Built in 1911-12 for $650,000, Fenway Park opened for business in 1912, and 108 years later the ballpark, which sits on land between Brookline Avenue, Jersey Street, Van Ness Street, and Lansdowne Street in Boston, Massachusetts, is still hosting Red Sox’ baseball games.
“This place is unbelievable, it really is,” Washington Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez said this weekend, as his club played the Red Sox in a three-game set.
“One of my favorite places to play here. Wrigley is the other one. Two of the oldest parks. But it’s so much memory, so much history. It’s cool.”
Martinez, who played 24 games in Fenway in his own career, putting up a .218/.322/.295 line in the Sox’ home, talked over the weekend about doing some of the tourist stuff while in the park.
“I plan on tomorrow seeing if I can get up to the top of that wall and take some pictures. I’ve done it before. I signed the back of the wall before, but it would be nice to go back up there and see it all again.”
Juan Soto, who grew up a fan of Manny Ramirez, excitedly toured the ballpark before the series opener on Friday, and, according to his manager, the 21-year-old slugger was awed by what he saw.
“It was cool for him, cool for all the young guys,” Martinez said.
“I talked to [Soto] during batting practice today and told them they’re playing in one of the most historic fields in the game. There’s only really two that are standing, Wrigley, and this one, so it’s an honor to be playing here for some of these young kids.”
Soto, apparently, made the most of the opportunity.
“They really took advantage of it. Juan, like you said, I know he’s a big Manny fan,” the third-year skipper said. “He was disappointed because he didn’t play left field today. He said that was the last time he wants to DH. We’ll see. He wants to be out in left field tomorrow to play the Green Monster, so he’ll be back out there tomorrow.”
Max Scherzer talked after his outing in the first of three in Fenway, about playing in the park, and whether or not he adjusted his approach to the field.
“There will be a few pitches that you throw throughout the night that you’re cognizant of a hitter that might be looking to use the wall, or looking to drive the ball to that side of the park given their skill sets,” the 36-year-old, 13-year veteran said after his sixth career start in the park, where he now has a 2.87 ERA and a .261/.323/.366 line against after giving up one run on six hits while striking out 11 in six innings on Friday night.
“Every now and then you have to worry about it,” Scherzer acknowledge, “but for the most part, you just try to execute your game plan. You can’t worry about what the park looks like.
“I believe if you execute a pitch you should be looking to get a swing and miss, and so that’s how I look at trying to execute pitches sometimes and really take the ballpark out of it.”
Aníbal Sánchez, who signed with the Red Sox as an amateur free agent out of Venezuela in 2001, and played two seasons in Boston’s system in 2004-2005 before he was dealt to Miami in a seven-player trade, recalled traveling to the park as he dreamt of one day playing in front of the Green Monster.
“I remember before I started warming up in the bullpen,” Sánchez said on Saturday night after his second career start in Fenway.
“I just told the pitching coach a story because when I was a minor leagues, I played Low-A in Lowell, Massachusetts, and Portland, [ME], so those cities are very close to here, so all the time that we got a day off I came to the field, and we got to sit on the Green Monster.
“And you watch the game, and I was saying one day I can run on the field and pitch and then I’m here.”