Sunday, September 16, 2012

Uninvited Guests

A common complaint among fans in Boston is that Fenway Park, despite all its charm, is too small with a capacity of less than 38,000. They don't know how good they've got it.

Fenway's predecessor--the Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds--was even smaller with a seating capacity of roughly 9,000. This created some interesting  problems when the Boston Americans (later known as the Red Sox) made their first World Series appearance in 1903.

 With baseball’s first official Fall Classic knotted at one game apiece on October 3rd, eager fans mobbed the ticket office and quickly snatched up all the available seats. Throngs of Bean Town supporters kept showing up and, by mid-afternoon, the field was jammed with unpaid admissions. Thousands of trespassers eventually broke through a cordoned off area and headed toward the reserve grandstand, where they tangled with Boston players and police. Armed with a fire hose and bats (supplied by the home team’s business manager), police reinforcements were able to secure a fifty-foot stretch beyond the diamond and a thirty-foot swath behind home plate. The game started just a few minutes late with special ground rules in effect. It was agreed that balls hit into the crowd (a meager one hundred and fifty feet from home) would count as doubles. A total of seven two-baggers were hit that day as the Pirates notched a 4-2 victory. Pittsburgh eventually dropped the Series in eight games.

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