The total expense, Msgr. Kerr says, would approximate $87 million, because the new Boston stadium would outdome Houston. Boston's would have a roof, of course, but the roof would be retractable.
"Railroad property is available at the end of the new turnpike," Msgr. Kerr says, "in the South Station area. The garage is needed anyway, because the area is very adjacent to the center of Boston. The arena is necessary because Boston Garden is obsolete because of parking. So is Fenway Park, for the same reason.
"We have talked to bonding companies around the country, and they approve the plan. It would be one of the few stadiums in the country built with private capital. Of course, the property would revert to the state after 40 years."
And nothing can be done without the Red Sox. "They would be prime tenants," Msgr. Kerr says. "They have the longest tradition, and they would have first say in many areas."
But Yawkey doesn't talk like a man with first say. "They want me to say I'll play," he says, "but I can't give any commitment until I know what the costs will be—the share of the concessions, the rent, a number of things."
Yawkey is wary from experience of political negotiations in Boston. He has tried "about 20 times" for clearance to close Lansdowne Street and move the wall back. He could have bought up the complex of liquor distributorships across the street, where the real home runs land, and the street would no longer be needed. "But this is the only big-league city that is also a state capital," Yawkey points out. "You have to deal on two political levels. You get agreement from the state and you find you've lost the city."
Rapport between the city and state on any $87 million playground seemed highly unlikely as the presentation day neared. At about that time, Mayor Collins of Boston was pointing out, the Commonwealth would owe the city about $13,650,000 in welfare funds. The legislators, he scolded, would have to keep other costs down.
And the wall would stay up, and the Red Sox hitters and pitchers would continue to live in its shadow. They should worry. They don't have to win, and the pay is good.