Disclaimer: It’s grossly unfair to compare new parks to old parks, as we all know. There is no way to objectively measure the unparalleled sense of history and authenticity of Fenway. So I won’t go into as much detail regarding the architecture, and I’m not going to rate it or rank it! If this seems like a copout, I’ll tell you I originally rated it, and it scored at about 88. But what does that mean?
Even with the modern renovations, rating a park that opened in 1912 based on 21st century standards doesn’t really tell us anything about the quality of the ballpark. It must be looked at solely in its historical context. You can have a conversation about Wrigley Field and Fenway Park (and while it’s not comparable, I’d add Dodger Stadium for these purposes), then you can talk about the other 27 ballparks in baseball.
Most of review written in 2010, so you’ll have to excuse some of the early college level writing! See 2018-19 feature on all MLB ballparks for current summary.
Number of games seen: 1, plus 1 tour
First experience: June 13, 2010 tour
Most recent game: June 13, 2010
PHOTO GALLERY at bottom of page
By: Cole Shoemaker
Written in 2010. Following introduction page is photo essay.
As you enter Fenway Park, you can’t help but notice the incessant signs reminding you that Fenway is “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark.” Historically, we all acknowledge that it is one of the most significant parks of all time. But is it a good place to watch a game, in and of itself?
“Sure Fenway has the historicism, but Wrigley has the history and it happens to be a great park.,” I said before I got to Boston. Needless to say, I thought most people love Fenway just because it’s the oldest, among other reasons, but certainly not because it’s a particularly good looking facility. They got lucky; if any other turn of the century ballpark had lasted, it would have the same lore. It’s solely about the mystique, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
As I thought more and more after the game that logic got turned on its head. It’s so much more than that.
Architecturally, look at all the jewel box parks. Look at the pictures if you must. Overall, with the exception of the gorgeous Wrigley, and perhaps Shibe and Ebbets regarding the exterior, none of them could ever hold a candle to Fenway throughout most of history. And that’s 100% true for the interior design. Like I write in this article about timeless ballparks, it more about how a ballpark evolves than how it started.
As much as this hurts me to say, Tiger Stadium is an example of a mediocre facility simply beloved because it was old. Same goes for Comiskey, even though it was originally the grandest park in the land. Architecturally, they were boring; they were not distinctive at all. Sure the sightlines were awesome in the upper deck, but that can only go so far. Again, this is probably an oversimplification, because we are judging those facilities more on how they evolved than how they were originally perceived.
But Fenway truly is a great ballpark in 2010, not just beloved because it was old. The interior design is incredibly original and the exterior is one of the best for the era. Especially in light of the renovations, Fenway is undoubtedly at least a good facility in the modern era in terms of amenities. It’s no longer a dump, for the most part. They did an absolutely wonderful job maintaining the classic feel of the ballpark despite upgrading in modern features. Is it as good as Wrigley Field, aesthetically, I don’t think so.
As for the atmosphere and the history? It truly lives up to the hype. You can know everything there is to know about Fenway: you can listen to the crowd on T.V., you can know the history, you can hear every story ever told, and you can see a picture every single of every nook and cranny throughout every aspect of the park.
But you’ll still never know what its about until you go. I think it blasts Wrigley away in this category. It’s an experience you simply can’t put into words.NEXT - Setting