The Red Sox aren’t shy about farming out Fenway Park for non-baseball events. The Sox would host the world championship of tiddlywinks at 4 Yawkey Way if there were demand.
But some alternate uses for the iconic ballpark are simply too divine and inspired to ignore, like uniting the Pesky Pole and goalposts in college football beatitude.
If the Sox get their way, college football at Fenway will be more than a Notre Dame-festooned fad. Boston College will get to host an actual home game at the beloved ballpark, instead of playing second fiddle to the Fighting Irish, as BC did in their 19-16 “Shamrock Series” loss on Nov. 21.
The Sox want BC to play a yearly home game at fabled Fenway. There have been discussions between Red Sox president Sam Kennedy and BC athletic director Brad Bates about bringing the Eagles down the Green Line to the Green Monster.
Nothing is imminent, as college football scheduling is an anfractuous process. The earliest BC could schedule a game at Fenway probably would be 2020.
But the idea makes too much sense to die on the vine. It would create buzz for BC, provide the Eagles with a signature recruiting pitch, and put college sports front and center on the most hallowed stage in Boston sports.
Oh, and I’m sure the Sox — owned by John Henry, also the owner of the Globe — could find a way to make a little bit of money to finance the next David Price deal.
Perhaps I’m biased as a college football zealot, but I see nothing but upside for both sides, if the finances can be settled.
Just envision ESPN’s “College Gameday” broadcasting live from Fenway before BC took on one of college football’s bluebloods such as Alabama, USC, or Michigan, those WE ARE ND billboards above the Green Monster swapped for BC SUPER FAN signage.
“We would like nothing more than to have Boston College host a game at Fenway in the future,” Kennedy said. “We certainly understand there is a lot that goes into scheduling college football games that we’re not privy to. We will follow BC’s lead.
“We would love to do it. We think it would be a great thing for BC from a marketing perspective, a recruiting perspective, and from a city of Boston perspective to provide more activity to the Fenway area during a normally quiet period.”
The stance of the folks at The Heights does appear to be softening from a hard no to a call me maybe.
“Fenway is one of the most iconic venues in the world, so we’re considering it,” Bates said. “But it has got to serve the university and the program.”
Bates said it would take a “perfect alignment” to move a home game from Alumni Stadium to Fenway Park. He called such a move “premature at this point.”
Playing a game at Fenway should be a LeBron James slam-dunk for BC, which could use something to separate it from its Atlantic Coast Conference brethren.
LeBron, like Boston College, is a client of Fenway Sports Management, the sales and marketing arm of the Red Sox and their portfolio of business interests, from NESN to the Liverpool Football (the other kind) Club.
Part of the Sox’ pitch is that a Fenway game could be used to boost BC football season-ticket sales.
Bates and Boston College president Father William Leahy have to make sure they don’t irritate their fanbase by moving a game from BC’s urban oasis to the cramped congestion of the Fenway neighborhood.
Bates stressed that if BC moved a home game off campus it would still want a schedule that featured at least six of its 12 games played at Alumni Stadium.
But from a pure venue standpoint, this is a no-brainer.
Alumni Stadium is an acceptable, if pedestrian, college football edifice with some fantastic views of the city in the upper decks, but it will never be confused with the instantly recognizable tableaus in Ann Arbor, Mich., Columbus, Ohio, or Baton Rouge, La.
It is to Fenway what an “American Idol” contestant is to Adele.
Tell the college kids to wake up a half-hour earlier to ride the MBTA to Fenway. Some of them might already be there if they hit a Lansdowne Street establishment the prior evening.
Many non-students already take public transportation to Alumni Stadium.
Fenway is a smaller venue than Alumni Stadium (capacity 44,500). There were 38,686 fans at Fenway for BC’s game againstNotre Dame.
When BC played host to national power Florida State on Sept. 18, the attendance was listed as 39,111.
Who knows how many of those fans actually entered Alumni Stadium. Tailgating is one of the sacraments at BC. It goes on at BC games like a Catholic Mass when you’re a kid — no end in sight.
Eagles fans are legendary for refusing to end their tailgate to attend the game they allegedly came to watch.
Fenway wouldn’t be new territory for BC. The school first played there in 1914, and has played at the ballpark 102 times, boasting a 75-22-5 record.
Before the Notre Dame-BC contest, the most recent college football game played at Fenway Park was on Dec. 1, 1956, when the Eagles dropped a 7-0 decision to Holy Cross.
Outsourcing home games is also old hat at The Heights. BC played at least one game at the old Foxboro Stadium every year from 1983 to 1987.
Gillette Stadium in Foxborough hosts portions of the University of Massachusetts football schedule, but BC would represent an upgrade.
Sparking a bidding war between the Red Sox and the Patriots is not out of the question.
Money talks in big-time college athletics, especially when you’re talking about a private school.
BC should heed their fight song and schedule a home game away from home — do it For Boston, For Boston.