Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Change in Plans Required

Quote of the Day: "It's kind of freaky knowing you're diving into somebody's grandpa." -- Coco Crisp

Those who know me understand that Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts, is my favorite place in the whole world. For a sports fan, what better place to be...dead or alive?

Fenway Park is perhaps most famous for the left field wall called the Green Monster. Constructed in 1934, the 37-foot, two-inch high wall is 240 feet long, has a 22-foot deep foundation, and was constructed from 30,000 pounds of Toncan iron. The wall measures 310 feet from home plate down the left field line (although some players and media members have claimed that it is closer to home plate, more like 298 feet, 7 inches!).

The wall houses one of two remaining original manual scoreboards in the major leagues (the other at Wrigley Field). Running vertically down the scoreboard, between the columns of out-of-town scores, are the initials "TAY" and "JRY" displayed in Morse code; a memorial to former Red Sox owners Thomas A. Yawkey and Jean R. Yawkey.

In 1947, advertisements covering the left field wall were painted over using green paint, which gave rise to the Green Monster moniker. In 1975, the wall was remodeled and an electronic scoreboard installed, while the manual scoreboard changed to only show out-of-town scores from other American League games (NL scores returned in 2003).

In 1976, the railroad tin and slate panels in the wall were replaced by a Formica-type panel which resulted in more consistent caroms and less noise when balls hit the wall.
Previously, a 23-½-foot tall screen protected cars and pedestrians on Lansdowne Street. However, the screen was replaced after the 2002 season with the Green Monster seats. Advertisements have also returned to the Green Monster in recent years.

So it came as a shock to me and other Red Sox and Fenway Park fans when the Boston Globe reported recently that the Red Sox say they've gotten so many requests to sprinkle deceased fans' ashes at Fenway Park that they can no longer allow it!

"Oh, ferndocks!" exclaimed Chess Master John Curdo. Born up the road in the seaside town of Lynn, Mr. Curdo has been waiting 77 years to get to his final resting place. "Now I will have to change my plans and notify my family and friends that my final wishes can't be fulfilled. How could they do such a thing to those of us who patiently waited for them to break their 86-year drought?"

"It's a good thing I'm a chessplayer," he added. "I'm accustomed to continually searching for new plans. It doesn't mean I'm happy about it, though."

As for the players, reaction was mixed. "It's not sacriligeous, by any means," reliever Mike Timlin told the newspaper. "Doesn't bother me a bit, ashes to ashes, dust to dust."

Countered center fielder Coco Crisp: "It's kind of freaky knowing you're diving into somebody's grandpa."

By the way, did anyone notice today's date? April Fool! Gotcha.