WINCHESTER – John Updike has a lot to answer for. That “lyric little bandbox” stuff is getting pretty thick on the ground these days with the Fenway Park centenary. Basically, the place is just some grass surrounded by a lot of uncomfortable seats (some of them behind poles) with not enough legroom. Oh, and don’t forget all those nifty ads Red Sox ownership has plastered over seemingly every flat surface visible to a camera. Hurrah for the purity of the national pastime and of fathers playing catch with sons!
All right, Fenway’s much more than that: a landmark in New England’s civic imagination more imposing and beloved than any other. It’s been the site not just of athletic contests (soccer and football and even hockey, as well as baseball), but also political rallies and rock concerts, citizenship ceremonies and religious services. Yes, the old ballyard has been a place of traditional public worship as well as the Carmine Hose kind.