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The Early Lead
Posted at 02:55 PM ET, 04/20/2012

Happy birthday Fenway Park! Red Sox, Yankees renew rivalry on stadium’s 100th anniversary


(Jessica Rinaldi - REUTERS)
The Boston Red Sox will celebrate the 100th anniverary of their first game at Fenway Park this afternoon. And it’s only fitting that the big day at one of the most iconic stadiums is all of sports will feature one of the game’s most iconic rivalries.

Boston hosts the New York Yankees in their first series of 2012, hoping to jump start their season. First pitch is scheduled for 3:15 p.m.

But with all the pomp and circumstance scheduled for the pre-game ceremonies, don’t be surprised if the first Clay Buchholz delivery hits Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s mitt a few minutes behind schedule.

The team invited all uniformed personnel who they could track down to Friday’s festivities, and fans from far and wide are excited to be on hand as the oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball hits the century mark.

“It’s going to be fun,” Dustin Pedroia said. “This ballpark’s been around 100 years, it’s going to be an awesome time, it’s going to be a great game and I’m sure it’s going to be great for the city, fans and everybody.”

Fenway has seen it all, from World Series-clinching victories to crushing defeats to brawls with their fiercest rivals.


In this July 9, 1946, file photo, a capacity crowd watches the annual Major League Baseball All-Star Game game at Fenway Park on Boston. (AP - AP)
ESPNBoston.com compiled a list of the 100 greatest moments, which start with the infamous Manny Ramirez Green Monster bathroom break and culminate with Carlton Fisk’s 12th-inning home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series against Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine.

Friday’s festivities will include a flyover from two F-16s and two World War II-era P-51 Mustangs. The team will provide a cups of grape juice beneath every seat in the stadium for what the Red Sox hope will be a world record for largest toast in a single venue.

The Red Sox hope to channel the celebratory mood into an improved effort on the diamond, and repeat a little history in the process. In the first regular season game at Fenway on April 20, 1912, Boston beat the Yankees (then called the Highlanders) 7-6 in 11 innings. The Red Sox went on to win 105 games and their second World Series title.

They come into the game riding a three-game losing streak and sit in the American League East cellar with a 4-8 record.

After initially declining an invitation to the pregame festivities, former manager Terry Francona plans to be on hand, but pitcher Curt Schilling said he couldn’t be pried away from business at his video-game company to make the trip.

Can’t make it to Beantown yourself but crave that Fenway Park experience? You could always visit this 1/3-scale replica on Jim Maciariello’s farm in Drain, Oregon. (Via Deadspin)

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By  |  02:55 PM ET, 04/20/2012

 
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