More cup holders. Vendors walking the stands hawking sausages so fans no longer need to make the walk to concession stands. Veggie hotdogs and spicy veggie hamburgers for non-carnivores looking for something at the ballpark that will stand up to ketchup or mustard.
And 12,000 blue wooden seats -- the last remaining wooden seats in Major League Baseball -- have been refurbished with new springs so the seats pop up when fans rise, ending a Fenway Park tradition that has sent generations home with limps after whacking knees on down seats.
The improvements this off season are "less sexy than in the past but very appealing to some of our fans," said Larry Lucchino, the president and chief executive officer of the Red Sox, who gave Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino a tour today of the upgrades. "We've got better circulation in the ballpark, new stairways and other things that make moving around the ballpark easier. We've got more bathroom fixtures and facilities, which I think has been a problem in the past."
The construction also repaired and waterproofed the 77-year-old concrete in the lower left field seating bowl, an infrastructure improvement Lucchino said was needed "so we can have Fenway Park for another 30 to 40 years."
"We finally had to spend a little bit of money on the visitors' clubhouse," Lucchino said, "as hard as it was to do that."
Menino quipped: "You are getting easier in your old age."
The most noticeable physical change took place directly behind home plate, where a narrow walkway once clogged with standing-room-only spectators has been opened up into an airy, L-shaped concession area. Work crews moved restrooms to another level to create the space, which includes a brick oven for $4.75 slices of pizza.
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