FACES OF FENWAY
DAVID MELLOR Director of Grounds 2000--present
I REMEMBER THE FIRST DAY I SAT DOWN with the previous director of grounds, Joe Mooney, in January 2001. He said, "If it really rains hard, the dugouts flood here." I had seen that at different parks—I'd been a groundskeeper in the majors for 16 years—so I just listened to him. Then he said, "The storm sewer system in the city of Boston is antiquated, so if it really, really rains hard, the water will back up and it will come from the city storm system into the ballpark by way of the manhole covers. Water will come out of the manhole covers that are in the concourses, and the concourses will flood." I thought that was pretty heavy. He went on to say, "If it really, really, really rains hard, the first base camera pit will flood and fish from the Charles River will swim through all the drainpipes in the city to that camera pit and then come out and swim on the field." I went home that night and told my wife that she wouldn't believe the stories that Mr. Mooney was telling.
We opened on a Monday that year. Friday night we were supposed to get an inch or two of rain, so I put the tarp on. Next morning I got to the park early. The rain stopped at 6:30 or 7:30. I walked out behind home plate on the warning track and got to the first base dugout. I was just making sure the tarp was in good shape. I looked, and sure enough there was a six-inch fish by the camera pit.
I looked around for Joe—I thought I was on Candid Camera. I thought, I can't believe he staged this. But he was nowhere to be found. I walked over to the camera pit, and sure enough it was full of water. I looked [on the field] in between the camera pit and where the second baseman plays, and there were seven more fish. I wish I would have kept a couple of them and had them dry-mounted and put one in my office and given one to Joe. That's the biggest fish story I've ever heard, but it's actually true!