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Red Sox play on Rutland's biggest, oldest stage - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Red Sox play on Rutland's biggest, oldest stage

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RUTLAND, Vt. -

To make it to Tuesday night's Red Sox game, a Vermont fan would have needed to travel nearly 3,000 miles roundtrip. But, fans can catch all the sights and sounds without leaving the state, missing school, or the replays.

The Paramount Theatre in downtown Rutland first opened in 1914 and hosted the likes of Harry Houdini. Tuesday, fans streamed in to catch a ballgame.

"I used to go to a lot of games, but I never thought I'd be able to see one like this in Rutland," said Chuck Wilton, "It's going to be great. I'm going to be able to sit there just like at the park and have a cold beer and some popcorn."

The theater closed in 1974 but reopened in 2000. The first pitch didn't cross the big screen until last Friday, when the theater began showing broadcasts of the Boston Red Sox's playoff run.

The picture is crystal clear, and surround sound makes the theater sound like a stadium. Fans say the real attraction though are their fellow fans.

"I want people hearing me scream and everything," said Collin Clark, as to why he chose the venue over the couch.

"Seeing it in the Paramount, the camaraderie of people in Rutland getting together for it, just the whole idea of it," explained Wilton.

That logic is leading theater operators to also give the New England Patriots a tryout, showing the next three regular season games.

The high-quality display and sound is designed for simulcast performances of the Metropolitan Opera, for which customers will fork over $20.

Ballgames are free, though donations are encouraged. And food and beer won't cost you ballpark prices. About 120 filled the theater for baseball on Friday, with more on Saturday and Monday. An 8:30 p.m. start Tuesday night kept many at home, however.

Others like Rourke Harte and his boys wouldn't let fan allegiance or the hour prevent them from catching at least a few innings. "We're really die-hard (New York) Yankee fans," he admitted, "Even though it's the Red Sox, we came out for it tonight - little bit late for the kids, but I think it's a great experience down here."

They left early to make sure the kids aren't tired at school Wednesday, a feat that wouldn't be possible if they made the trip down to Tampa.

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