Sports101

With 33,871 seats, Boston's Fenway Park is the smallest ballpark in the major leagues. It is also the oldest, having opened on April 20, 1912. Sounds like it's time for a new park, doesn't it? The Red Sox thought so, and unveiled a plan earlier this week to replace the historic park in 2003 with a similar but slightly bigger ballpark right across the street.

Q: How many new parks have been built recently?

A: Of the 30 major league teams, 12 have built new ballparks since 1987. Also, five new parks have been approved to open in the next three years, and at least six more teams, including the Red Sox, are planning new facilities.

Q: Who is trying to save Fenway Park?

A: The two-year-old preservationist group called Save Fenway Park! It advocates renovating rather than replacing the 87-year-old ballpark. The group even hired an architect to draw up plans to increase capacity at the existing field. Neighborhood groups have also expressed concerns over the possibility of increased noise, lights, and traffic.

Q: What will be some stumbling blocks?

A: The 15 acres of land where the new park may be built contains warehouses, parking lots, and office space. This is property the Red Sox doesn't own, so deals must be reached with 14 landowners.

Q: What would the new stadium be like?

A: It would have about 35 percent more space and 11,000 more seats. As part of the estimated $550 million project, the famous Green Monster wall in left field would be preserved as part of a public park adjoining the new stadium. The cost of the ballpark would be around $350 million, with $200 million for new parking garages, preserving the old Fenway, and acquiring the additional land.

Q: Why do the Sox need a new park?

A: All of Fenway's facilities are old. Its seats and aisles are small. It's projected that a new ballpark would attract an additional 1 million spectators a year.

*Send comments to parneyl@csps.com

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