Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fenway 1912 by Glenn Stout

I received a galley of this novel from NetGalley for review. This in no way affected my opinions.

So, the 2011 Red Sox season landed on a bad note, to put it mildly. I wrote this review way back in May, and I don't want to change the wording. I like it just the way it is.

Fenway 1912 was a really great, concise history of Fenway Park's first year – both the park and the players who called it home.

It's no secret that I'm a huge Red Sox fan. So, when this book came up for review, I couldn't snatch it up fast enough. Learning about the history of a ball park I love so much was something I hadn't thought about before, but I'm glad I decided to. It makes me look at Fenway in a completely different way.

One of the things I was surprised to find out was the Fenway of today is not the same Fenway that rose from the ground in 1911. If you were to find a time machine and go back in time to the construction of Fenway, you would think you were in a completely different ballpark. However, it was the way it was originally constructed that has made Fenway last so long. The original construction made it possible to add on to the park as time went on.

While Fenway 1912 talks about the history of the park itself, it also talks about the players that played on the 1912 Red Sox. I knew baseball was a different thing back then, but I had no idea how much. The whole 'teamwork' schpeel barely existed. It was amazing that the 1912 Sox didn't kill each other – although, they did get into a few scuffles behind the scenes. Learning about the characters of the team, and the amazing games they played really made the book read fast in some places.

One of the others things I was surprised about, was the way that Fenway and the Sox of 1912 have in common with the Fenway and Sox of today. Namely: the way the ballpark both helps and hurts the Sox. Fenway giveth, Fenway taketh away. Also: never count the Sox out. The gave isn't 'ovah' until the last out is recorded.

The fact that the Sox won the Series in 1912 was pretty amazing. They had it all but lost, but somehow found a way to fight and win. Much like the Sox of today.

Fenway's been around for 100 years and most Sox fans have either already been at least once, or dream of one day going. I've been to Fenway once: September 10, 2007. I was up in the cramped and uncomfortable grandstands in left field with an obstructed view of the pitcher's mound. I wouldn't have traded it for the world. As I walked up to my seat, and caught my first glance at the Fenway grass, I got a bit choked up, I have to admit.

You haven't seen Fenway, if you haven't seen it in person.

Some comments I'm adding right now:

Next year will be a big year for the Sox. There will be tons of ways the team will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of its beloved ballpark. However, there will be lots of changes: a new GM, and new manager, and who knows who will be leaving the team during the offseason. I'd like to think the Sox will start off Fenway's 100th year with a fresh start. Forget 2011, this is a new era.


Jenny said...

My friend said she had the same reaction when she went to Fenway. I think she might have cried a little. I could definitely see where this book would be interesting for those who like baseball or especially the red sox!