FORT MYERS, Fla. - The great Carl Yastrzemski, 72, took his first look at the Green Monster at JetBlue Park last week, squinted at the netting covering the 258 seats placed inside the wall, and smiled.
“This is unbelievable,’’ he said. “You don’t have to run if it hits the net. It just drops straight down.’’
Red Sox outfielder Darnell McDonald was not worried about playing the ball off the Monster, either.
“I’ll get used to that,’’ he said of the ball hitting the net and still being in play. “I’m just more worried about the people that have to run on the field and change the scoreboard.’’
Red Sox owner John Henry said the Wall is 3 feet higher than the one at Fenway Park, but it is actually 43 feet tall - or 6 feet higher - according to Jonathan Gilula, Red Sox executive vice president of business affairs.
“The height allows for better viewing from the seats within the wall,’’ said Gilula. “I think it’s a chance to do something different while still paying homage to Fenway Park.’’
Sox players say they love that the field dimensions at JetBlue Park are identical to Fenway’s. They don’t pay any attention to the additional height of the Monster.
“Who cares?’’ said David Ortiz.
“They don’t pay you more to hit spring training home runs,’’ said Kevin Youkilis.
Many fans were in awe.
“It’s amazing,’’ said Ted Tyrrell, who was in one of the coveted seats inside the Wall. “It’s beautiful, this is the American pastime, and we’re sitting in the Green Monster. Imagine that. I’ve got goose bumps.’’
Dylan Canady, 6, of Naples, Fla., sat nearby with his father, Jason.
“These are fantastic seats,’’ he said. “But why should I be scared? The Green Monster doesn’t have a mouth to eat me. It doesn’t have any eyes. It can’t see me. It can’t touch me. It can’t eat me.’’
But Bill Leber, 79, of Andover, N.H., was not so impressed.
“I’ve been trying to get a Green Monster seat at Fenway for years but I never luck out in the lottery,’’ he said. “I hate that net. I hate to sit behind a screen.
Tim Horn, of Fort Myers, prefers one of the 120 seats higher up, on the Green Monster deck atop the Wall.
“This is the best view,’’ he said. “You get to see everything. It’s just gorgeous. A beautiful, beautiful stadium.’’
Suntan lotion is free, although on the first day, a line drive shattered a dispenser. Beer is $6.75 a cup, less than at the Twins’ Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.
“This is what dreams are made of,’’ said Jeff Brinkert, who was seated atop the Monster as the stereo speakers played, “Walkin’ on Sunshine.’’