The 2000 Boston Red Sox (Credit: Boston Red Sox)
After an exciting 1999 season, 2000 was a letdown for the Red Sox, who tried and failed to make their third consecutive postseason for the first time in franchise history. With Fenway Park's future in doubt, Red Sox CEO John Harrington declared his intentions to sell the team during the fall.
In 2001, the John Hancock sign was installed above Fenway Park's scoreboard in center field and the Red Sox celebrated the 100th anniversary of the franchise. Though the season started with high expectations, Pedro Martinez and Nomar Garciaparra missed significant time with injuries and the clubhouse fell apart during the season's final several weeks. In December, the Yawkey Trust agreed to sell the Red Sox to a group led by John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino, who announced their intentions to win a World Series for long-deserving Red Sox fans and to seek all possible options to keep the club at Fenway Park.
A new era in Red Sox history dawned in 2002, when a group led by John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino took over stewardship of the club in February. While the 2002 Red Sox didn't qualify for the playoffs, the new ownership commenced a series of significant improvements to Fenway Park, which culminated before the 2011 season. By the end of 2002, the club had installed new "dugout" seating, opened Yawkey Way to increase concourse space and announced plans to build seats above the famed Green Monster. In June, the club held the first ever Father's Day Catch at Fenway Park and invited thousands of fathers and their families to the park to play catch on the ballpark's famous field. In July, the Red Sox held a day of tribute to the life of Ted Williams, who passed away earlier in the month.
The 2003 season began with the much-anticipated debut of seats atop the Green Monster and the addition of Bill Mueller, Kevin Millar, Mike Timlin and David Ortiz. The Red Sox rode a potent offense to the ALCS but the team fell in excruciating fashion to the Yankees in the series' seventh game. Throughout 2003, the team also opened Fenway Park to fans in new ways, including a walk around the warning track on Mother's Day, a "Picnic In The Park" to support the Red Sox Foundation in June, two sold out Bruce Springsteen concerts (the first at the ballpark since the early 1970s) and the first annual Christmas at Fenway event in December.
In 2004, the Red Sox unveiled the Budweiser Right Field Roof Deck and dedicated a statue of legend Ted Williams outside nearby Gate B. The Red Sox started the 2004 season well but ran into a midseason funk. However, a raucous July 24 game against the Yankees and a bold four-team deal that traded Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs seemed to light a fire under the team and they ran away with the Wild Card. After defeating the Angels in the ALDS, the Red Sox fell behind three games to none in the ALCS against the Yankees. In Game Four at Fenway Park, Boston started a comeback for the ages and won their next eight straight games to capture the franchise's first World Series title in 86 years. Fenway Park also hosted a party for the Democratic Governors Association during the Democratic National Convention in July and the Farrelly brothers filmed scenes for their movie "Fever Pitch" at the ballpark during the last two months of the regular season, before returning to film in October after rewriting their script due to the historic World Series Championship that few of their fellow Red Sox fans saw coming.
On March 23, 2005, John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino announced the formal commitment of the club to remain long-term at Fenway Park. When the Red Sox returned to the 93-year old ballpark to defend their long-awaited 2004 World Series victory, the Red Sox players, coaches and staff received their World Series rings before the 2005 home opener and also found that their clubhouse had been expanded with a new weight room and interview room, along with a batting cage in the tunnel between the locker room and the dugout. The4 expansion of the clubhouse also created the new First Base Deck to offer more space for fans behind the first-base grandstands. Throughout the year Fenway Park hosted numerous events such as the Storybook Ball, the first Hot Stove Cool Music Fenway Sessions concert and two Rolling Stones concert. Though the Red Sox had another strong season under second-year manager Terry Francona, the team couldn't make it past the Chicago White Sox in the ALDS.
After a busy offseason during which the Red Sox acquired Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell, the Red Sox began the 2006 season strong but unraveled due to a slew of injuries in the second half. Fenway Park also debuted the EMC Club and State Street Pavilion Level en lieu of the .406 Club and old roof box seats. Along with its annual concert (2006 featured Dave Matthews Band), Fenway park also hosted the first "Futures at Fenway" minor league doubleheader in August. After missing the playoffs for the first time since 2002, the Red Sox signed Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka.
The club continued improvements to Fenway Park for the 2007 season, including the renovation of 26 private suites, the unveiling of more concourse space behind the left-field grandstand and the expansion of the press box. Shaking off the frustration of 2006, the 2007 Red Sox dominated the AL East and won their first division title since 1995. After sweeping the Angels in the ALDS and coming from behind against the Indians in a seven-game ALCS, the Red Sox took four straight against the Colorado Rockies to win their second World Series Championship in four years. Fenway Park also hosted the Baseball Beanpot and Futures at Fenway as well as other non-baseball events such as fundraisers for both Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and Democratic presidential contender, and future President of the United States, Barack Obama.
Prior to the 2008 season, the Red Sox expanded the State Street Pavilion Level. The improvements created the Coca-Cola Corner and replaced the temporary suites installed for the 1999 All-Star Game with updated versions. Thanks in part to Dustin Pedroia's 2008 MVP season, the Red Sox made the playoffs for the fifth time in sixth years but fell to the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALCS. Fenway Park hosted a string of different events in 2008, including the first naturalization ceremony in the ballpark's history and a concert by Neil Diamond, whose song "Sweet Caroline" is played during the 8th inning of every Red Sox home game.
As part of the 2009 Fenway Park improvements, the team repaired and waterproofed the concrete in the original 1912 lower seating bowl, between sections 14 and 28. In those sections the box seats were replaced and the blue grandstand seats, which were installed in 1934, were refurbished. In the summer, Fenway Park welcomed Sir Paul McCartney, Dave Matthews Band and Phish for concerts in 2009, while the Red Sox rolled to another playoff berth. However, the postseason didn't last very long for the Red Sox as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim eliminated Boston in three games.