Monday, February 22, 2010

Looking Forward

A version of this post has also appeared in the Comments section of Dan Illman's blog at the Daily Racing Form.

Get Ready Sports Fans

Now that the Winter Olympics are over and we can start to think about the upcoming spring and summer sports season, a little comparison of two venerable Boston institutions may be in order. Both the Red Sox of Fenway Park and the ponies/jockeys from Suffolk Downs are in their winter quarters in Florida. The Sox are in Fort Myers (in Lee County, foreclosure capital of the USA) and some of the Suffolk crowd is at Tampa Bay Downs (Home of the Manatee Stakes).

Let’s see how the facilities stack up:

Opening Day

Fenway Park– April 4 (Easter Sunday)

Suffolk Downs- May 1 (May Day)

Advantage - If you really need an excuse not to help with the dishes – Fenway.


Fenway Park - Opened in 1912, and is the oldest active venue in professional sports.

Suffolk Downs - Opened in July of 1935 with the first concrete grandstand in America.

Advantage – Fenway


Fenway Park - Listed at 37,400, though this may underestimate the true numbers. Every game since May 15, 2003 has sold out.

Suffolk Downs - High single-day attendance listed at 52,726 (August 10, 1935). Last sell-out hard to determine since they don’t even use the turnstiles most days.

Advantage – Suffolk, if you actually want to just go to a sporting event.

Weird Coincidence

Fenway Park - Red Sox once owned by former Sox trainer, Buddy Leroux

Suffolk Downs - Suffolk Downs once owned by former Sox trainer, Buddy Leroux

Advantage – Toss-up

What the Get-A-Lifers do in the off-season

Fenway Park - The Hot Stove League and WEEI.

Suffolk Downs - Simulcasting from Aqueduct and Tampa.

Advantage – Toss-up

Retirement Options for Athletes

Fenway Park - Appearing at Scott Brown’s victory party and opening sports bars.

Suffolk Downs - Retiring to stud.

Advantage – Suffolk

What you will hear from the drunks in the cheap seats

Fenway Park - “Wakefield you s***”

Suffolk Downs - “Bocachica you s***”

Advantage – Toss-up. Neither has any connection with reality.


Fenway Park -Carl Beane

Suffolk Downs - T. D. Thornton

Advantage – Suffolk. Thornton has one of the toughest jobs in sports, and Beane is no Sherm Feller.

The Crowd

Fenway Park - Well-heeled suburbanites from all over New England, sprinkled with very attractive college girls.

Suffolk Downs - Guys dodging work, guys who never worked, excitable Rastas, elderly Chinese couples, college guys learning to smoke cigars

Advantage – Fenway by a nose


Fenway Park - Has a T stop named after it. Average parking cost (2009) $27.00.

Suffolk Downs - Has a T stop named after it. General Parking is free.

Advantage – Fenway by T, Suffolk by car – Toss-up.

Chance of some competitors using banned performance-enhancing drugs

Fenway Park - Greater than zero.

Suffolk Downs - Greater than zero.

Advantage – Toss-up


Fenway Park - Sir Paul McCartney played to record-setting crowds August 5 and 6, 2009.

Cheapest ticket was $69.

Suffolk Downs - Paul McCartney and three guys who needed haircuts played to 25,000 on August 18, 1966. Cheapest ticket was $4.75

Advantage – Suffolk


Fenway Park -The well-respected 2009 TMR Fan Cost Index estimated the cost of a family trip for four (2 adult tickets, 2 child tickets, 2 small draft beers, 4 small sodas, 4 hot dogs, parking for one car, 2 programs and two ball caps).

Total - $326.45.

Suffolk Downs - 4 tickets – Maximum of $8. No charge on most days. Sit anywhere you want. OK to smoke outside. 2 (16 oz.) draft beers - $ 9.50, 4 sodas - $9, 4 hot dogs - $11, Parking – free, 2 programs - $4, 2 souvenir caps - $30 (est.)

Total - $71.50

Advantage – Suffolk by $254.95

Chance of your fellow patrons pitching in to reward your knowledge of the game with the price of a nice dinner and a limo ride home.

Fenway Park - Zero

Suffolk Downs - Not zero. This could actually happen. Pari-mutuel wagering really does work this way - for the winners.

Advantage – Suffolk

Final Score

Fenway Park– 3

Suffolk Downs – 6

Toss-ups – 5

Have fun whatever you decide!

No comments:

Post a Comment