Fenway 100th Celebration: Pretty sweet

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Was tuned in to the Fenway Park 100th celebration going on right now.  This was the scene, as scores of former Red Sox players, in uniform, made their way out to the field from the big garage door in center, each of the players taking their customary position on the Fenway Park field.  Very cool:

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The best moment: Johnny Pesky and Bobby Doerr’s entrance. They’re in wheelchairs and where pushed out to second base by Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek. You don’t have to be a Red Sox fan to get a little misty at that.

Sadly, MLB.com’s feed of it had no crowd noise at all, the proceedings being drowned out by John Williams music. It felt like I was watching a pre-taped cinematic moment, not a live event.  Poor form, MLB.com.

But maybe the most notable thing — which people there in person tweeted to me and which made me wonder if perhaps it was the reason MLB.com tuned out the crowd noise — was when Terry Francona entered the field.  The crowd gave him the biggest ovation of the day and began chanting “TITO, TITO, TITO!”  So, yeah.

Happy 100th, Fenway Park.

The Yankees and Red Sox will play on artificial turf in London

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Major League Baseball wants to give the United Kingdom a taste of America’s pastime when the Yankees and Red Sox visit next month. Based on the playing surface they’re going to use, however, they may as well have sent the Blue Jays and the Rays:

Major League Baseball has access to Olympic Stadium for 21 days before the games on June 29 and 30, the sport’s first regular-season contests in Europe, and just five days after to clear out. The league concluded that there was not enough time to install real grass.

Starting June 6, gravel will be placed over the covering protecting West Ham’s grass soccer pitch and the running track that is a legacy from the 2012 Olympics. The artificial turf baseball field, similar to modern surfaces used by a few big league clubs, will be installed atop that.

At least they will not use the old-style sliding pits/turf infield that you used to always see. That’ll all be dirt. There are comments in the article about how it’s a cost savings too since they’re going back next year and won’t have to bulldoze and re-grow grass. Aaron Boone and Xander Bogaerts were asked and they don’t seem to care since it’s similar to the surface they play on in Toronto or down in Florida against the Rays.

Still, this whole deal is not aimed at doing whatever is minimally necessary to pull off a ballgame. It’s supposed to be a showcase on a global stage in a world capital. I have no idea how anyone thinks that doing that on a surface everyone has decided is obsolete for baseball playing purposes unless the ballpark is either outdated or in an arid environment is a good idea.

It’s certainly not baseball putting its best foot forward. Major League Baseball could’ve avoided this by choosing a different venue or even building a temporary one like MLB has done on a few occasions in the past. That, I suppose, would limit the revenue-generation capacity of these games, however, that’s off the table in the Rob Manfred Era.

Yankees and Red Sox on turf. What a decision.