The Red Sox were far from being included in this year's MLB playoffs, but that doesn't mean they're not making their own news in October. On Tuesday, the team announced a series of changes coming to Fenway Park for the 2011 season, most notably: three new HD video boards, an updated scoring system and a bullpen that is closer to home plate.
The announcement was the final part of the ownership's 10-year improvement plan, officially known as "Year X Fenway Park Improvements to 'America's Most Beloved Ballpark'" (catchy!), and made public with a release put out by the team.
HD Video Display and Scoring Systems:
The most noticeable change will be the three HD video display and scoring systems.
The largest of the three screens, measuring approximately 38 feet high by 100 feet wide, will be the main video board in centerfield and replace the existing elements of the structure above the bleachers in centerfield ... [It] "will be able to mimic the look of the old rotational sponsor signs or dissolve into various formats such as full-screen live video, game action accompanied by real-time statistics, sponsor graphics partnered with the box scores or any combination of visuals and game information."
Additionally, there will be two Diamond Vision displays on either side of the main screen -- "existing Bank of America hitters and pitchers board in left center field will turn into a 17 feet high by 100 feet wide video screen" and a "third video screen, 16 feet high by 30 feet wide, will connect the Ford and Dunkin Donuts sponsor signs above the bleachers in right field" -- which will display "real-time information, such as batter and pitcher stats, pitch speed and type, box scores, promotions, announcements, upcoming schedules and other messaging."
Or, as WEEI's Rob Bradford put it: "Basically a ton of high def video stretching from center to right."
While there's no mention of it specifically in the Red Sox' release -- the team only says "seat replacements of the Right Field lower seating bowl" -- the Boston Herald is reporting that the bullpen in right field will be widened from eight to nine feet, "to improve the safety of pitchers warming up." It will put the pens -- and the right field wall -- one foot closer to home plate (from its current distance of 380 feet away to 370).
The bullpens were originally constructed in 1940, moving the fence 23-feet closer for left-handed hitter Ted Williams (hence, "Williamsburg").
- upgrades to the Gate D concourse including new and extended concession areas
- waterproofing and seat replacements of the lower seating bowl in Right Field
- new seats with cup holders in the existing Dugout, Field Box and Loge Box seats
The improvements are estimated at $40, bringing the 10-year total to approximately $285 million, as the team and park ready for a 100-year celebration in 2012.