Pat Bigold

The Way I See It

By Pat Bigold

Friday, July 9, 1999

Get ready for
Fenway fireworks

YOU look at the array of howitzers for Tuesday night's Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Fenway Park and you have to wonder if the Green Monster will still be there Wednesday morning.

It's only 310 feet from the plate to the left-field wall, 420 to deep center and 302 down the line to the right-field bullpen.

Batting practice with the likes of Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Jose Canseco, Ken Griffey Jr., Jeff Bagwell and Larry Walker could make the Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza over the Charles River (combined with Seiji Ozawa's conducting of the War of 1812 overture, church bells and all) seem like a hiccup.

This is no longer a pitcher's game and I don't dare predict how many balls will go out of Tom Yawkey's ballyard when the game gets under way.

But guess what.

There were only four home runs hit in the previous two Fenway All-Star Games and only one of those cleared the Green Monster.

Hard to believe, but true.

In 1946, neither of Ted Williams' blasts went to left, nor did Charlie Keller's.

In 1961, Rocky Colavito became the first and only all-star to launch a home run on to Lansdowne Street.

By the way, Lansdowne Street might be the best place for the average Joe Fan to experience Boston's first All-Star Game in 38 years.

You see, Fenway Park seats only 33,871 fans. That's one of its charms.

But that charming feature means families in the Boston area not owning season tickets have almost no chance to gain admission to the park.

Their best bet is to hang out on the street just behind the Green Monster during Monday's batting practice and homer derby and Tuesday's game.

The rush for the Rawlings might look like Boston's version of the "running of the bulls," but at least it's a chance to flirt with a moment in sports history.

Everyone knows by now there are plans to build another stadium next to Fenway, one that would hold a Major League-sized crowd. But the Red Sox media office says that the club wouldn't be moving into it - when and if it's built (never count on anything in Boston) - until 2003 at the earliest.

That will give the Fenway faithful enough time to get over their edifice complex.


Remember Marla Hooch, the switch-hitting slugger in the popular 1992 Penny Marshall movie, "A League of Their Own"?

Despite her talent with the bat, the scout who met her was going to reject poor Marla for a berth in the all-women's league of World War II.

The reason, said the scout, played by Jon Lovitz, was that she had a face that too closely resembled that of General Omar Bradley.

So, let's be honest, guys, would we all still be as much in love with the U.S. women's soccer team if Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Carla Overbeck, and Brandi Chastain looked like Marla Hooch?

I sure hope so, because these young women have turned the sports world upside down.

World Cup organizers will pack about 90,000 into the Rose Bowl for tomorrow's final between the U.S. and China.

I really do believe I'd be watching them tomorrow even if Foudy hadn't jokingly called her team "booters with hooters," Chastain hadn't posed in a magazine wearing only a soccer ball, Overbeck hadn't modeled a leopard-skin dress, or Hamm hadn't made People magazine's most beautiful list.

Pat Bigold has covered sports for daily newspapers
in Hawaii and Massachusetts since 1978.

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