Under yesterday’s clear skies, Fenway Park gleamed like a jewel, an emerald shining from a surrounding sea of municipal asphalt and concrete. The playing acres were lush, the stands neat, the new dressing rooms luxurious.
“What do you think of it,” asked Joe Cronin, at the end of a personally-guided tour of Tom Yawkey’s play pen.
“Grand,” replied the visitor. “You may not have a first place ball club, Joe, but you certainly have a first place park.”
Boston is ready. Fenway Park is ready. Now it is all up to the Red Sox, who return home this weekend.
Skepticism about the Red Sox has been variously expressed this Spring, but no more vividly than by an old baseball man who several weeks ago stood in the midst of Fenway’s lavish new clubhouse appointments, and summarized his feelings by snorting:
“Everything but the blanket-blank ball players.”
It’s about like Symphony Hall
The betting odds are 25-to-1 that the Sox will not win the pennant. Most experts pick them for the second division. An A.P. writer has picked them eighth.
But nobody really knows that the Red Sox have everything but the ball players. Maybe they have the ball players and will make the A.P. writer look like a bum. Maybe they will finish seventh.
Many reports have exaggerated the size of the Red Sox clubhouse, which combines the former home and visiting dressing quarters. It is not as large as the Opera House, but more like Symphony Hall.
From Mel Parnell’s locker to that of Dom DiMaggio is a three-day journey; and I can just visualize George Kell getting lost at the South end of the concourse in September, wandering up to a tall skinny kid, and saying, “Gene Stephens, I presume.”
Lou Boudreau has a private recess which is about as large as the room used by the entire 1918 pennant-winning team. And no plaster falling from the ceiling will bean Boudreau, as it did Babe Ruth and Ed Barrow in the good old days.
Boudreau’s boudoir has a refrigerator – for chilling refreshments, not baseballs – but neither a swimming pool nor a badminton court. To make himself heard by all players in the auditorium, he needs a P.A. system over which he could begin his remarks with a “Now hear this …”
The change in the Red Sox quarters may be summed up simply: from power room to powder room.
No tunnel of love, that
The new enemy clubhouse under the third base stands connects with the visiting dugout by private tunnel. This is an excellent arrangement, separating rival players from the Sox, or the men from the boys, as it were.
The umpires now will get only half as much abuse (the Red Sox half) as they leave the field after a bitter game; and runway fights will be no more.
No tunnel of love, better fights have been held in the Fenway Park runway than in the Garden ring. One of the first was between Ed Linke, Washington righthander, and Al Schaat, Red Sox third base coach. Linke lost the game, but won the fight.
Early last season Jim Piersall and Billy Martin staged their little bout in the runway; and several seasons ago Birdie Tebbetts and George Vico resumed a brawl there. That was the day Umpire Red Jones investigated the commotion, saw 15 Red Sox helping Tebbetts, and scared the wits out of everyone by shouting from the runway mouth, “Police! Police!”
For the players, the costly new Fenway Park arrangements are deluxe. The size of the Red Sox room alone should induce Ted Williams to make a comeback. Beyond his locker, which stands empty and waiting, there is still enough room for a private fishing pond.