2. Boston Red Sox/Fenway Park
What the authors say: “Within Boston’s hardball cathedral, the grass seems greener, the crack of the bat crisper, and the excitement in the air more palpable than anywhere else.”
Learned from the book:
• The ballpark owes its name not to some proper Bostonian but to the fens, a backwater of the Charles River, which flows nearby.
• The oldest major-league park opened five days after the Titanic sank in 1912, a season that began with a victory over the Yankees and ended with a World Series victory over another New York club, the Giants.
• The famed Green Monster left field wall, which wasn’t painted green until 1947, was mostly a backdrop during the dead-ball era, not a factor in the outcome of games the way it’s been since livelier baseballs increased the frequency of home runs beginning in the 1920s.
• The only way to land one of the coveted 274 seats perched on the Green Monster is by entering a lottery before the season begins.
• The glass-enclosed .406 Club behind home plate (named for Ted Williams’s famous 1941 batting average) has been converted to open-air seating that’s a better fit with the stadium’s architecture.
• Yawkey Way, which runs in front of the main entrances, is now blocked off before games to create a festive street-fair atmosphere.
• During the past 10 years, the capacity has been expanded by nearly 4,000 seats, mostly by using the rooftop.