Mini-Fenway Park at a crossroads

Red Sox owner John Henry, second frm left, with former Sox pitcher Luis Tiant, Babe Ruth’s daughter Julia Ruth, and Ron Iacobucci soon after a special “Fenway Park” license plate was created to support the Mini-Fenway Park project. (Handout)
Red Sox owner John Henry, second frm left, with former Sox pitcher Luis Tiant, Babe Ruth’s daughter Julia Ruth, and Ron Iacobucci soon after a special “Fenway Park” license plate was created to support the Mini-Fenway Park project. (Handout)

It’s been more than a decade since the nonprofit Kids Replica Ballpark Inc. announced plans to build Mini-Fenway Park in Quincy, a miniature Fenway for kids, complete with Green Monster, Pesky Pole, Citgo sign, a 1912 replica facade, and seating for 3,000 fans. But the ambitious project is now stalled — perhaps even dead — and organizers are blaming the Red Sox. “They want to pull the plug on the whole damn thing,” says Ron Iacobucci, Kids Replica Ballpark CEO. “If they rolled up their sleeves and got active instead of being a roadblock, we could have got it done. But they didn’t.” At issue now are the special “Fenway Park” license plates that were issued — and renewed — by the Registry of Motor Vehicles since 2007. Proceeds from the plates, which were made possible by a license agreement between Major League Baseball, the Red Sox, and Kids Replica Ballpark, were earmarked for Mini-Fenway Park, giving organizers a reliable revenue stream to help operate and maintain the ballpark. But MLB and the Red Sox have decided to end the license agreement, meaning no more plates will be produced and the 2,000 or so currently on the road can’t be renewed. That doesn’t sit well with plateholders, some of whom paid big money to get a low number. (Jim Holtzman, president of Ace Tickets, paid $31,000 for plate No. 1.) “I’m sure there are two sides to the story, but I’m really disappointed,” says Andrew Friss of Arlington, a stock trader who paid $3,000 for plate No. 1967. “When you come right down to it, [Iacobucci] is trying to do something good for kids. That’s the disturbing part of this.” But David Friedman, senior VP and special counsel for the Red Sox, says ultimately it was MLB’s decision to end the license agreement. He said the team wouldn’t mind if current plateholders renewed their plates, but since the license agreement is over, the RMV won’t do that.

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