The Red Sox will have a female player and Teddy Ballgame will be back, but the parks meaning will never change
Illustration by John S. Dykes
By Bill Speros Special to Boston.com
April 20, 2012
Its just another night during the season. The Red Sox are on. Its very late, or very early
Jerry, were entering the bottom of 18th inning here in Seattle. And while Ryan Sweeney warms up for the Red Sox, lets talk about that lunch we had at the hotel today. That was quite a piece of steak. Delicious, if not slightly overcooked. Cant believe they lost my luggage. Meanwhile, dont forget there are still plenty of Fenway 100 bricks available
The couch is way too comfortable. The Jordans Furniture ad comes on for the 74th time. Even Jenny Dell has called it a night.
My eyes are heavy . . .
. . .
I jolt awake with a shot to the side.
Pay attention. Isnt this great? The 200th anniversary of Fenway Park.
Something isnt right. Theres a kid next to me who looks strangely familiar chubby with glasses. He keeps calling me Pops.
Dustin Pedroia will set a major-league record, playing until he's 75 years old and will continue as bench coach well past his 120th birthday.
Its Wednesday, April 20, 2112. A lot looks familiar on Opening Day 2112 as the Boston-New England Red Sox of Microsoft take to Facebook Field at Fenway Park. The Red Sox are coming off their most tumultuous season since 2011. Several members of the team were caught in the clubhouse during games eating red meat, French fries and drinking Coca-Cola, all of which had been banned from public places in Massachusetts since 2090. The Red Sox held a 28-game lead with 27 games to play in September, but managed to miss qualifying for the 12th wild-card spot after going 6-21 in September and losing credit for two wins in April due to the fact that Ted Williams was unable to produce his second birth certificate before the end of the season.
Teddy Ballgames playing? Something isnt right. Things are a bit fuzzy, but theres a lot to take in. This will be as much a learning experience as a trip to the ballpark.
In the offseason, the Red Sox raised their payroll to $Y500 million (those are Yuan-Dollars) by signing Kevin Youkilis-Brady-Youkilis IV to play third base. They managed to outbid the INFLs New England-Nova Scotia Patriots, who wanted Youkilis-Brady-Youkilis to play quarterback.
The weather in Boston, for April, was particularly mild. Temperatures were expected to reach all the way up to 13 degrees Fahrenheit as the third Ice Age continued to bear down on North America. It had been triggered with the elimination of ozone-causing pollutants that cleaned up the skies so much that the earth was no longer able to retain heat. Since Facebook Field at Fenway Park is covered with a retractable dome, it has climate controlled seats and is located in a part of Boston that has been shielded from the elements since 2076. The Jetsons have come to life.
The festivities surrounding us are fitting of Facebook Field at Fenway Parks 200th anniversary. Vice President Caroline Kennedy-Bush III is turned up to throw out the ceremonial first pitch to 128-year-old Dustin Pedroia, who set a major-league record by playing until he was 75. Pedroia will then take his customary spot in uniform as a bench coach in the Red Sox dugout.
Getting to the ballpark remains a challenge in 2112, just like it had been in 2012 and 1912. Since it was declared a National Historic Landmark, the Green Line is still in service. The Kenmore T station has seen some remarkable improvements the past century, including heat, air conditioning for the three or four days each year temperatures reach 80 degrees and, finally, in 2086, the removal of that stench that had been there for 170 years.
Walking around before the game, you learn that the actual location of Facebook Field at Fenway Park hasnt changed, the area around it has. Facebook Field at Fenway Park rests between Yawkey Way, John Henry Boulevard, Tom Mineeno Way and Tim Thomas Avenue. Tom Mineeno Way was named after the former Mayor of Boston, whose name was misspelled on the sign, but was left alone as a tribute to his long-time support of various athletes, real and imagined. Menino was succeeded in office by Thomas, who became mayor of Boston for 10 straight terms after leading the Bruins to five Stanley Cups in six years. Thomas was also able to keep the Red Sox from leaving Facebook Field at Fenway Park back in 2033 by shutting down City Hall for a month and threatening to appoint Glenn Beck In Charge Of Everything unless the Red Sox dropped their plans for an indoor stadium next to Apple-Twitter Boston Garden.
The weather in Boston, for April, was particularly mild. Temperatures were expected to reach all the way up to 13 degrees Fahrenheit.
Personal teleporters are a growing fad for fans able to secure a landing space and a time. For the first few years, the teleportation to Facebook Field at Fenway Park had been a complete disaster. Too many fans tried to teleport into their seats at the same time and ended up cosmically bouncing to stadiums across the league. Of particular tragic note was the story of Jenny Pinkehatte, who tried to reach her seat in the bleachers in Boston back in 2101 and ended up right in the middle of the owners box at Google Stadium in the Bronx. She hasnt been seen since.
Antique electric-powered automobiles can be found parked among the gas guzzlers in the airborne elevated garage tethered behind right field. Personal parking licenses go for $2,500 a season, but gasoline is only $1.05 a gallon thanks to the discovery of vast oil reserves beneath Long Island Sound and the conversion of Bridgeport, Connecticut into the worlds largest oil refinery.
The diverse makeup of the team mirrors that of baseball. For the first time in 30 years, the Red Sox have a native-born American in the rotation. Lester Beckett starts on this opening day. His ancestors eventually left the Red Sox to start the Seventh-Inning Stretch fried chicken fast-food restaurant empire, and the company now ranks second to Starbucks-McDonalds-Dunkin Donuts-Pizza Hut-Subway as the most popular franchise on the planet.
In a bit of historic irony, this Beckett enjoyed a tumultuous offseason after having lost too much weight. The discovery in 2086 of the Triglyceride-Alpha-Beta-Protein enzyme created by the simultaneous digestion of fried foods with processed sugar or corn syrup has led to prolonged muscle strength and flexibility. Many ballplayers have been eating fried chicken and Capn Crunch diets during the season for several years.
Alexa Rodriguez starts her third season at shortstop. The Red Sox were the last team in baseball to break the gender barrier. Most females in the majors are pitchers who can throw wicked fast underhanded using the windmill windup. Alexas namesake, you may recall, played for the Mariners, Rangers, Yankees, Angels, Mets, Cubs, Dominican Stars, Hong Kong Pirates and, finally, the Red Sox, where he hit his 900th career home run. His extended run came after baseball legalized all supplements, steroids, blood doping and animal stimulants in 2018 to keep up with the Olympics, NFL and other sports.
Alexa Rodriguez, the Red Sox' first female player, starts her third season as the team's shortstop.
Rodriguez stands a solid 5-feet-8, 170 pounds, carries great range and swings a mean purse, keeping with family tradition. She once reached the warning track at Government Motors-WalMart Field in Detroit during a rare at-bat.
Ambidextrous slugger Manny Ortez will be in all four designated hitter spots in this opener, batting for the pitcher, shortstop, catcher and himself. Ortez was named in a tribute to former Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, who became baseball commissioner after the retirement of Commissioner George W. Bush in 2025. Kerry pardoned David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez (no relation) for any and all violations they may or may not have committed against baseballs PED policy, real or imagined.
The biggest buzz on this 200th anniversary of Facebook Field at Fenway Park is the return of Williams. The Hall of Famer, who originally died in 2002, is back in left field after a 152-year absence. He was regenerated in the cryogenics lab in a process that took several years starting in 2080. Mark Zuckerberg, Jr. developed a computer program that gave scientists the ability to regenerate cells. In return for that technology and its exclusive adaptation for Williams and no other frozen ballplayers including Pedro Martinez, Derek Jeter, and Roger Clemens team owner Jen Affleck gave Zuckerberg the naming rights to Fenway Park.
Upon Williams complete reanimation back in 2098, he was immediately drafted again after a check of his military records found his discharge papers were void. He served as a Marine Corps fighter pilot in the Second Korean-Intergalactic War. He issued his infamous I cant (expletive) believe those (expletives) did that to me the (expletive) second they thawed out my (expletive) (expletive). What a bunch of (expletives.) quote the day of his induction. Once his military service was completed, Williams headed to the frosty Florida Keys, but all the sport fish he coveted had all migrated to the Caribbean. The (expletive) marlin was frozen by the time it got into the (expletive) boat, he said on his final day in Key Largo. The last straw in forcing him out of retirement was when Klaus Garcia-Chen-Smith hit .407 in 2109. If some (expletive) is going to hit over .400, its going to be me, Williams said before signing his contract in 2111.
The elevated fielder two position players can elevate before each pitch - was introduced into the game along with the fourth strike back in 2069. A 20-foot limit on elevation has worked to curtail too many scoreless ties and kept batters from trying to bunt on every pitch.
Williams will be batting cleanup and playing stationary left field. Im done flying, you (expletives), he told reporters when asked if hed wear a Nike Jet Pak.
Fenways field dimensions have not changed in the past 100 years but the Green Monster is retractable depending on whos pitching. Fan tweets between innings determine whether or not to roll up the wall. The bullpens were moved underground back in the 2060s. On-field luxury boxes, a sugar-free concession stand and 10 square feet of space set aside for smokers, occupy that valuable real estate. Theres also a holding tank for people caught smoking cigarettes (tobacco possession became a misdemeanor in 2088) instead of legally sanctioned official Red Sox Mary Jane.
The 200th Anniversary Fenway Bricks did not sell as well as the 100th Anniversary Fenway Bricks, the 125th Anniversary Fenway Bricks, the 150th Anniversary Fenway Bricks, the 175th Anniversary Fenway Bricks and the Week Ago Thursday They Won a Game Anniversary Bricks. Much better sellers were the Yankee Hater bricks used to line the completely water and sewage-free Fenway Envrio-troughs. Nature still calls 100 years from now with amazing regularity.
Natural grass became extinct about 35 years earlier after the onset of the Ice Age. It has been replicated with a synthetic turf developed by former Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee.
Fans in 2112 dont have to worry about obstructed-view seats since the steel poles holding up the roof were replaced by translucent titanium plastic retainers in 2046. Every year during Old Timers Day, they block the view of random ticket holders throughout the park for a truly authentic feel. With the average American now weighing more than 260 pounds, seats are more comfortable and wider than ever, with the ability to recline or fold up underneath the stands for post meal naps after the 1st, 4th and 7th innings.
Natural grass became extinct about 35 years earlier after the onset of the Ice Age. It has been replicated with a synthetic turf developed by former Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee while he was growing herbal relaxants. Fans can also buy a scoop of Spacemans Surprise Ben & Jerrys-Hood-Brighams Ice Cream. Among the other big sellers at concession stands in 2112 Fenway Veggie Franks, RemDawgs Veggie Sausage and Veggie Cracker Jacks all dispensed in pill form.
Bats are made from wood polymer and the balls are spun from synthetic rope. Team logos, player names and numbers faded away years ago. Each uniform has embedded scan codes that offer fans a unique view of sponsored logos depending on how they are viewing the game. By 2025, player Twitter handles had replaced names on the back of all major league, college, high school and Little League uniforms. The body armor and protective fabrics once exclusive to law enforcement and the military are also standard fare, making most in-game injuries a relic of the 21st century. Full body contact and between-the-base tackling were eliminated back in the 2060s after a brief trial.
Steven Tyler IV sang the American, Canadian, Dominican, Free Cuban, Australian, German, Venezuelan, Russian, Iraqi , Japanese and Chinese national anthems, covering the homelands of the participants in the game between Boston-New England and New York-New Jersey.
The Red Sox and Yankees are in the Northeast Division. We learn the Miami-Havana Frozen Fish won the Dominican Division in 2111. Other division winners included Mexico City in the Southern Central, Chicago in the Midwest and So-Cal in the Western. Miami-Havana eventually beat New York to Represent the American League against International League champion Tokyo in the World Series. Tokyo ousted London, Cairo and Beijing in the playoffs. Jorge Abdul Masayuki tossed a three-hitter to win a thrilling World Series Game 9. Im still not sure which team he was on.
Fenways 8,813-consecutive-sellout streak is in dispute because there were no actual fans in attendance for all 82 games during the onset of the Ice Age in 2073, but the Red Sox had sold out the season in advance.
This Fenway opener played like so many other baseball games before. Almost. Williams went opposite field and doubled through the retracted Green Monster to clear the bases and give the Red Sox a 3-0 lead in the fourth. His swing remained as fluid and sweet as any baseball had seen in the past 245 years. Beckett tired in the sixth - some things never change - and the Yankees tied things up on a three-run homer by Thomas Smith (the only Smith in the majors) that landed in Smokers Square. Youkilis-Brady-Youkilis made a diving/flying catch 22 rows up in Section 43 in right field that kept the game tied in the seventh.
One big change, Sweet Caroline was no longer being sung during the eighth inning unless the Red Sox were winning.
At that point, I realized I just might be dreaming.
Things started to get a little jumpy as Ortez led off the ninth with a triple. Babe Toberts was brought in to pinch-run, and with D.J. Shew at the plate, Toberts took off on the first pitch to steal home and give the Red Sox a 4-3 win.
The roar caused by the 37,660 in attendance reverberated throughout the enclosed stadium. Fenways third century began with a thrilling victory. My companion offered me a high-five. I turned to return his gesture.
. . . and woke up to Sox in 2 on my TV screen as the sun peeked through the window. Damn, what a game. Dream or reality, Fenway 100 years from now was a lot like the Fenway of today. The Monster was green, winning beat losing and Fenway Park was still the center of our baseball lives.
About Bill Speros
Bill Speros is a freelance writer and lifelong Red Sox fan.