The Boston Red Sox are famous for extracting as much revenue out of Fenway Park as possible. Rather than crying to local government, the Sox cashed in on 80+ years of goodwill and glorious nostalgia by adding to Fenway wherever they could. The fans get to keep their beloved ballpark will ownership is able to leverage the location and built-in feelings for the old building.
The Sox didn’t stop with just Fenway, however. They decided to give their fanbase another treat – they opted to turn their Spring Training home in Fort Myers, Florida into Fenway South.
Judging by some of the shots from around the park, it is actually uncanny how much JBF looks like the venerable ballyard on Yawkey Way. While it isn’t a carbon copy of the original (JBP’s Green Monster is actually six feet taller than its New England counterpart), there are enough similarities to fool even the staunchest Red Sox fan.
Red Sox really nailed the Fenway South thing with jetBlue Park. The center field camera tricks you into thinking it’s Fenway very well.
— Marc Normandin (@Marc_Normandin) March 12, 2012
The new park in Jupiter has some pretty fun quirks, like the giant screened-in areas of the New Green Monster. Balls that strike the screen are in play, meaning negotiating the hops in Florida won’t be quite the same as the learning the nuanced dents and creases in Boston.
While some fans aren’t enamoured with the prospect of staring through a thick screen all game long, the ballpark really does look great. You can build an exact replica with all the modern amenities (like wide seats that face the plate) but there will never be another Fenway and nothing can replace the experience and atmosphere of that storied stadium. Red Sox fans simply get the best of both worlds now: comfort and beauty for spring, history and presence in the fall. Win/win arrangement.