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From the archives

To please fans – changes at parks – more homers, maybe

Fenway Park’s right field fence being shortened

This photo from the 1930s, in which Boston’s Jimmie Foxx slides safely back into first base, shows Fenway Park’s spacious right field before bullpens were installed in 1940.

Courtesy of Boston Public Library

This photo from the 1930s, in which Boston’s Jimmie Foxx slides safely back into first base, shows Fenway Park’s spacious right field before bullpens were installed in 1940.

Whether he likes it or not, His Royal Highness the baseball fan is to pay more for the pleasure of witnessing his favorite pastime this season. And whether he likes it or not, H.R.H. is in some degree responsible for this added tariff.

It is the old story of supply and demand. At Fenway Park the customers were flooding the mails and the telephone lines with requests for reserved seats on Sundays, holidays and on afternoons of important double-headers. Something had to be done. So the Red Sox eliminated the 85-cent pavilion section and reconstructed the entire grandstand so it now runs out into the concrete bleachers.

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At National League Field the cast clients have always complained of the spaciousness of the park. Seldom have they been treated to the thrill of a home run. Another drawback at the Allston orchard has been the distance from which the spectators have been removed from the playing field.

Contrary to his personal feelings, Pres. Bob Quinn of the Bees has ordered a chance in the Apiary. He is bringing the fences closer to home plate. “Not to make cheap homers,” states Bob Quinn, “but to make our park chummier. People want to get close to the playing field, and we’re going to make our park lots closer than it has ever been.”

The chief change at the Hive will be the elimination of the 50-cent bleachers, that portable section that extended from the left-field foul line into the jury box. The jury box will remain in its original position, and to make up for the loss of about half of the 50-cent bleacher seats the Bees are to section off a hunk of pavilion and convert it into an addition for the jury box.

May be a howl

Most likely some of the fans will howl about the removal of the field bleachers at the Hive and the cutting out of the 85-cent pavilion seats at Fenway Park. But they should remember they are in some respects responsible for the shifts in the local baseball scenery.

Nothing in the official announcements of either the Red Sox or the Bees has mentioned providing closer targets for a couple of their ball players. Nevertheless, back of the changes at Fenway has been providing a shorter home run range for Ted (“the Kid”) Williams, while decreasing of the distances between home plate and the various fences at National League Park are expected to boost the batting average of Slapsy Maxey West.

The streamlining of the local yards will be one of the most interesting experiments of the season. Last season Ted Williams poked an even dozen homers into the far-off Fenway bleachers. Out at the Hive West propelled just two circuit smashes into the right-field seats. How many more will they hit this season?

Williams figures he hit between seven to 10 balls a year ago that would have been homers if they park had been reconstructed sooner. West is of the same opinion.

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