Belly of the Beast
posted: June 20, 2007
Fenway's left field wall - The Green Monster....
It’s not often that you get to visit a legend, much less hang around with one. It’s even less often that you actually get to go and poke around it’s insides. But that’s what my family got to do last weekend at Fenway Park’s famous scoreboard/left field wall – “The Green Monster”.

The Monster’s scoreboard is one of only two manually operated MLB scoreboards in existence today. When you enter the inner workings of the Monster through the secret door on the scoreboard, you feel as though you’ve entered an alternate dimension. One second you’re out in left field of Fenway Park, sun shining, American flags waving, and the next you’re in a dimly lit hallway, half concrete support wall and the other half dark metal wall with sunlight blasting in through slits.

As your eyes adjust to the dull yellow light, you notice that the concrete walls are filthy. Wait, not filthy, just littered with signatures. Thousands of them. You’re told that players have been signing the walls here since the park opened. Ted Williams, Carl Yaztremski, Roger Clemens, too many to name and yet you keep recognizing more names the longer you look. It is to baseball what the dressing room at CBGB’s was to punk rock.

The numbers and team’s city names are all painted on sheets of metal that are inserted into their slots from behind. The scorekeeper has been the man behind the Monster for seventeen years now (Aside from being an actual member of the team, it’s the most coveted job at the park).

We entered into this amazing little world during batting practice before the game. Barry Bonds was taking his practice swings while we were behind the wall and as we heard about the history of the place and how it all worked, every few sentences were punctuated by the loud POP of the ball hitting the scoreboard. While we all jumped, the scorekeeper and the camera guy hardly noticed. Just the same old sound of a day at work for them.

I didn’t know if my kids would be impressed with all of this or not, being too young to have the perspective that hard bitten, often disappointed, but always loyal old Sox fans like their parents do. So I was pleasantly surprised when they seemed to have the same sense of awe that I did. And that’s when I realized what’s so cool about this kind of thing: It takes you back to how you felt when you were a kid, when the world seemed like a huge magical place with secrets that would sometimes reveal themselves.

I tried to take a lot of pictures. Many were out of focus. I was disappointed at first, then realized that it’s fitting, because the photos will match my kid’s memories of this special little treat.
Liam proves he can play left field better than Manny Ramirez....
We had to wait between batters to run out to the wall. The balls were coming in like bombs....
Checking out the view from inside the Monster....
The view from inside....
Layers of player signatures through the decades. If you can think of a player who's been a Red Sox, his names is here. Imagine what you could get for these walls on EBay....
I put mine on the ceiling. Always have to be different....
Liam and Bella put their names up there as well as their best friend's....
I always sit behing this guy where ever I go. I think he's stalking me....
For me, there's no more beautiful place than Fenway on a nice summer evening....
Tim O'Brien June 20, 2007
I read this and thought of two Red Sox moments etched in my brain. I'm form Connecticut and I was a Red Sox fan in the 70's. I was at Yankee Stadium for the Boston Massacre. It was the same night Ali beat Leon Spinks to win back the heavyweight title for the 3rd time. I had to listen to in on a transistor radio. Ali save me from the devastation I felt after that game. The second was going to Boston on a church trip. The trip was sold out but I begged the Father to let my brother, some friends and I to come along and he agreed. The church group quickly got in but we did not. This Father never looked back and for the next several hours a bunch of 9 and 10 year olds wandered around Fenway Park. I snuck a look at the field through a opening in the side and saw the monster. Chills. You are giving your son some great memories. I love Liam's look of amazement as he watched the fly balls sail by.
daveB June 20, 2007
way cool dale! saw in a memorabilia catalog they are auctioning off the very first ball pitched at fenway. this post is getting me excited for the staten island yankees game friday night - small pertaters by comparison but fun and exciting nonetheless....
Marc June 20, 2007
Great post, Dale, and wonderful photos. We don't have the old stadium tradition down south, but having been to Wrigley Field and the old Comisky Park as a kid with my grandfather, I know what an incredible experience being at a game in a historic park is like. You've done a great job of capturing that in this post.
Larry Ross June 20, 2007
Fantastic! Absolutely fantastic!
Edel Rodriguez June 20, 2007
Great post Dale, really enjoyed reading it. I like the picture of the kids popping their heads through the wall.
Robert Saunders June 20, 2007
Cool fun, Dale! Looks like a great time was had by all. Photos of the kids and Maria are great.
Adam McCauley June 20, 2007
Fantastic post, Dale. What a cool experience of an amazing, legendary ballpark. The Red Sox are on fire! The Giants are a disaster.
Cathleen Toelke June 20, 2007
Cool story, Dale, and a legendary experience! Take the kids everywhere that might be gone someday. I'm glad I went to Fenway when I lived in Boston, but I very much regret never going to the Boston Garden--and I was a Celtics fan!
Stephen Kroninger June 20, 2007
Very cool, Dale. We took our daughters to a Yankees game last year to experience the stadium before it was turned into a museum. Actually, last year word was they were going to tear it down.
Christoph Hitz June 21, 2007
I had a dream last night, I was looking through that scoreboard, I guess that's what happens if I read Drawger late at night. Thanks for the tour with Your family and the green monster.
Dale Stephanos June 21, 2007
Thanks everybody for the enthusiastic response. I think a an experience like this appeals to the kid in us whether we're fans of the sport or not. This was a great way to kick off the summer and I'm glad I have this forum to brag about it without having to actually go around bragging about it. Go Sox!
John Dykes June 21, 2007
Dale - This is SO cool! Great post - great story... I'm sure the kids will never forget!
Mike Moran June 22, 2007
What a fantastic time for you and your family. Something they will always remember My Dad was a transplanted New Englander who became a big Red Sox fan. Well into his 80's we took him to a Red Sox game. He enjoyed every moment. A beer, hotdog,Red Sox baseball and his family. It has to be one of my fondest memories of my Dad before he became ill and passed away. I have one of my all time favorite photos of him sitting in Fenway with a Sox cap on. Your posting is bringing back some good memories. Thank you!