Double Play

By Tom Conlon | Boston Magazine |

Sony’s replica Fenway Park is perfect—well, almost.

Fenway Park, with all its quirks and charms, is an irreplaceable place, though give Sony credit for trying. For its new PlayStation 3 game, MLB 08: The Show, which comes out this month, the company went to great lengths to replicate the stadium. It took thousands of photos, grilled grounds-keepers for details, and even consulted satellite imagery. The final product is freakishly accurate, and arguably better than any previous reproductions. There are the new box seats behind home, dings on the Monster, and properly mowed grass. The digital fans scream with Boston accents.

But for die-hards who really know Fenway, there’s more fun to be had in picking out the details Sony missed. A start: The company didn’t reach deals with the park’s advertisers, so the John Hancock billboard has morphed into “Fenway Park,” and Granite City into “Gravel Town.” And the Citgo sign? Not there at all. Every row is accounted for, but not every seat (the game designers just kind of squeezed as many into each row as possible). The Monster’s Morse code shout-out to the Yawkeys is also absent, although that’s intentional because Sony couldn’t get it to look right.

Still, here’s a flattering comparison: The game runs about $60, and the same view from a dugout box seat at the real Fenway costs $325 a pop. Plus, Sony glosses over some of Fenway’s less impressive spots. As producer Jason Villa puts it, “People aren’t playing this game to see the bathrooms.”

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