5 Ways Red Sox's Fenway Park Is Still the Best Ballpark in Baseball

Doug Mead@@Sports_A_HolicCorrespondent IApril 10, 2013

5 Ways Red Sox's Fenway Park Is Still the Best Ballpark in Baseball

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    The longest sellout streak in MLB history officially came to an end on Wednesday.

    The Boston Red Sox sold out a game against the Texas Rangers on May 14, 2003. They have since gone on to sell every ticket for each home contest for the next 791 regular-season games.

    The Red Sox sold out their 456th consecutive home game on Sept. 8, 2008, breaking the record held by the Cleveland Indians. The Indians had sold out 455 consecutive games between 1995 and 2001.

    The Sox would extend their record by another 336 games, reaching No. 792 on their home opener on Monday.

    According to Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe, however, that streak was to finally end on Wednesday. The Sox had only sold approximately 30,000 tickets, well short of the current capacity of 37,499.

    Just what was it exactly that led to the nearly 10-year run of consecutive sellouts? Well, a combination of events transpired to make that happen.

    For one, the fact that Fenway Park is the oldest park in the majors didn't hurt. Its standing as a member of the National Register of Historic Places doesn't hurt, either.

    The fact that the Red Sox have been competitive each year since the beginning of the streak—save for last season—helped prolong the streak as well.

    It also didn't hurt that the Red Sox routinely gave away free tickets in order to keep their streak alive.

    It was highly unlikely they would have chosen to give away close to 7,000 free tickets on Wednesday for the sake of the streak, and ultimately that did not occur.

    Despite the streak coming to an end, Fenway Park is still an incredible venue in which to watch a game.

    Here are five reasons why Fenway Park is still one of the best ballparks in all of baseball.

The Green Monster

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    For many years now the left-field wall at Fenway Park has been known as the Green Monster.

    Standing 37 feet tall, the Green Monster has routinely robbed hitters of sure home runs as they stung shots that easily would have been long gone in other ballparks. All too often they wound up on first or second base as the wall once again took away a sure home run.

    Red Sox ownership took advantage of that wall by adding seats along the top of the Green Monster prior to the 2003 season. The Monster seats added a unique view for fans and is now one of the most popular seating sections in the entire park.

A Rite of Passage for Every Nostalgic Baseball Fan

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    Ask every passionate baseball fan about the one place they'd love to go to watch a game, and I'll venture to say that 80-90 percent of those questioned would say Fenway Park.

    In fact, TripAdvisor.com recently conducted a poll that listed Fenway as the fourth-best park to see a game. PNC Park in Pittsburgh, AT&T Park in San Francisco and Camden Yards in Baltimore were the only parks listed above Fenway.

    Considering all three parks are relatively new and feature state-of-the-art amenities, it's understandable they would be ranked higher. But fans still prefer the nostalgic experience provided by Fenway.

    Simply by being the oldest park in the majors, Fenway is an automatic lure for fans who want to share in baseball's history and tradition.

    In a sport that cherishes its memories, fans in turn share in the nostalgic nature of the game. A trip to Fenway Park for many fans is a rite of passage that is a must-do on their bucket lists.

The Manual Scoreboard

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    Almost as famous as the Green Monster, the manual scoreboard that represents a large portion of the left-field wall is also a unique landmark.

    Added back in 1934, there have been few changes made to the scoreboard. Everything is updated by attendants behind the wall, and National League scores posted on the scoreboard are actually updated by those same attendants outside the wall between innings.

    Many of the greatest players in MLB history have gone behind the wall to add their signatures inside, becoming a permanent part of its history.

Close Proximity to the Action on the Field

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    When the construction of Fenway Park commenced back in 1911, they had little space within the Fenway-Kenmore Square area of Boston in which to build.

    Because of its condensed area, the foul play region of the park is one of the smallest of any park in the majors. As such, fans purchasing front-row seats throughout the park are up close to all of the action.

    Its tight surroundings add to the lure—and while the modern amenities in other parks are big-time draws for today's generation of fans, nowhere else in baseball can a fan feel like they're on top of the action quite like at Fenway Park.

Despite Its Obvious Flaws, Fenway Park Still Attracts Fans in Droves

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    In terms of aesthetics, there is a lot not to like about Fenway Park.

    For one, the steel beams that abound along the right field section and other areas create obstructed-view seats.

    In addition, many seats along the right field line actually face the outfield rather than home plate, requiring fans to crane their necks to take in all of the action.

    Yet the park still sold out for the better part of 10 years.

    Red Sox ownership committed nearly $300 million to complete renovations to Fenway Park. While the park itself has obstructed-view seats and other flaws, fans still flocked through the turnstiles to take in the experience.

    As a youngster growing up in the Boston area, I attended close to 300 games at Fenway over the years, including the seventh game of the 1975 World Series between the Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds.

    Its rich history, quaint surroundings, quirky dimensions and unique landmarks are what makes Fenway Park one of the best stadiums in the majors.

    Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.