This season has spawned another phenomenon. Some 900 seats in the center-field bleachers at Fenway are not used unless the crowd turns into an absolute sellout. At the request of Tony Conigliaro, who objected to the sea of white shirts obscuring the flight of the ball from the pitcher, the Red Sox named the area "Conigliaro's Corner" and, on those days when it becomes necessary to sell the seats, the fans are asked to wear dark shirts. They are given membership cards in the corner, and their response has been dark and excellent.
Within baseball itself, going to Fenway has become the In thing to do and to talk about. Last week, for instance, Ewing Kauffman, the new owner of the Kansas City Royals, went to Boston to find out what it was all about. He sat in amazement as two former Red Sox now with Kansas City, Joe Foy and Jerry Adair, were cheered on their return. He also saw the crowd give a standing ovation to Kansas City Pitcher Bill Butler when he had to leave the game after pitching brilliantly for 10 innings.
All over New England the broadcasts of Sox games blast out of radios and, despite the telecasting of games on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and often of one night game during the week, the enthusiastic crowds pour in. Only in Fenway could a sign fly from the center-field bleachers exhorting the management to BRING UP DICK MILLS, a young pitcher from East Weymouth now toiling at Pittsfield.
The New York Mets have their kids and their signs at Shea Stadium, but Shea is not half the place Fenway is in which to watch a ball game. The list of heroes in the Boston lineup is partially responsible for drawing all the youngsters to "the scene." The special place the team holds in the affections of New England is another. But maybe something else is going on right under the very eyes of trend spotters. This Children's Crusade could become awfully contagious.