Red Sox's AL Wild Card Win Brought Same Questions About Green Monster: Here's Why It's Here To Stay
The Boston Red Sox beat the New York Yankees 6-2 in a win-or-go-home American League Wild Card game Tuesday night.
The Red Sox got ahead early with home runs from Xander Bogaerts and Kyle Schwarber. The Yankees threatened, with Anthony Rizzo homering in the sixth, but it wasn't enough to keep up with Boston's momentum.
Perhaps the most talked-about play of the evening was Giancarlo Stanton's monster hit in the first inning. It flew high and deep to left field and in any other ballpark in America would have been a home run. But at Fenway Park, it was yet another boink off the legendary Green Monster. The four-time All-Star was left with a single.
In the sixth inning, Stanton doinked another ball off the Green Monster not quite as high up, with enough elevation to possibly be considered yet another home run. The result: another single. And, to make matters worse, Aaron Judge was wrongfully signaled home by third base coach Phil Nevin and, with stellar fielding by Kiké Hernández and Bogaerts, Judge was easily tagged out by catcher Kevin Plawecki as he slid into the plate.
Several on Twitter expressed concern over the behemoth of a blockade, questioning why the Red Sox had it there in the first place and airing out their anger in the midst of yet another intense chapter in the Red Sox - Yankees rivalry.
The truth of the matter is: the Green Monster, in all of its 37-feet-high glory, is a fixture of Major League Baseball today.
The story goes that in 1910, then-Red Sox owner John I. Taylor was planning on building the team's new stadium in an upcoming area of town called the Fenway neighborhood. The way the stadium was being built, left field would border a street with buildings just tall enough that he didn't want anyone getting a free peek into any Red Sox games. So the idea for the Green Monster was born.
At first, it wasn't what we know the beloved beast as today. When the stadium was erected in 1912, the Green Monster wasn't actually green and wasn't as tall. It was just a 25-foot wooden fence with a small hill — known as Duffy's Cliff — in front of it for extra seating. When a fire ravaged much of the park in 1933, the wall was rebuilt by the new owner, Tom Yawkey, using concrete and adding in the manual scoreboard, which in fact is still used today.
The wall was painted green like the rest of the stadium in 1947 under the suggestion of Yawkey's wife, Jean. The color is actually a patented shade of green made by New England-based Benjamin Moore and owned exclusively by the Red Sox, which adds to the allure.
The final facelift that gave us the modern Green Monster came in 1975 when a hard plastic outer shell was added.
There's yet another quirk to the modern Green Monster, the ladder that runs up the wall. It was originally used to get home run balls off the top of the wall and from a net that protected the surrounding buildings. When seating was added to the top of the wall in 2003, the ladder was no longer needed, but it remains there today because, hey, why not?
Technically, the Green Monster does violate the current MLB rules for stadium design, but not because of its height. All ballparks must be constructed with "minimum distance of 325 feet between home plate and the nearest fence, stand or other obstruction on the right- and left-field foul lines" and the left-field tip of the Green Monster is only 310 feet away (there's an entire story on that as well). However, these rules were implemented to apply to stadiums built after June 1, 1958. Fenway Park is grandfathered in by decades.
The Green Monster has had threats of being torn down. In 1999, Red Sox ownership announced plans for a "New Fenway Park" before the team was sold and, in the early 2000s, the new ownership group scrapped those blueprints and instead renovated the original stadium. In 2013, the Boston Globe decided it was "Time to Tear Down Fenway Park" but it appears that fell on deaf ears.
So here we are at the 2021 ALDS where the Boston Red Sox will face the Tampa Bay Rays and the doink of an almost-home run off the Green Monster is still a staple of baseball.