Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino today participated in his annual tour of Fenway Park prior to the Red Sox home opener to review this year’s improvements, menu additions–including sushi–and more. Menino was joined by Red Sox principal owner John Henry, team CEO Larry Lucchino, and other members of the Sox front office.
“It continues to amaze me, the improvements that are made to this park,” Menino said shortly after his arrival at Fenway this morning.
This marks the final installment of major annual improvements to the ballpark, thus completing the team’s 10-year plan which totaled approximately $285 million in spending.
Fenway Park will celebrate its 100th anniversary next season. No major league stadium has ever had a celebration for lasting 100 years.
“Rome had one for the 100th year of the Coliseum,” Lucchino said.
“It is ready, I think it’s as ready as can be.” Henry said when asked about the milestone for the park. “I’m sure we’ll get a few letters as to what still can be improved and we’ll continue to look for improvement.
“When you consider the pictures we’ve seen of the ballpark in the 20th century, it really is more vibrant than it ever was. Since the moment we arrived, the restoration of Fenway Park has been a real labor of love. It’s been nine years that we’ve been at this. The end result is better than anything we could have imagined.”
This year’s improvements include three new high definition video boards that the Red Sox will use to increase the transmission of game information to the crowd. The team also unveiled the completed concrete and seat repair of the lower seating bowl, and enhancements to the Gate D area and ground-level concourses.
Menino had positives reviews of the new video boards.
“The signs are tasteful, too.” Menino said. “They’re not gaudy.”
Menino also took time out to comment on the rough start the Red Sox have had to start the season.
“I’m a reality guy and I think this is helping,” Menino said. “Everybody had us winning 162 games. You can’t win 162 games. So this will give us four in the loss column. Start today in Cleveland, come back home against the Yankees. We’re going to be there. We have a good team on the field. I think Francona’s a great manager. The organization is good. I’m not panicking.”
The Red Sox provided further details on the 2011 improvement projects:
New High Definition Video Display, Scoring Systems and Control Room
Three new High Definition video display and scoring systems have been installed at Fenway Park and will represent a significant upgrade over the previous scoreboards. The Red Sox selected ANC Sports to install the three new state-of-the-art Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Vision™ light emitting diode (LED) video screens.
The largest of the three screens, measuring approximately 38 feet high by 100 feet wide, is the main video display located above the Center Field Bleachers. The new screen has the ability to provide approximately 3800 square feet of dynamic video capabilities in a variety of formats. This screen replaced the old scoreboard structure above the bleachers. Originally constructed prior to the 1976 season, the previous main scoreboard structure included a 23 feet high by 30 feet wide video screen installed in 1999, plus a black and white statistical display, 60 feet of LED ribbon-board, and static and rotational sponsor signs.
Driven by ANC’s patent-pending VisionSOFT™ operating system, the new main video screen above the Center Field Bleachers is able to mimic the look of the previously existing sponsor signs or dissolve into various formats such as full-screen live video, game action accompanied by real-time statistics, sponsor graphics partnered with the box scores or any combination of visuals and game information. Sitting atop the main video screen is a re-lamped John Hancock sign that includes new energy-efficient LED bulbs.
Two additional Diamond Vision displays have also been installed on either side of the main screen. The previously existing Bank of America hitters and pitchers board in Left-Center Field has been transformed into a 17 feet high by 100 feet wide video display with a new illuminated Bank of America sign atop the board. A third video screen, 16 feet high by 30 feet wide with a new illuminated New Balance sign atop, connects the Ford and Dunkin Donuts sponsor signs above the bleachers in Right Field. These Diamond Vision video systems will prominently feature real-time information such as batter and pitcher stats, pitch speed and type, box scores, promotions, announcements, upcoming schedules and other messaging. Another element added beyond the bleachers in Right Field, a large analog clock featuring the iconic blue logo of ADT Commercial, signifying a recent partnership, naming ADT as the official security provider for Fenway Park.
All three signage positions feature the Diamond Vision X8 Outdoor Video Screen. This state-of-the-art display shows vibrant images through Mitsubishi Electric’s dynamic pixel processing which creates 8mm lines of resolution. Other sports facilities where ANC Sports has installed Mitsubishi Electric High Definition video display systems include AT&T Park in San Francisco, CA; Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX; Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.; Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, MD; Turner Field in Atlanta, GA; U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, IL; and Yankee Stadium in New York, NY.
A newly-expanded High Definition video replay control room will serve as the home of equipment installed by Sony Electronics, in conjunction with Alpha Video Sports, to take in, store, retrieve, distribute and replay content to the video boards and other monitors installed throughout the ballpark. The digital, file-based system allows the Red Sox to provide more content and game information in HD quality. The project involved the installation and integration of the latest Sony video equipment and systems including Sony HSC-300K and PDW-700 camera systems, PMW-EX1 and PMW-EX3 camcorders, an MVS-8000 production switcher, LUMA LCD monitors and professional LCD displays, and HDCAM, XDCAM HD and Blu-Ray machines.
Right Field Seating Bowl Improvements
Concrete repair, waterproofing and seat replacements have been made in the Right Field portion of the lower seating bowl originally constructed in 1933-34. This marks the completion of the repair and waterproofing of the entire lower seating bowl, a project started with the Bleachers in 2007 and continued with the original 1912 bowl in 2008 and the 1933-34 Left Field seating bowl in 2009.
Dugout, Field Box, Loge Box and Right Field Box seats were replaced by new seats with cup holders on a new concrete base with padding added to field box seats. As in previous years, Grandstand seats in Right Field were refurbished and fitted with self-rising mechanisms that enable the seat to retract automatically once a patron stands up. This allows for more room in the seating rows and improved mobility for fans entering or exiting the rows.
Gate D Enhancements and Lower Concourse Improvements
New and expanded concession and merchandise stands, including a walk-in team store, have been added to the Gate D area, now dubbed the Home Plate Concourse. A new ticket booth was constructed at the Gate D side of Yawkey Way, making will-call tickets available for pick-up at every gate at Fenway Park. New and larger televisions have been added to the Home Plate Concourse so fans can keep up with the game action while away from their seats. Additionally, a repaired, leveled and freshly paved ground level concourse stretching from Gate D to Gate B to Gate C includes life safety and utility upgrades, and new concrete concourse flooring that will improve circulation.
Year X Improvement Greening Practices
The Year X work was completed with a commitment to incorporating environmentally-friendly practices.
More than 80% of construction waste generated from the Year X Fenway Park improvements work was recycled. Approximately 6,000 bricks were salvaged and reused to fill in areas of the 1912 and 1934 masonry. At Gate A, four of the five transom windows were restored and reinstalled. Over 600 linear feet of rails and more than 4,500 Grandstand seats were refurbished and reused in the Right Field Seating Bowl.
Newly installed plumbing equipment in several men’s and women’s restrooms consists of low water usage fixtures, including low consumption flushometer valves and low consumption metering faucets.
The new Bank of America sign and the New Balance sign will be illuminated using energy-efficient LED technology, and the existing John Hancock sign that sits atop the main scoreboard in centerfield was re-lamped with LED bulbs, which will use approximately 88% less energy than the previous lighting system.
All off-season improvements were designed by D’Agostino Izzo & Quirk of Somerville, MA, and overseen by Ipswich Associates of Boston, MA. The concrete repair work was completed by NER Construction of Wilmington, MA. The General Contractor for the off-season projects was Walsh Brothers of Boston, MA.
New Concession Items Offerings
ARAMARK and the Red Sox will introduce several new menu enhancements in 2011 that offer fans even more dining options in addition to classic Fenway favorites. Sushi from BASHO Japanese Brasserie, which is located in the Fenway neighborhood, Jamba Juice in the Big Concourse, and expanded vegetarian and lighter fare options, including vegetarian pizza, veggie dogs and veggie burgers, and chef and garden salads highlight the new menu items.
Premiering on Opening Day, the new Home Plate Concourse Concession stands will feature brick oven pizza, lobster rolls, fried clam rolls, Cajun shrimp roll, fish sandwich, and fish and chips as well as classic Fenway favorites. A new Market Place will feature seasonal fresh fruit, local salt water taffy and assorted fresh nuts. Yawkey Way will introduce “Wally’s Favorites”, which will include a collection of sweet treats such as Fried Dough, Funnel Cake, Kettle Corn, and Cotton Candy, as well as “Taste of Fenway”, which will have a menu comprised of different seasonal selection and offerings from Fenway’s restaurants such as the Absolut Clubhouse Burger. Fan-favorite Fenway Smokehouse, which features smoked pulled pork, will also expand its offerings on Yawkey Way to include a picnic area by the NESN pre-game stage.
This year fans will also help finalize Fenway Park’s menu by choosing one of two signature sandwiches developed by ARAMARK Senior Executive Chef at Fenway Park Ron Abell and Executive Chef Steve “Nookie” Postal. The sandwiches will be sold throughout the first half of the 2011 season in the Big Concourse (Section 42), Right Field Concourse (Section 8), Third Base Concourse (section 29), and in-seat service. The winning sandwich will be determined by total sandwiches sold and online votes made at www.redsox.com/sandwich. The results will be announced after the All-Star break, and the winner will remain on the menu for the rest of the season. The signature sandwich competitors are: Monster Roast Beef Sandwich: Thinly sliced Boar’s Head roast beef, topped with sautéed onions, crispy onions and homemade pickles, smothered in barbecue sauce, and served on a Kaiser roll with a side of chips; and Fenway’s Turkey Gobbler Sandwich: Sliced Boar’s Head turkey with cranberry sauce, topped with hot stuffing and gravy on a Kaiser roll, served with chips.
Fenway Park Gate Times and Wally’s World Hours of Operation
For the 2011 season, all Fenway Park gates will open 1.5 hours prior to the scheduled first pitch. The Red Sox will continue to open a limited number of gates – Gates A and D on Yawkey Way – 2 hours prior to first pitch to provide fans the opportunity to attend extended batting practice. All fans entering at that time must have tickets to that day’s game and will not be permitted to exit and re-enter the ballpark.
For Opening Day at Fenway Park this Friday, April 8, all gates will open 2 hours prior to the game’s first pitch.
Wally’s World at Fenway Park will return this year and will be open for Friday, Saturday and Sunday home games in 2011, from the 2nd inning through the 7th inning (weather permitting). Launched in July 2010, Wally’s World at Fenway Park is a family-friendly play area for children. Located on Yawkey Way, it includes games, activities and concession items targeted towards children, and an opportunity for kids to see Wally the Green Monster during the 3rd and 4th innings.