Happy Birthday, Fenway Park

Fenway Park is now 100 years old. Happy birthday to Fenway Park.

Fenway Park and Wrigley Field are the two grand dames of baseball venues. Fenway is clearly not a modern stadium with modern amenities; but it has charm, grace and a cadre of hugely loyal fans in addition to history. Wrigley Field is a dump. It has plenty of history and a cadre of long-suffering loyal fans; but it has little to offer in terms of charm or grace even now that the new owner has installed urinals instead of troughs in the men’s rooms. Along with four high school classmates – - and their families – -, I had the good fortune to sit in the front row in a field box at Fenway Park just adjacent to the Red Sox on-deck circle two years ago. That is a baseball memory I shall not forget…

I wonder if the Los Angeles Angels are trying to corner the market on highly paid outfielders whose careers are in decline. Consider this list – - in descending order of cost:

    Vernon Wells ($24M)
    Torii Hunter ($18M
    Bobby Abreu ($9M) – looking like a stone-cold bargain by comparison.

Speaking of baseball in Los Angeles, I was surprised to see that the attendance for the Dodgers is down from last year at this point of the season. Given the euphoria that surrounded the announced purchase of the team by Magic Johnson and his financial backers and given the Dodgers’ torrid start, I would have thought fans would be coming back to Dodgers’ stadium. Well, they are not…

Last year at this point, the Dodgers had drawn crowds averaging 43,852. This year, the crowds only average 38,428. That is a decline of more than 5400 fans per game; that is the largest average decline in attendance in MLB to this point in the season. In addition, I saw the attendance at the bottom of one Dodgers’ box score where there were fewer than 30,000 souls in attendance. Those feelgood moments with Magic Johnson flashing his smile to the world seem not to have brought fans back to the park in droves.

Scott Ostler had this comment about Magic and the Dodgers in the SF Chronicle:

“Magic Johnson, speaking for his fellow Dodgers owners, says, ‘We intend to build on the fantastic foundation laid by Frank McCourt …’ Plagiarism! I’m sure Magic stole that quote from Italian architect Giovanni di Simone, who in 1272 took over the long-delayed construction of a marble edifice anchored in loose soil. It would become the Leaning Tower of Pisa.”

There are surely no “attendance woes” associated with football at the University of Alabama. Recently, at the end of spring practice, Alabama held its intra-squad game. That scrimmage drew 78,000 fans to the stadium

The Washington Nationals have decided to get in on the act of trying to come up with an outrageous food concoction to sell at their games. Since Stephen Strasburg is the face of the franchise, what else would they come up with besides “The StrasBurger”? Trust me; this is no ordinary hamburger. Google an image for “StrasBurger” and you will see what I mean.

    The StrasBurger costs $59.

    It weighs in at 8 lbs.

    It has 10,000 calories – - no, I did not add an extra zero!

    It has ground chuck, brisket, short ribs, some sort of sausage concoction, lettuce cheese, pickles, and onion (but no “special sauce”). It comes with a mountain of French fries and a pitcher of soda.

    For the record, adult men require about 2500 calories per day to maintain weight; the StrasBurger contains 4 full days worth of calories for a man.

    For women the requirement to maintain weight is about 2200 calories. The StrasBurger contains 4.5 days worth of calories for a woman.

Recently, I wrote about the misery that had to be associated with a Hornets/Bobcats game. That comment stirred a reader in Houston – - who also happens to be a font of sports statistical information and sports history – - to send me an e-mail about the Charlotte Bobcats. I said they were “epically bad” based simply on watching them for portions of games during the season and a glance at box scores now and then. Here are his stats to show this team is truly “epically bad”.

    “The Bobcats have not won two in a row yet this season. They would join teams like the 1947-48 Providence Steam Rollers (6-42 in the old BAA) and the 2004-05 Atlanta Hawks who also couldn’t win two in a row. Even Philly [in their 9-73 season] won two in a row (twice).

    “Even in the 50-game season [1998-99], the 8-win and 9-win Grizz and Clips won two in a row.

    “If the Bobcats lose all of their remaining games, their W-L percentage (7-59; .106) would be worse than Philly’s 9-73 (.110).

    “And if they don’t cover their remaining six games, they will have the worst spread record since I started keeping records (1977).”

Finally, here is Dwight Perry’s take in the Seattle Times on the incident where fans pounding on the glass after an NHL playoff game in Boston caused the glass to fall onto one of the Bruins’ players:

“Boston Bruins forward David Krejci escaped with only minor aches around the collar after a sheet of glass fell on him while celebrating his team’s first playoff win.

“Doctors, unsure how to list it on the insurance report, finally settled on pane in the neck.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

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  • Joe  On April 20, 2012 at 6:21 am

    I’m sure the phrase “pissing contest” originated form a cubs fan, after using the Pee troff at Wrigley.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On April 22, 2012 at 9:56 pm


      If you are correct on the origin of the phrase, you have to admire the degree to which it has spread in common American English usage…

  • Rich  On April 21, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    I remember troughs at Fenway. I wonder if they still have that quaint amenity.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On April 22, 2012 at 9:57 pm


      As of my visit there two seasons ago, the men’s facilities on the lower level did not have troughs. I did not have the need to check out every one of the men’s facilities, so some may exist in other parts of Fenway but based on a sampling, I would guess they are gone.

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