I enjoyed Larry Thornberry's review of John W. Ferguson's Why Fenway:Exploring the Red Sox Mystique. As someone who has attended more than 70 games at Fenway since 2000 perhaps what is most amazing is how much it has changed over the past decade.
The changes, of course, began after John Henry and Tom Werner took over the club in 2002. It is worth remembering that there was talk by Red Sox ownership in the late 1990s and early 2000s about building a new Fenway. There was strong community opposition which coalesced into a coalition called "Save Fenway Park." Even Ralph Nader got in on the act.
All talk of a new ballpark stopped once the Henry/Werner group came into the picture. They were committed not only to preserving Fenway Park but enhancing it. Red Sox President Larry Lucchino estimates the team has spent "about $285 million" renovating the oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball. The most obvious changes were the addition of seats above the Green Monster in left field and the construction of the right field pavilion. The additions have been so seamless it's as if they were always there. But a lot of the changes that have been made aren't visible to those who watch Red Sox games on TV. There have been significant renovations to the concourses and concession areas. When I first went to Fenway those areas were like a dark, overcrowded basement. And heaven help you if you were there during a rain delay. Today, the lighting has improved and it is much easier to move about the ballpark.
Of course, there's always room for improvement. For instance, the seats in the grandstands were constructed at a time when the average American male was 5,6 and 140 pounds. Let's just say it can be a tight fit. Nevertheless, Fenway Park is a national treasure. The same, however, cannot be said of the Red Sox thus far in 2011.