when the Red Sox are losing, something has to be done before the actual baseball fan at Fenway becomes more scarce than a cheap seat.