The Boston Red Sox have tabled a plan to expand the bullpens and move in the right field wall at Fenway Park, halted by red tape that would have jeopardized the nearly 100-year-old ballpark’s status as a historical landmark.
The Red Sox, who needed the blessing of various historical commissions, withdrew the request after issues arose during the review process.
“We had more planning to do to satisfy the historic folks and we have alternatives we are going to explore going forward,” Red Sox president Larry Lucchino told Boston sports radio station 98.5 The Sports Hub on Thursday afternoon.
According to a report in the Boston Herald last week, because the Massachusetts Historical Commission did not sign off on the plan, the team would not be eligible for tax credits. Lucchino, however, said the primary consideration for the team was the park’s landmark status.
“It was not a specific tax consideration,” Lucchino said, “the danger was more about jeopardizing the historic designation attached to Fenway Park.”
Lucchino did not rule out bullpen renovations in the future.
“The folks in the historic community have addressed the issue and have spoken to us about reexamining some of our plans and thoughts for it. And we will do that. It’s not going to happen this year but it may happen down the road.”
The plan announced by the team earlier this offseason called for renovating and expanding the outdated Red Sox bullpens and, as a result, moving the right field fences in by 6-to-9 feet in the process.
“The guys in the bullpen very much wanted a more modern bullpen that would be wider,” Lucchino explained. “It’s about 7 feet short of the minimum requirements that baseball suggests. It’s far different from some of the new ballparks that have conditioning in the bullpen, indoor heating and air conditioning and a bunch of other things that are in the newer facilities.
“But it also would have had the effect of bring in the fences, and we weren’t adverse to that at all.”
The distance from home plate to the bullpen fence currently is 380 feet.
The distance to the right-field fences has changed several times in Fenway Park's 98-year history, but hasn't been altered dramatically since the bullpens were added in 1940.
The renovations to Fenway Park that will be completed by Opening Day include the installation of three high-definition video boards, the largest of which will replace the current video board in center field.
The team also is repairing concrete, waterproofing and seat replacements in the lower seating sections of right field, and replacing current dugout, field box and loge box seats with new seats with cup holders. Dugout and field box seats will also be padded.