Tournaments : : Story
Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fenway Parks Loves His Red Sox

Jim Ecker        

JUPITER, Fla. -- Jeff and Kay Parks could have named their only son after a U.S. president or a great figure in American history, but other people have done that.


They could have named him Bob, Tom, Harold or Sam, but what's the fun in that? That would be ordinary. Mundane.


Jeff Parks is a big fan of the Boston Red Sox -- we're talking HUGE -- so when a couple of golfing friends suggested they name their son "Fenway,"  Mr. and Mrs. Parks actually talked it over and decided, well, why not?


Say hello to Fenway Parks, one of the best names ever given to a kid who loves baseball, adores the Red Sox and would dearly love to play at Fenway Park some day for his favorite team.


"Every person asks me, 'Is that really your name? Is that a nickname, or is that fake or something?'," Fenway said Saturday after his team played in the WWBA World Championship. "It's my actual name, you know?"


Fenway Parks, 15, is just a freshman in high school, but he's playing for the South Florida Bandits on a roster filled with high school seniors. He's young, but Fenway Parks apparently has talent.


Actually, his given legal name is Kyle Fenway Parks, but just about the only person who calls him Kyle is one of his baseball coaches, who happens to be a Yankees fan and refuses to call him Fenway. Other than that, it's Fenway Parks. Even his teachers call him Fenway.


You might think Jeff Parks is from Boston, or at least somewhere in New England, but you'd be wrong. He grew up in Nebraska and adopted pro teams from Boston as his own. He could have picked a half-dozen teams in the Midwest, but he chose Boston, mostly the Celtics were really good at the time.


"A Celtics/Red Sox fan," he confirmed. "Everything Boston, except the Patriots, because we're Nebraska fans."


The Parks family lives in Florida now, but Jeff and Kay were living in Nebraska when Kay was pregnant with their only child. They lived on a golf course and let aspiring pro golfers stay in their home, and some of those golfers suggested "Fenway" would be a good name for the kid, knowing Jeff's passion for the Sox.


"They'd pat Kay's belly and say, 'How is Fenway doing?," Jeff related. "They painted his room like a baseball field, and it just kind of stuck."


Kay is a baseball fan too, but she wasn't a diehard Red Sox fan at the time. She had to think it over. Did she really want her son to be named after a baseball park?


"We had long discussions about it, and it stuck," she said. "Luckily he likes baseball."


"Yeah, he loves baseball," Jeff confirmed. "That's all he does."


Jeff and Kay considered other names, by the way.


"We kind of went through all of the parks," she said. "You know, Candlestick Park. All the different parks, depending on whether it was going to be a boy or a girl."


As it turns out, a lot of Fenway's friends are Yankee fans. Some of them call him Wrigley, but that's OK. They're just kidding.


The entire Parks family visited Fenway Park in 2007, which was a dream come true for Fenway. It's been his only trip to the park so far.


"It was awesome," he said. "It's so old, and has so much history and so much excitement there, it's just amazing. I love it."


They sat three rows behind Pesky Pole in the right-field corner at Fenway Park, and Fenway went up to a few security guards and introduced himself. "They wouldn't believe his name was Fenway," Jeff said, laughing at the memory.


The Red Sox won the World Series the year Fenway Parks visited Fenway Park in 2007, so they might want to consider inviting him back. Maybe he could throw out the first pitch.


As you might imagine, Fenway Parks has been given all sorts of Boston Red Sox memorabilia as gifts over the years, including a bunch of pictures of Fenway Park.


"Probably like 20 or so," he said. "It's all on our TV room, it's all on our living room, the kitchen, my room, my parents' room. It's everywhere."


Think ahead now. Fenway Parks is now a high school senior, a star player and in demand by major league teams. Commissioner Bud Selig strides to the podium and announces, "With the first pick in the 2014 draft, the Boston Red Sox select ... Fenway Parks!"


The place goes nuts.


"I'd be the happiest man alive," said Fenway. "I'd love that."

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