Here’s a story.
A couple of months ago, I recieved Harvey Frommer’s excellent book, “Remembering Fenway Park,” ahead of an interview with the author. While I appreciated the prose and beautiful photography within the pages, it’s a book about Fenway Park, so I wanted it out of my house as quickly as possible.
Luckily, I was heading up to Boston to stay with our old friend, Dave in Brighton. So, I threw the book in my bag and when I got to his house, I gave it to him.
“Hey, thanks for letting me stay here. This is a small gesture of gratitude.”
He said thanks and flipped through the book a little bit. Then we moved on to other things.
Fast forward a day. Now, we’re standing in the Boston University book store and I see the book on one of the shelves. I say, “Hey look, it’s the book I gave you yesterday.” AND HE HAS NO IDEA WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT. He completely forgot the conversation.
Hopefully, he’ll be a bit more attentive to this interview with Harvey Frommer. We discuss the history of Boston’s home park, it’s role as a New England institution and it’s key role in important Jimmy Fallon movies.
SCP: Why go with an oral history as opposed to a traditional “biography” of Fenway?
HF: Oral history gets the stories behind the stories…the untold stories. I also used my own personal narratives.
SCP: You didn’t just speak to former players or people related to the Red Sox. Who else was interviewed when putting this book together?
HF: The narrative fuses present and past Red Sox players and opponents, fans, media people, ballpark workers like the scoreboard operator and head grounds-keeper, team executives, a nun, a monsignor and a bishop.
SCP: I’m a Yankee fan. I find absolutely nothing redeeming about the Red Sox. That being said, I have always enjoyed the atmosphere at Fenway. It seems like a big community get together. What can you attribute that to?
HF: The intermingling of generations and classes.
SCP: I was a college student in Boston in the late 90’s. At that time, there was talk of tearing down Fenway and building a new stadium. Fast forward about a decade, and now Red Sox ownership says the ballpark could be around for another 40 years or more. What’s changed in the last ten years?
HF: There’s great ownership in place, a great team, sellouts for every game.
SCP: Before you wrote this book, you did a similar one about the old Yankee Stadium. Was one more personal for you than the other? Do you plan on moving on to Wrigley Field or other classic stadiums? Or are you going to stick with oral histories of opposing sides (Lakers/Celtics, Darth Vader/Luke Skywalker?)
HF: Fenway has the more intimate story for me. And books on other stadiums are in the works.
SCP: What was the most significant Fenway related pop culture moment? As far as I can figure, it’s either John Updike’s “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu” or Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore making out on the field after the 2004 World Series.