Tag Archives: Fenway Park

Get off our lawn: Sox owners again engaging in world’s oldest profession

Tickets were still available less than 24 hours before Wednesday night’s soccer match at Fenway Park between two European soccer clubs you have never heard of before.

It is encouraging to see demand stagnate—even just a little bit—for such a contrived event.

Understand: this isn’t about the presence of a sport other than baseball being played at Fenway Park. (There’s probably been, like, other sporting events hosted at Fenway over the last 100 years or so…Someone oughta make a list.)

But the excessive whoring out of Fenway over the last five years speaks to a new sort of organizational arrogance that John Henry and Co. has established in the Back Bay. Even Scott Brown can see that the current ownership group routinely engages in thinly veiled prostitution of what should be treated as a sacred asset.

Thanks to the immense success, high revenues and national interest generated by their baseball team, these owners assume people should be willing to pay to witness just about anything that takes place on the hallowed Fenway grounds.

Piggybacking on the popularity of the 2010 World Cup, Wednesday night’s soccer match was aimed at striking before the sport’s popularity goes into hibernation for another four years. The only problem is that this particular pairing of two minor league soccer clubs would be like the Portland Sea Dogs taking batting practice in Wembley Stadium. It is an insult to fan intelligence disguised as something other than a recycled idea.

This isn’t a new trend by any means. Lately, the owners have been overplaying their hand when it comes to extracurricular entertainment. Fenway has gone from hosting hall-of-fame acts like Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and the Rolling Stones to shows from the likes of Phish and Jimmy Buffet. At least there’s the local angle for next month’s Aerosmith / J. Geils Band bill.

Sure, all the aforementioned bands are washed up. But at least the first two carried some small semblance of Beatles in Shea Stadium cache. It’s just embarrassing when the outfield gets chewed up because the organization books some overrated act that peaked in the mid-1990s (Dave Matthews Band). In 2025, are we going to be watching commercials advertising “classic rock sensation” Kings of Leon: Live at Fenway Park?

Fine, it’s just a soccer match. The Red Sox owners certainly deserve every bit of praise they have received for all their renovations and updates that creatively keep a landmark alive and profitable, to boot.

Some of these extracurricular events at Fenway are a necessary evil in order to stay profitable. We should all tolerate the various “initiatives” that transform portions of Yawkey Way and its surroundings into a cross between a country fair and a de facto amusement park absent the Ferris Wheel (for now…). After all, Boston’s provincial vice-grip on the past will never come cheap.

One can’t help but wonder, though: How many blatant money-grabs are too many blatant money-grabs?

Even after his father reached ill health, Ted Williams’ son exploited his father’s legacy, imploring him to make appearance after appearance at various events, insisting he sign autographs for significant fees. It was a sickening revelation to many that was brought to light after the fact because his son’s selfishness before and after his father’s death was excessive enough that Ted’s well-being was undoubtedly jeopardized.

This space isn’t accusing the Henry ownership group of anything that perverse yet. After all, John Henry bagged a trophy wife all his own last summer. Some point soon, maybe he’ll be compelled to stop cultivating another.

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Fans bracing for Nomar’s imminent return

BOSTON, Mass.–The looming return of beloved former Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra drew strong feelings from fans this past week.
 
A key member of the 1998, 1999 and 2003 playoff teams, Garciaparra returns to Boston as a player for the first time since being traded in July 2004 on Monday when the Oakland Athletics visit for a three-game set.
 
Passing through Kenmore Square on Thursday while wearing a red-colored bracelet indicating his membership in ‘Red Sox Nation,’ Peter O’Malley, 20, of Sturbridge expressed visible anger. “I can’t believe he’s gonna show his face here again. After what he did trying to ruin the 2004 team? You gotta be kidding me. The minute he left town and Orlando Cabrera came in was the minute I started believing. I bet Nomar was real pissed off when Dave Roberts stole that base.”
 
Mary Richmond, 48, of Manchester, N.H. shared similar bewilderment at his popularity. “He was a clubhouse cancer and never cared about the fans. I used to scream my lungs out until I was hoarse cheering for him. And God forbid he ever stop eating dinner long enough to sign a napkin or one of my boobs. What did Nomar ever do for the community? This current group of Red Sox is a much more likable team with guys like Josh Beckett running that annual bowling tournament–what’s it called–Beckett Bowl?” 
 
Sporting a “Coco 10” jersey tee, Diana Timothy, 52, of Winchester, similarly suggested Nomar’s fidgety routines and malcontent status grew tiresome. “Even the local media turned on him by the end and he’s white..ish. That tells you something right there.”
 
Sitting in a Land Rover SUV outside Twin’s Souvenirs with her two young sons, ages 3 and 6, 34-year-old Matilda Mattern of Wellesley had little to say about the former All-Star shortstop’s prowess a decade ago. “Nomar Garciaparra…You mean Mia Hamm’s husband? He was on the Red Sox, wasn’t he? That was like, 15 years ago or something. Do you know if it’s going to be sunny outside tomorrow?”
 
Joseph Zimmerman, 35, of Brookline, took the jilted lover’s route when asked to analyze Garciaparra’s impact on him as a fan. “Most likely Nomar goes his way and I go mine,” he responded quickly without breaking stride as he walked down Beacon St.
 
“I’m sorry, I really don’t think I can talk about it,” said ‘Jeff White,’ a season ticket holder from Cambridge who asked that his real name be withheld. “I gave my seats away for the three games against Oakland.”
 
After walking away, White circled back and began reading off Garciaparra’s statistics, which he had drawn up on his iPhone. “Look at his wOBA from 1998-2000. And his isolated power stats in the late ’90s and early 2000s read like Jason Varitek’s monthly batting averages over the last couple years. Look at it! Win Shares, Runs Created, RAR, Wins Above Replacement …”
 
White began to choke up reciting the last stat and, blinking away tears, quickly walked away after threatening violence and a defamation lawsuit if his real name were used for this article.
 
Derek McCormick, 29, of Lynn, lamented Garciaparra’s less-than-sociable reputation within the clubhouse, as reported ad nauseum by the Boston media in his final days as a Red Sox. 
 
“Dustin and Francona are always playing dominoes together before games and having a good time pulling pranks on each other,” said McCormick. “I don’t think Nomar even knows how to play dominoes or put a teammate in a playful headlock. He just didn’t fit in anymore I guess.”
 
McCormick, however, didn’t rule out a return to the Red Sox for Garciaparra later in his career as a utility man.
 
“If the money’s right and he learns how to play dominoes and is willing to Irish jig to ‘Shipping Up to Boston,’ I think it could make sense. How cool would that be if he came back? They’d have to put those Coke bottles back up over the Monster so he could dent them with his home runs. Geez, just thinking about that gives me chills…”

Ortiz mashes his first home run of season, receives creepy letter from John Henry

BOSTON, Mass.–Through an exclusive club source, Fenway Pastoral has obtained text from a letter left inside David Ortiz’s locker following the Red Sox’ 8-3 victory Wednesday night. The letter was signed J. H. and is believed to be from lovestruck team owner John Henry.

Dear Papi,

Red Sox fans need a muse. Well, they don’t really. They don’t need nearly as much as they generally think they do. A man is greedy. Greedy for what he doesn’t think he has and what he thinks he wants.

We wouldn’t have won two World Championships without your charismatic presence pushing us. And your home runs were one of the most important byproducts.

So you will ask, “Why are you writing this?” Because your gorgeous, long-anticipated home run stroke in the fifth inning tonight gave a cool spin to this little blue planet from my vantage point.

Fenway feted your first home run of the season tonight and the skies opened. The sun emerged and created a giant rainbow between the city and the park. We were transfixed.

You only saw it if you were in the right place. I was in the right place when I noticed you.

Outside of our occasional, awkward on-field encounters after big wins, I barely know you. I don’t have any illusions about capturing your heart. But the world is brighter, better, lighter and warmer when an owner imbues a slugger he knows—even tabula rasa—with the attributes I believe reside in you. It’s the small things that ultimately matter. The subtle things.

I am honest. I don’t play games. And I see no reason not to say that I’ve been smitten by you and you’ve done this team a great service over the past seven years.

You’ve very innocently made our world brighter, better, lighter and warmer.

So thanks.

No response is necessary because a true Red Sox fan doesn’t need nearly as much as he thinks he does.

Amen, Mr. Henry. Amen.

Fenway/Kenmore residents infuriated over extension of “Fenway Family Hour”

BOSTON, Mass.–Fenway and Kenmore Square area residents are livid over the Boston Red Sox’ announcement Tuesday that hour-long discounts on food concessions will continue throughout the month of May:

Fenway Family Hour, a joint effort between the Red Sox and ARAMARK, was launched in April.  During the month of May, nine popular food items will again be available at up to 50% off in price, including: Fenway Franks, pizza slices, pretzels, popcorn, cotton candy, fruit cups, veggie cups, slider boat (two sliders & fries), and Hoodsie ice cream cups.  The discount is available at all locations throughout the ballpark and there is no limit on the number of items purchased. 

It is a “first hour” provision that has residents particularly upset at the extension, which would seemingly appear to be nothing more than a gesture of good faith by the team to cash-strapped fans. The fine print within the promotion dictates that the discounts are only available for the first hour after the gates are opened (i.e. 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. for a 1 o’clock start). The undesired result, residents say, is a push by fans to arrive for games as early as possible.

“These games are all-day events now,” said 43-year-old Maryanne Donahue as she sat outside her apartment on Park Drive. “Fans are showing up in the area four or five hours before the game even starts so they can get a parking spot and tailgate or go to the bar for a couple hours before the gates open. It’s the Kentucky Derby here every night now.”

Ted Crane, a 25-year resident of the Kenmore Square area, says he’s also noticed an earlier influx of Red Sox fans on game nights this season as compared to prior years.

“These families with a bunch of kids are showing up with their hats and jerseys and novelty license plates…They gotta make sure they’re inside the park for the full hour of half-price food,” says Crane. “And I’ll tell you something else, they’re eating like it’s the Last Supper. Ice cream, hot dogs — sliders, for crissakes, sliders! At Fenway Park! — I’ve had to hose down vomit on the sidewalk in front of my building almost every day.”

As many as 100 Fenway/Kenmore residents have banded together in petitioning Boston Mayor Thomas Menino to order the Red Sox to cease its “Fenway Family Hour” plans for May.

“One month of this was enough,” says Maura Mastarrono, a superintendent of a building on Boylston St. near the park. “With the weather getting warmer in May, I can only imagine fans are going to be filing into the city even earlier in the day. The Landsdowne crowd? I see them strolling into those watering holes at 9 a.m. now so they can get a buzz going before scarfing down a bunch of cheap food.”

City officials did not return repeated requests for comment. However, a Boston Police Department spokesperson assured Fenway Pastoral that, “We have procedures in place for controlling public gluttony and ensuring that the presence of delicious, affordably priced food is not abused.”

Economy, Boston teams’ success taking toll on local scalper/philanthropist

BOSTON, Mass–Ignoring the presence of a few early morning stragglers milling around Yawkey Way and Brookline Ave., Billy Moriarty sidles up to the side of a building, lowers the pants of his blue Adidas tracksuit and urinates on the faded brick wall facing out toward an empty parking lot. Moriarty, 49, snaps his elasticized pants back against his gut and yawns audibly, looking disheveled and exhausted. A long night at the hospital will do that to a man.

Crossing over the Brookline Ave. bridge slowly, Moriarty effectively arrives at his concrete office: For over 20 years, he has supported himself by scalping tickets to Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics games. A mainstay of the Boston sports scene for decades, games can’t be considered ‘big games’ if Moriarty isn’t hawking tickets at a hefty profit. With the Red Sox’ popularity swelling to epic proportions over the last 10 years, Moriarty’s Fenway post has become his bread and butter.

For 81 games each season, Moriarty’s primary job description is scalping Red Sox tickets at his usual post across from Uno’s and Popeye’s Chicken in Kenmore Square. The occupation has become lucrative enough to free him from three decades of living with his mother in a cramped triple-decker in Charlestown and deliver him into a lush, one-bedroom apartment in Roslindale. Not that he ever gets to sleep in his own bed these days.

“Yeah, I sleep there once a week, maybe–when I don’t end up in the hospital all night,” says Moriarty.

Surprisingly, it is not the dangerous, shady world of ticket scalping that lands Moriarty in hospital rooms so frequently. Rather, a newfound life mission has transformed the once reprehensible, skeevy scalper.

“I do volunteer work reading books to kids with cancer at Dana Farber Cancer Institute,” he explains. “I‘d say I‘m there just about every night of the week for five to six hours at least.”

While it is undoubtedly a noble cause Moriarty has undertaken, it has nonetheless rendered him a zombie during daylight hours. His moonlighting as a de facto children’s librarian has quite obviously begun to consume him—bags hang lazily over his sleepless eyes, stubble grows unevenly from his tired face, a stale cigarette stench emanates from his clumsily constructed, ill-maintained physique. His voice has become all but a deliberate rasp, angrily hissing from his throat as though to make his listener shudder.

During the winter months, with just the Celtics and Bruins in season, Moriarty has the occasional night off. But this April has become the perfect storm of commitments now that the Celtics and Bruins are all but assured to still both be playing at least until May. Halfway through a two-week Red Sox homestand, the side effects are already evident. 

“This is just the beginning for me,” says Moriarty. “I just hope sales start to pick up once the weather gets warmer…Tickets aren’t exactly in high demand right now. Times are tough. People aren’t snatching up these tickets an hour before the game starts anymore. I’m here unloading seats until the fourth inning at half face value.” Indeed, even the Red Sox have resorted to some rather predictable, blunt marketing techniques in order to meet historical ticket sale levels. 

This is bad news for Moriarty. The volume of tickets Moriarty is able to flip onto Red Sox fans directly affects his hospital reading routine. After struggling with an alcohol addiction in his more formidable years, Moriarty fended off his dependence by turning to stimulants including cocaine, adderol, Ritalin, oxycontin and other—as he calls them—“cocktails” that help him live his crazy double life.

“I operate on a cash basis in all my business transactions,” Moriarty explains. “If I have less cash from Sox ticket sales coming in than in years past, I don’t get my medications and, unfortunately, the kids I read to suffer. I can’t stay awake all night without my cocktails. And it’s not like I can sell these kids the scattered singles I have left at the end of the night. They’re bedridden, for crissakes. ”

Composing himself, Moriarty takes a long, deliberate gulp of Vick’s 40 cough syrup and chases it with a Monster energy drink to help lubricate his voice box. Hardened and crusty as he is, Moriarty has a gentle side that he rarely shows the outside world. He rebuffs repeated requests to have his photograph taken reading to children and is adamant that no one interrupt this very personal aspect of his life.

Similarly, he refuses to provide names for any of the children he reads to for fear that they will be exploited. His name, he says, will not be familiar if run past hospital officials since he uses an alias–which he also refuses to disclose. 

“My favorite nights are the ones where I’m really feeling connected with a certain character and I start to talk like them in one of my fantasy voices. Sometimes a crowd of like five or ten kids just herds around me. It feels like I‘ve got box seats for the World Series.”

Moriarty is a sucker for the classics when it comes to his choice of reading material. “I’ve probably read the text for Charlotte’s Web aloud over 100 times since I started volunteering,” says Moriarty. “But I’m just as big a fan of Dr. Seuss’ There’s a Wocket in my Pocket and The Touch Me Book as the next guy. A lot of the kids are actually pretty big baseball fans. I’ve read the 2009 Bill James Baseball Handbook to a couple of kids over the last few months. They really seemed to like that. Sometimes we get into pretty heated discussions about stuff — you know, player projections and all that.”

Exclusive: New Frankfurters Are A Hit

BOSTON, Mass–The Boston Globe did an outstanding job earlier this week of getting the scoop on exactly how delectable the new Kayem-produced Fenway Franks will taste this season. Bringing the public this type of information before its competitors has long separated the broadsheet from its evidently inferior competitors. The story’s main sources, Fenway and Kayem marketing executives, provided the following information about the Official Hot Dog of the Red Sox:

“(The) hot dogs begin as large cuts of meat that go through the grinder, get blended with spices such as garlic, onion, and mustard, and then are cooled with a special process so the juiciness is preserved. The meat then gets stuffed into casings, twisted, and hung, and cooked in a smoker, chilled, and dried. The hot dogs are then shot through machines that remove casings, and as the franks move down the production line, inspectors pick off any imperfect ones before the hot dogs make it out of the factory.”

Note: The story’s reporter was kind enough to remove the “For Immediate Release” and public relations contact information that preceded the information above.

Fenway Pastoral sees no reason for honest, hard-working marketing folks to steer fans away from the truth about their products being delicious. Nonetheless, while Boston area police occupied themselves helping old ladies cross the street and parking illegally, we were able to stealthily obtain a limited number of the new frankfurters that will be sold throughout the park this season. The pilfered dogs were cooked in lukewarm water for nearly two minutes and taste tests were subsequently served to unsuspecting, delightfully surprised citizens throughout the metro Boston area.

Outside Government Center, several men identifying themselves as Red Sox enthusiasts jumped at the chance to participate in the sneak-taste. Throwing away a homemade sandwich made by his wife, accountant Bill Tierney gave his hot dog two thumbs up. “Oh yeah…this is a hot dog. Am I going to be in a commercial?”

Staffing specialist Jim Kolb, who took his with mustard and relish, asked for another. “Man, this really tastes like winner! I don’t usually yell this loud, but this is really freaking good!”

After some coaxing, business consultant Margaret Schulman agreed to give one a try as she passed through Downtown Crossing. “You can definitely taste all the work that went into making this. Kayem obviously did a lot of work perfecting the flavors of its hot dog. Is there a hint of hickory in this?”

Told that they were eating the very same brand of hot dog as those enjoyed by team owner John Henry and general manager Theo Epstein, some tasters became downright giddy. Taking a bite out of one end of his dog, Peter Gallagher entered a transformative state: “If he is able to correct his arm slot and continue to mature mentally, Clay Buchholz projects as a top of the rotation starter for us for years to come, employing a plus-fastball and a wicked breaking ball.”

Surprisingly, not everyone was on board with the new taste. Robert McDonald, a former concessions vendor at Fenway Park, declined to even try the new tubesteak. “I worked a grill under the bleachers for 10 years. I wouldn’t put that thing in Jenna Jameson’s mouth while wearing condoms on my fingers.” When asked to elaborate, McDonald declined.

Despite McDonald’s minority opinion, the new Franks figure to be more popular than the recently defunct Conigliaro’s Corner. The icing on the cake, according to economists, is that tubular meat has proven to be exceptionally recession-proof, an important consideration during such lean times.

“We’re projecting a 4% rise in hot dog sales at Fenway Park this year,” said Ed Napolitano, an analyst for BallPark Food Metrics LLC. “That’s a very impressive increase and it would likely be even higher if we were to adjust the data to exclude the statistical noise from the sale of footlongs.”