Faithful To Fenway

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The Green Monster. Pesky's Pole. The Lone Red Seat. Yawkey Way. To baseball fans this list of bizarre phrases evokes only one place: Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. Built in 1912, Fenway Park is Americas oldest major league ballpark still in use. In Faithful to Fenway, Michael Ian Borer takes us out to Fenway where we sit in cramped wooden seats (often with obstructed views of the playing field), where there is a hand-operated scoreboard and an average attendance of 20,000 fewer fans than most stadiums, and where every game has been sold out since May of 2003. There is no Hard Rock Café (like Toronto's Skydome), no swimming pool (like Arizona's Chase Field), and definitely no sushi (which has become a fan favorite from Baltimore to Seattle). As Borer tells us in this captivating book, Fenway is short on comfort but long on character.

Faithful to Fenway investigates the mystique of the ballpark. Borer, who lived in Boston before and after the Red Sox historic 2004 World Series win, draws on interviews with Red Sox players, including Jason Varitek and Carl Yastrzemski, management, including Larry Lucchino and John Henry, groundskeepers, vendors, and scores of fans to uncover what the park means for Boston and the people who revere it. Borer argues that Fenway is nothing less than a national icon, more than worthy of the banner outside the stadium that proclaims, “America's Most Beloved Ballpark”. Certainly as one of New England's greatest landmarks, Fenway captures the hearts and imaginations of a deferential and devoted public. There are T-shirts, bumper stickers, banners, and snow globes that honor the ballpark. Fenway shows up in popular films, novels, television commercials, and in replicated form in people's backyards—and coming in 2008 to Quincy, Massachusetts, is Mini-Fenway Park, a replica stadium built especially for kids.

Full of legendary stories, amusing anecdotes, and the shared triumph and tragedy of the Red Sox and their fans, Faithful to Fenway offers a fresh and insightful perspective, offering readers an unforgettable pilgrimage to the mecca of baseball.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Borer assesses the attraction of Fenway Park through his own expert lens. The results . . . will prove invaluable not only to Red Sox and more general baseball scholars but also to students of urban life, the organization of limited inner-city space, social psychology and collective memory, how a baseball park can become a cultural shrine, and a cohorts shared values—not to mention Fenway’s contributions to our understanding of fandom.”
-Library Journal


“A must-have item for Red Sox fans who champion their old stadium.”
-Maine Sunday Telegram


“Boston’s Fenway Park has become as valued as any star player in those cities and as much an attraction as the teams themselves. Borer, a sociologist and lifelong New Englander, explores the history of Fenway and its place in Boston’s culture through research and interviews with players, stadium personnel, fans, and team owners. . . . [H]e explains Fenway’s place in the culture as an example of identity continuity. Fenway is an emotional anchor for fans in the sense that it encompasses a part of an individual’s past and present.”


“Borer’s Faithful to Fenway: Believing in Boston, Baseball, and America’s Most Beloved Ballpark gives proper props to the Red Sox home since 1912.”

-Sacramento Bee,

“Along with his astute social scientific insight, Borer also includes plenty of first-person accounts of the ballpark from Red Sox greats like Carl Yastrzemski and Johnny Pesky and from regular Bostonians and out-of-town baseball fans. This ability to intermingle scholarly research with America’s beloved pastime has allowed Borer to write an astute academic treatise that has the appeal of a consumer sports pub.”
-Publishers Weekly


School Library Journal

Borer (sociology & urban studies, Furman Univ.), a Boston resident before his move to the South, assesses the attraction of Fenway Park through his own expert lens. The results may not appeal to casual fans/readers, but they will prove invaluable not only to Red Sox and more general baseball scholars but also to students of urban life, the organization of limited inner-city space, social psychology and collective memory, how a baseball park can become a cultural shrine, and a cohort's shared values-not to mention Fenway's contributions to our understanding of "fandom." Well researched and sourced, this is best for academic libraries.-Gilles Renaud, Ontario Court of Justice, Cornwall

—Paul M. Kaplan

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814799765
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2008
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Ian Borer is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     vii
Introduction: The Sociology of Green Monsters and Broken Curses     1
Boston Believes: Fenway Park, a "Lyrical Little Bandbox"     13
The Birth of an Urban Ballpark: Leisure, Nostalgia, and the Baseball Creed     33
The Ballpark at Rest: The Civic Partnership between Boston, the Red Sox, and the Fenway Faithful     67
Objects of Faith and Consumption: Souvenirs, Replicas, and Other Representations of Fenway Park     107
Some Diamonds are not Forever: Debating the Future of Fenway Park     133
Believe in Boston: Red Sox Nation and the Cultural Power of Place     179
Making the Familiar Strange: Urban Sociology at the Ballpark     197
Notes     215
Bibliography     245
Index     257
About the Author     263

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