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Appreciation: Jack Lanzillotti leaves legacy of professionalism at Fenway

06.26.14 at 12:58 pm ET
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One thing was abundantly clear after working with Jack Lanzillotti for seven years: Every detail had to be perfect. If there were issues — and, inevitably, working in the world of electronics, there were — you had better be ready to defend yourself and your argument.

Jack was intelligent, of course, but he also possessed the ability to be bold while remaining sensitive of those around him. The 28-year-old, however, will never see 29. His future — which many envisioned as an executive with the Red Sox — is now a shattered dream.

Jack and his girlfriend, 27-year-old Jessica Campbell, were the victims in a two-car crash Saturday night. The two were walking along the corner of Beacon Street and Fairfield Street at 9:15 p.m. when an SUV allegedly ran a red light and hit another car, causing the SUV to flip.

Both passengers in the SUV walked away from the accident. Jessica Campbell was critically injured and died shortly after arriving at the hospital, while Jack Lanzillotti was pronounced dead at the scene. The people who caused the crash have their version of the story, I’€™m sure, but running that red light had its consequences. Jack and Jessica were killed, and nothing can change the fact they died a senseless, avoidable death.

Jack’€™s job at Fenway was manager of Red Sox productions and game operations, but his title hardly began to describe the work he performed at 4 Yawkey Way. He was responsible for any and all content on the seven electronic scoreboards at Fenway, and his fingerprints were all over the park.

Jack would come in early and work late, and he never minced words or opinions. His goal was simple: provide Sox fans with the best production possible. Though most eyes remain focused on the field, Jack saw nothing but opportunity in the area surrounding it. He wanted to bring every stat to life, introduce you to a situational split you’€™d never seen, remind you through a video during an inning break that, hey, Dwight Evans really had a rocket of an arm, there was more to Carlton Fisk‘€™s career than one memorable home run, and Johnny Pesky‘s .313 batting average with the Sox was something we shouldn’€™t forget.

Even if it took time — years in some cases — Jack was going to bring a new, innovative feature to Fenway. He was going to bring it to the Sox fans, whom he declared the smartest, most knowledgeable fans in baseball. Jack’€™s job was often thankless, but his bosses at Fenway knew how much the job meant to him. The next time you watch a game, don’€™t forget to take a glance at the scoreboards. Everything seems to work so perfectly, so flawlessly. Jack and his team are responsible for that.

Writing about Jack in the past tense is torture. His legacy will live on at Fenway because those who knew him will not allow his spirit to die. Twenty-eight years was far too short a life, but Jack made the most of all his years. I only wish he was given a few more.

Jack Lanzillotti turned words and ideas into reality. Always looking to learn a little extra, he pushed our own education and knowledge forward. Even when he was right — and, believe me, he so often was — he took no joy in winning an argument. He was there, working with an uncommon prowess and flair, to make your Fenway experience just a touch more special.

Though the loss of these two lives is beyond my understanding, there are a few things I do know to be certain. Having worked with Jack since he was 22, I watched as he perfected the skill of assessing problems. I listened as he laid out a solution, and I learned that every time we thought we were finished, we could still work a little harder. Jack was not happy until every last detail was perfect. Jack wore Fenway in his soul and leaves footprints of positive memories behind.

I also know the unfortunate truth. Justice, in this case, will never be served.

Just like the rest of us, Fenway Park lost a piece of her smile on Saturday night.

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