Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ads Could Save the Day at Fenway

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ads Could Save the Day at Fenway

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Woods, Times-Union sports columnist

Quick. Which will have more advertising on the left-field wall next year: a new minor-league park in Jacksonville or an old major-league park in Boston?

Not so fast. While people here are talking about cutting back on the number of ads at the new stadium -- Suns general manager Peter Bragan Jr. says it will give the walls a "classic, big-league feel" -- some in Boston actually are thinking about putting ads on a wall that epitomizes big-league classic.

After paying $700 million to buy the Red Sox, the new owners are looking for ways to squeeze a few more bucks out of a stadium that has fewer than 35,000 seats. And one possibility is taking that famed space in left field -- a 37-foot high, 231-foot long wall -- and doing something that would give the structure's old nickname new meaning.

The Green Monster making green?

I suppose this is where as a traditionalist -- I believe in grass fields, day games, the abolishment of the designated hitter and, with perhaps the exception of The Chicken, the death penalty for all mascots -- I am supposed to cry blasphemy, call it the Greed Monster, and wonder what's next. Banners hanging from Touchdown Jesus' arms at Notre Dame?

Only I'm not going to do that.

I can picture the wall with ads because, well, there are pictures.

The wall wasn't always covered with a custom blend of paint called Monster Green. Not long after Fenway Park opened in 1912 with a smaller left-field wall, the space was plastered with ads for everything from Stetson shoes to Murad cigarettes. And as the wall grew, so did the ad space.

Flip to the back inside cover of David Halberstam's Summer of '49 and you'll find a black-and-white shot of Fenway Park. On the left-field wall are enormous ads for Gem razor blades and Lifebuoy Soap. (Next to a drawing of a man enjoying a shower it says, "The Red Sox use Lifebuoy," which supposedly became a set-up line for Sox fans to say, "And they still stink. …

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