Mayor Tom Menino took his annual Fenway tour Friday, cane in hand, with Red Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino and seemed quite pleased with the latest additions to the park and its menu.
Among the changes are a larger digital scoreboards, thinner, easier to see through, mesh behind home plate, new group seating and dining spaces, and several new options on the menu.
The first stop on Menino’s tour was the new Champions Club, formerly the Players Club, behind fight field. The new space can accommodate groups of up to 200 people. Other group spaces like the First Base Deck, EMC Club and Dugout Seat areas also got improvements -- namely TVs and better sound systems.
While on tour, the mayor used his elevated perch to preside over the media and made jokes about his upcoming “freedom” from office.
Judging by his smiles and upbeat mood, the mayor’s next stop on the tour was his favorite -- sampling the latest culinary creations.
New on the menu: monster beef, turkey gobbler, pot roast, BBQ, smoked pork, and steak and meatball sandwiches. In addition, there are now Mexican and Chinese favorites including soft tacos, lo mein, beef and broccoli, and General Tsos’ chicken, all available in Yawkey Way. There’s even sushi in some locations.
These are classic comfort foods, possibly designed to console Red Sox Nation after last year’s abysmal season. On this day, Mayor Menino chose the beef and broccoli as his favorite.
There are some cheaper food and drink prices this year, especially during the month of April when Fenway Franks are on sale at two-for-the-price-of-one. A new, smaller, 12-ounce beer will also debut and cost $5 all year long.
Many of these improvements and price adjustments are a result of fan feedback, according to Red Sox Communications Director Zineb Curran. She also acknowledged the “sellout streak” has come to an end and more tickets are available this season.
That’s good news for life-long Red Sox fans like Mark Abare, 55, of Jamaica Plain, who says, “I heard it’s gonna be a lot easier to get tickets this year… after last year’s debacle.”
Abare wasn’t too interested in the new menu though.
“I try not to eat there because it's so damn expensive,” he said, but, when pressed, admitted, “but I like the sausage -- that's pretty good.”
Menino and Lucchino seemed to enjoy their last tour together while Menino is in office. They kept it light for the media but did discuss a possible collaboration together when the mayor offered his services:
“All right now Larry I have qualifications to be anything you want me [to be] in the ballpark,” Menino said. "Except a ball player.”
“Except a ball player? “ Lucchino joked. “That's what we need most.”
This article is being published under an arrangement between the Boston Globe and Emerson College.