Mookie Betts is surprised when he’s told his every move is being watched from a tall Boston building.
“Really?” says the Red Sox center fielder. “Are you talking about the Pru?”
No, the new view into Fenway Park is from the sky deck of the 20th floor of The Viridian rental apartments, just a block away at 1282 Boylston St. The Red Sox are in the basement of the American League East, but their neighborhood is building skyward like a David Ortiz home run.
The Viridian’s sky deck is a fun way to take in the Fenway experience from afar. It’s not like the Wrigley Field rooftops — there are no stands and the view is mostly obstructed — but it offers unique views of the Fenway outfield and the Green Monster. Unfortunately, the sky deck is not open to the public.
The Viridian towers over the first-base-side roof. Up here, residents get a bird’s-eye view of the ballpark from a height more than five times greater than the fabled left-field wall.
Residents cook sausages on gas grills, and the game is on a giant outdoor TV screen. The ballpark sparkles at night, and the wooden sky deck has a garden with trees and Cape Cod-like grasses that give an earthy feel to the oasis. An inside lounge has a community refrigerator and bathroom.
Non-baseball fans will love the views of the sunset to the west, and the Fens, downtown Boston, and the Boston Harbor Islands to the east.
Betts says he is unaware of the building, with its modern viridian-accented windows and viridian-lit guardrails (viridian is a greenish-blue pigment). Nor has he spotted the treetops of the green leaf Japanese maples that shift with the breeze on the 20th floor.
He’s keeping his eye on the ball.
“I never noticed it,” he says. “But I’ll have to check it out.”
Some of the apartments even have peek-a-boo views between the grandstand and upper decks of Fenway Park that include home plate and first base, as seen between the arches and girders in the oldest ballpark in America.
Currently available is Apartment 1023, a one-bedroom, one-bath unit for $3,175 a month. From the 9-foot windows, the resident can see the batter from bed. This season, Red Sox diehards could just pull the covers over their head when something bad happens.
The quirky views surprised Sox players.
“You’re kidding?” says Jackie Bradley, squinting at the space above the grandstand during batting practice and looking toward the building.
“What are you saying? You can see home plate from there. Really?”
Other apartments offer just bits and pieces of the lyric little bandbox. One offers a slice of the bullpen, where Boston Police officer Steve Horgan could be seen saluting the flag and fist-bumping Sox pitchers as they made their way to the bullpen.
“Through the course of the building you can get the entire picture but also different perspectives,” says Tina Bacci, leasing project manager.
The building is on the site of a former McDonald’s and a parking lot. It has 342 units, from $2,500 a month to more than $5,000.
The luxury apartments are currently 65 percent rented. No Red Sox players live here yet, says Bacci, because the apartments did not open until May, and they feature 12-month leases.
Up on the roof before a recent game against the Blue Jays. Raj Deshmuk and his wife Joanne, transplanted New Yorkers who are now Sox fans, say they love their new home.
“It’s spectacular,” says Raj, wearing a Red Sox cap and watching fans atop the Green Monster unfurl the massive American flag as part of a 9/11 ceremony.
The Deshmuks say the biggest surprise is the delay between the live action and what they see on the TV.
“You hear the roar going up from the crowd and you turn around and nothing is going on the TV,” says Raj. “It takes about 7 seconds and then you see it.’’
In the bottom of the first, as if on cue, the Toronto right fielder bolts after a line-drive home run by Red Sox first baseman Travis Shaw past the Pesky Pole in right field. Fans immediately signal fair ball, but on TV the pitch hasn’t even been thrown yet.
This would be a good place for sucker bets.
“You would have to be very quick,” says Raj.
Joanne says the deck is great for concerts and special events. The couple pulls out an iPhone and shows clips of the Piano Man, Billy Joel, tickling the keys in center field and of several parachutists wafting into Fenway during an Independence Day celebration.
“They came in and they spiraled in,” says Joanne. “It looked like they were coming right at us.”
Their apartment faces the ballpark.
“The noise doesn’t bother us,” says Joanne. “It’s pretty soundproof. If it’s a big game, we open our window to hear what’s going on. We can see the Jumbotron.”
But on this warm September night, they have the sky deck virtually to themselves. They are happy watching the young, hustling outfield and the beautiful sunset. The sound of the ovation given to the heart and soul of the Sox, Dustin Pedroia, returning from the disabled list, warms their heart.
But the views are really the biggest draw.
“This side is spectacular,” says Raj. “The Zakim Bridge is amazing and the State House is glowing.”
But on the field, the last-place Sox are losing. Again.
“At this stage, it doesn’t make any difference,” says Raj, enjoying the sparkling city lights. “The season is over.”
The couple, who have been married 34 years, love looking at Fenway even when there is no game.
“When the game lights are not on, there’s still several lights on at all levels,” says Joanne. “It looks like a cruise ship from our level. It is romantic.”
Stan Grossfeld can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.