Rico Picardi would rather not be storing all the souvenirs so early this year, but none of the 20 people in Fenway Park yesterday seemed interested in plastic helmets, team photos or T-shirts. Especially since one long year ago yesterday Rico's concession stands did a brisk business in hotdogs, beer, and peanuts, as well as pennants, while the Red Sox won their first playoff game against Oakland.
A bright and sunny day, with a slight breeze providing the autumnal tinge, reminded a few in Fenway that baseball's playoffs were about to begin. It was a beautiful day for a ballgame, but the lights were out under the grandstand and the food and drink were gone.
This October Fenway won't see any crowds of 34,000. Nor will it see any baseball. For the next couple of weeks work crews will be replacing sod and seats. The screen over the Green Monster will come down, and then they'll move inside to paint. By November there will be only six people in Fenway Monday through Friday, and it will stay that way until March 1, when more crews will return to prepare the little ball park for a season with much less promise than the one they're seeing off this week.
Inside Fenway Joe Mooney, head of maintenance, directed a crew of three tearing up a block of seats behind the third base dugout, and chased reporters and a photographer off the field.
"It's not because he's unfriendly," an underling assured them. "It's because we've already put chemicals on the field, and nobody's allowed out there. If you spread the stuff around with your shoes, it could clump up and kill the grass where we don't want it to." The laborer looked up at the centerfield clock--which runs all winter--polished off his soft drink, and excused himself; his break was over.
At the soft drink stand under the right field bleachers, just 50 feet from where Luis Tiant warmed up last October, sat a mouse. His front paws clutched something very exciting. So exciting, in fact, that he didn't mind being watched by a clean-up crew.
Soon they'll pull the tarp under the stands and store it there with the bases beneath the grandstand. The field will be left uncovered until March.
Last year on October 22, Bill Lee announced that he was going to the Eliot Lounge to play bumper pool. This year on October 2, though almost nobody noticed, he might have done the same thing.