Renovations at Fenway Almost Complete

The proposed New Fenway Park in 1999.

Call me a nerd, but one part of the Red Sox offseason I always look forward to is the additions and changes around old Fenway Park. Nearly 99 years old, Fenway has seen it all over the years. When new Red Sox ownership took over in 2002, they wanted it to see even more. Headed by club President and CEO Larry Lucchino, the ownership had a vision to maintain baseball’s most beloved ballpark.

As recently as 1999, former Red Sox CEO John Harrington proposed a new Fenway Park across the street and parallel to Yawkey Way. This proposed stadium would seat over 44,000 people and be done by 2003 had the deal gone through. Thankfully it didn’t and the new regime came in with a vision to save Fenway Park.

This offseason marks the tenth and final year of improvements to Fenway. In order to upgrade the out-of-date park it required a renovation spanning several seasons and one in which would not hinder the ability of the club to play April-October.

2002: “Dugout” seats were added next to each dugout behind home plate. In September the Red Sox unveiled the Yawkey Way outdoor concourse which made the famous street part of the stadium, as it required a ticket to get onto and had concession stands, stores, entertainment, and more.

2003: 269 Green Monster seats were constructed atop the Monster. Baseball’s new best ticket, these seats were tough to get. Many had visualized a catwalk of sorts where fans could walk on top of the Monster, and ownership went one step further adding the seats without getting away from the lust of the park. More seating was installed behind home plate. In August the Sox unveiled the “Big Concourse” under the bleachers and right field grandstand which expanded the space and food options.

2004: The roof above the retired numbers in the right field grandstand was transformed into the Budweiser seats. 192 seats included tables and an outdoor bar for a unique experience in an otherwise potentially undesirable location for many so far away from the action. The “Third Base Concourse” was also completed and much like the “Big Concourse” a year earlier, it expanded space and foot options on the opposite side of the park. These additions must have been good luck as this marked the first time in 86-years the Sox won the series.

2005: A new playing surface was installed during the offseason, one that would drain better when it rained. The Red Sox clubhouse also saw significant upgrades including a weight room, a player’s lounge, an expanded training room, an expanded media room, and more. Also, the Red Sox knocked down the wall that closed the stadium above the first base grandstand. By knocking down this wall, they opened up a significant portion of space to be known as the “First Base Deck” which served a similar purpose as the “Big Concourse” and “Third Base Concourse.”

2006: The glass covered .406 club behind home plate was reconstructed into the EMC Club and State Street Pavilion, as corporations bought rights to boxes behind the plate and up and down the lines.

2007: A “Third Base Deck” was constructed much like the “First Base Deck” two years earlier. Suites on the third base side were also remodeled. A batting cage on the third base side was installed for visiting ball clubs, and the press boxes were expanded and upgraded.

2008: The Coca-Cola seats were installed atop the left field grandstand adding 412 new seats, and the State Street Pavilion further extended further down the baselines. The bleacher seats were all replaced and new concrete replaced the old concrete below them.

2009: The lower seating bowl behind home plate also saw concrete improvements as seats were refurbished and replaced. 560 seats were added along the right field roof, as the seats extended along the skyline down the first base line included the Cumberland Farms seats. Also, the Jeano building on the corner of Lansdowne Street and Brookline Avenue was refurbished as the structure that housed the front office and Game On! saw a major upgrade.

2010: The left field seats saw the concrete and seat improvements as the project tackled a different part of the park. Many concession, restroom, and concourse improvements were done throughout the stadium.

2011: Three new HD boards will be installed to replace the existing ones on top of the bleachers that were outdated. The left field seats will see the concrete and seat overhaul to finish off the roundabout of the entire stadium. Gate D and many concession stands also will have upgrades. Much of the concrete within the old concourses is being repaired as well.

New HD video boards on the way.

The Red Sox have announced that these renovations have totaled roughly $285 million dollars with the hope being that the improvements will keep Fenway around for 30-40 more years.

A large investment indeed, but one that Red Sox fans are very pleased with. Now with focus on the team on the field, start counting down the days until pitchers and catchers on February 14th… it’s less than a month away.

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