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Original Issue

Sox In The Cinema Fans who can't get into Fenway have started to get theatrical

When Curt Schilling took the mound on June 22, Fenway Park was,
as it has been for Boston's last 103 home games, sold out. So 297
fans in West Springfield, Mass., did the next best thing to
watching the game in person: They packed into a movie theater to
watch it in high-definition on a 58-foot-by-25-foot screen and
cheer and boo with the Fenway fanatics. "The sausage isn't as
good as Fenway's, but the seats are more comfortable, the AC is a
definite plus, and the picture is so clear that you can almost
smell Pedro's Soul Glo [hair gel]," said Joe Dorazio, 28, an
insurance executive from West Springfield who came to the showing
with his girlfriend, Jessica. "For five bucks this is as close to
the real thing as you can get."

The Red Sox are the first team to regularly show games in movie
theaters, an idea that came to Shari Redstone, president of
National Amusements' cinema chain, last fall when she helped
organize a contest to win seats to a game in a theater in
Randolph, Mass. After receiving more than 25,000 requests for 400
seats, she got the Sox to allow her to pipe the team's broadcast
feed for seven midweek night games into four of her New England
theaters. "Coming to the theater gives fans a sense of
community," says Redstone. "It creates excitement that you
wouldn't get sitting on your couch."

The theater donates a portion of ticket revenue to charity, but
just as at Fenway, vendors roam the aisles selling hot dogs and,
at all but one location, beer. Theater fans struck up
chants--including the old standby "Yankees suck," even though the
Sox were playing (and beating) the Twins that night. And a group
of kids tried to start a wave, but ushers told them to stop
because they were jumping in front of the screen. Jim Shea, 48,
of Northampton, who brought his daughter Cacie, 14, said he's
just about given up on getting into Fenway. "I wait until they're
playing the Blue Jays and bring my family to Toronto," says Shea.
"It's a seven-hour drive; for only a 20-minute haul down here,
this is a nice alternative." If he wants to go to the next
broadcast, on July 6, he'd better get tickets soon. Judging from
the people sitting in the aisles around him and the fans turned
away at the door, the Red Sox, even in two dimensions, are a big

--Lisa Altobelli


COLOR PHOTO: STEVE LIPOFSKY (2) SCREEN MONSTER Watching the games with fellow fanatics increasesthe fun.