On Friday afternoon, I sat with 50+ MIT alums on the monster. The Green Monster, to be exact. It was the first shift of the Fenway tours at Tech Reunions ′09, and it promised to be memorable—from the black and white scuff marks where home runs smack the 11.3 meter Green Monster wall to the sparkling red seat in the right field bleachers, a seat meant to commemorate the longest measurable home run ever hit inside the park. (Props to Ted Williams for the 1946 502-foot blast.)
Here are a few highlights that struck the alums and myself as particularly noteworthy:
- Manual scoreboard: The park still uses a manual scoreboard that was installed in 1934. Evidently, three guys sit behind the board in a little room that’s only large enough to squat in. There’s no running water, bathrooms, heat or AC. Scoreboard workers have to wear ear plugs throughout the game because if a ball hits the board, the sound is deafening. According to our tour guide, there’s a 7000-person wait list for the job.
- Beating the Yankees on day 1: The first game the Sox played was against the New York Highlanders (later named the Yankees) in 1912. They won 7-6 in 11 innings before 27,000 fans.
- National landmark: Fenway will turn 100 years old in 2012, at which point it may become a national landmark. Other facets of the park are already considered historic treasures, including a number of original oak seats in the grandstands and, of course, the manual scoreboard.
- Yawkeys’ mark: The initials of Thomas A. Yawkey and Jean R. Yawkey, longtime Red Sox owners, are recorded in Morse code down the side of the scoreboard.