Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Green Diamonds II: The Monster Gets a Makeover

As I covered in Part I of this week's Green Diamonds series, sometimes the greenest building is the one that's already built. Nowhere is that more true than at Boston's Fenway Park.

It's green as in:
  • Promoting public transportation. As Alexander Wolff wrote in Sports Illustrated's recent article on green stadiums, "The greenest ballpark in the country may be Fenway Park, because only an idiot would try driving and parking there."
  • Making money. Where else would people pay exorbitant sums to cram into tiny seats that often don't even point towards the field and have obstructed views anyway? But it's a cathedral of baseball that your dad took you to when you were seven and Yaz hit one out. Like the Field of Dreams, you pass over the money without even thinking about it.
  • The Monster.
The Red Sox are partnering with the Natural Resources Defense Council on a series of changes that will culminate in 2012, Fenway Park's centennial. But as Business Week points out, this ain't window dressing. The team is looking for whatever edge it can get:
Whatever approach they take, one thing is certain: Big league sports teams have always obsessed over numbers—stats, attendance figures, salaries, TV ratings—now they’re beginning to run the numbers on carbon footprints, fuel prices, electric meters, and LEED scorecards.
Some of the green features have obvious secondary benefits. When the Red Sox renovated the field to include a sand filtration layer that moderates runoff into the city storm drains, they also smoothed the playing surface, upgrading it from one of the worst infields in baseball to one of the best. Reusing bricks as part of reconstruction doesn't just reduce waste, it maintains Fenway's historic feel.

The Red Sox will also install solar panels, expand their recycling program to cover bottles, and include more locally-grown and organic produce in its concession stand offerings.

And really, no matter what the economic or environmental reasons the Red Sox give, I think we all know the real reason they're going green: Because I sort of bitched about it last year.

Tuesday - Green Diamonds I: Nats Open MLB's First Green Ballpark
Wednesday - Green Diamonds II: The Monster Gets a Makeover
Thursday - Green Diamonds III: Avast! Pirates Pillage Yer Recyclables

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