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In This World Series, the Ballparks Play a Starring Role

In This World Series, the Ballparks Play a Starring Role


As much as Boston clings to its deep history, there was growing sentiment that, as with the revered Boston Garden, which had shuttered in 1995, it was time to move on from Fenway. By 2000, the Red Sox chief executive, John Harrington, was pushing for a new ballpark next door that included a replica of the Green Monster, but with 10,000 more seats. Two years later, when the Yawkey estate put the team up for sale, virtually every bidder had plans for a new ballpark.

The only ones who were open to preserving Fenway were the eventual buyers: John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino.

In 1998, Dodger Stadium had its own moment of truth when Peter O’Malley — whose father, Walter, had brought the Dodgers west from Brooklyn and built the ballpark — sold the team to Fox Group for a then-record $311 million.

While the O’Malleys ran the Dodgers as a family enterprise, Fox, which bought the team to secure its TV rights, saw opportunities for untapped revenue: There had been no advertising on the outfield walls, and all ticket prices were the same on each level. Instead of pursuing a new stadium, Fox settled on enhancements, adding suites and the Dugout Club, a restaurant behind home plate.

“You had a building at a crossroads,” said Mark Langill, the Dodgers’ team historian. “I think what helped is that it wasn’t a ballpark that was just there; it was beloved, and there was so many institutions still within the ballpark.”

Vin Scully and Jaime Jarrin were the team’s beloved English and Spanish announcers; Tommy Lasorda was still managing the team. And Dodger Stadium — through the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, from Sandy Koufax to Steve Garvey to Kirk Gibson — is where the team had reached the World Series eight times, winning four.



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