Fenway turf ripped up after two Stones concerts

Updated: August 26, 2005, 7:20 PM ET
Associated Press

BOSTON -- The Rolling Stones left the Boston Red Sox in need of some serious grass.

The team trucked in 40,000 square feet of sod to replace a huge swath of the Fenway Park outfield that was destroyed this week during the band's two concerts. The Red Sox moved the start of Friday night's game against Detroit back one hour to give the grounds crew time to get the grass in place, but the work was done well before the first pitch.

"We wanted to give ourselves the maximum amount of time," Red Sox chief operating officer Mike Dee said before the game while groundskeeper Dave Mellor put the finishing touches on the work. "Dave's very confident that the integrity of the field is safe."

In an attempt to squeeze more revenue out of the oldest and smallest ballpark in the majors, the Red Sox have held concerts in Fenway the last three years during a late-season road trip. Bruce Springsteen and Jimmy Buffett did little damage, but the Stones' huge stage -- it took 70 trucks to bring it in from Toronto -- forced them to replace all the grass from the right field corner to the one in left.

"All concerts are not created equally," Dee said, adding that the team will consider the size of the production and the recovery time before booking future concerts.

The sod, which was being held in reserve just in case, was trucked in from New Jersey, and arrived around 4 a.m. Friday. The grounds crew worked through the night to install it by 1 p.m., leaving the deep part of the field a lighter green than the part closest to the infield.

Dee said the grass would eventually grow to a uniform color.

"I really thought it looked pretty good," said Boston manager Terry Francona, who walked the field with Tigers counterpart Alan Trammell before batting practice. The Stones are playing in Detroit's Comerica Park on Wednesday.

"They've done everything in their power to get that field ready. It can't be perfect," Trammell said. "It's a groundkeeper's worst nightmare."

Red Sox center fielder Johnny Damon, whose flowing hair makes him look a bit like a rock star himself, said he wasn't concerned about it.

"Both teams have to play on it, so we'll make it work one way or the other," he said. "Hopefully, we'll stay healthy."


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press