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Fisk applauds new ballpark

By Michael Vega, Globe Staff, 7/26/2000

arlton Fisk was hustling, as always, from NESN's TV booth to WEEI's radio booth during last night's game at Fenway Park when the Hall of Famer was asked for his reaction to the news that a deal for a new Fenway had been hammered out.

Fisk did a double take.

Turning to team spokesman Kevin Shea, Fisk asked, ''Did it go through?''

When told it had, Fisk responded emphatically: ''Hooray, hooray, hooray.''

While Fisk's reaction was upbeat, it seemed to be in contrast to those of Boston's star players, Pedro Martinez and Nomar Garciaparra. Though both have appeared in TV spots pushing for a new park, they seemed less enthusiastic after last night's 4-2 loss to the Twins - almost giving the impression they would be content to remain in the 88-year-old edifice on Yawkey Way.

''If it happens, it happens,'' said Garciaparra. ''If it doesn't, it doesn't. Either way I'm coming to the ballpark and playing.''

Said Martinez: ''All I care about is that as long as I have my mound fixed, I'm ready to go. Regardless of the situation or the stadium we are in, I get paid to play the game. It could be a backyard, whatever you want to call it, I just play. They pay me to do it. It could be a sandlot, I'll be out there.''

Asked if he liked pitching in Fenway more than other ballparks, Martinez said, ''I don't pay attention to those things. I have enough on my mind with the hitters. I don't really pay attention to what stadium I'm pitching in or how pretty it is.

''When I'm sitting in the dugout, yes, it looks nice and it feels nice. But when I'm pitching, I don't care.''

Closer Derek Lowe took a broader view.

''I think it benefits everybody,'' said Lowe. ''You can't just look at it from a Red Sox perspective; it benefits the whole community and it'll bring a lot of new jobs. It's worked in every other city in the US; it should work here.''

Fisk, whose number will soon be added to those already retired by the Sox, had no objections to the ''27'' hanging in a new venue in the Fens.

''Obviously, this ballpark has a history, and it has memories, memories of the people who play in it and have played in it,'' said Fisk, who carved out his own Fenway moment with his dramatic home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. ''There are the stories of the trips here and of the fond memories you have, but those are inside your head. When this ballpark is eventually replaced with a brand-new version, it's going to be the exact same thing: a brand-new, old-fashioned Fenway Park.

''So won't it be better? It's going to be absolutely better.''

Fisk turned and motioned toward the Green Monster, saying, ''You take the memories you have here, and they're going to make a shrine of this area out here anyway. They're going to make this into a monument, a park, and update this into a brand-new version.

''So you just take your memories from over here and apply them over there, and I think it'll work.''

Asked if it means more to have his number retired in the old Fenway Park, Fisk said, ''I don't care where it goes, but if it's up there, it really means something.''

But there was one thing he hopes to see at the new park.

''The only thing that bothers me is that they say, in the new ballpark, they're going to have Pesky's Pole down the right-field line,'' he said, smiling. ''Well, something pretty important happened down the left-field line here, too. Maybe they can make up a name for the left-field pole.''

This story ran on page E6 of the Boston Globe on 7/26/2000.
© Copyright 2000 Globe Newspaper Company.

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