Celebrate the Birthday of the Crown Jewel of America’s Ballparks
It’s been putting on the show for 100 years — America’s oldest ballpark. Old and quirky, with its odd outfield walls and intimate feel, Fenway Park is more than a ballpark or historic site: it’s a touchstone to our past and cornerstone of a modern city. Now, venture inside and meet the people and hear the stories that give Fenway Park its soul. From bat boys to locker room attendants, from the facilities supervisor to groundskeepers, from hot dog vendors to scoreboard keepers, these workers, fans and ballplayers form a continuum that not only binds them together but defines the ballpark that hosts them. A journey through a century of heartbreak and jubilation, Inside Fenway Park: An Icon at 100, features interviews with columnist Mike Barnicle, author Glenn Stout, commentator Dick Flavin and ESPN senior writer Howard Bryant, along with archival footage and photos interwoven with a Yankees-Red Sox matchup.
Inside Fenway Park: An Icon at 100 pays tribute to those who set the stage for each and every game. David Mellor, director of grounds, reveals the challenges of maintaining the perfect grassy field in three microclimates within the ballpark. Dean Lewis, locker room attendant, takes pristine baseballs and makes them dirty before every game, with the same special mud that has been used since 1939. And facilities supervisor Donnie Gardiner, who says he’s “married to Fenway,” has worked at the stadium for 23 years, but hasn’t watched a single game.
“I think I do know about the ball park and why it has such a hold on people,” says Mike Barnicle. “If you think about it and the times that we live in, many people don’t even know their next door neighbor. People have several different jobs during the course of their working lifetimes. The bricks outside the ballpark along Yawkey Way — they’ve been there for a hundred years. It’s still the same. So you have a feeling of permanence here that you might not have elsewhere in your life.”
Generations may come and go, but Fenway remains a constant — an integral, essential part of the city and its life. Parents still take their children to Fenway Park to savor old memories and perhaps make some new ones, a tradition sure to continue for many seasons to come.
AIRS Monday, March 26 at 10 p.m. on WCVE PBS/WHTJ PBS