Ballparks General Baseball General Red Sox Sox Gamers/Postmortems

Random Observations


The above image, concocted quickly this morning via the great Hittracker and some photoshop skillz, shows an overlay of the path of Adrian Gonzalez’ majestic home run last night on Petco’s architecture. When he hit it I was curious to know if it would have been a dinger in his old park. Hittracker tells us that it would have been a round-tripper in every park in the league, and you can see that Petco couldn’t have contained it either – the yellow line is Petco’s right field wall, the hard black line is Fenway’s bullpen wall. Nothing was holding in that shot.

Another thought from last night: one can see why scouts and other baseball people are enamored with Jarrod Saltalamacchia. His swing is natural, elegant, a thing of some beauty. Last night he ripped an opposite field double deep to the monster, and that hit was pure seduction. That double could be a case of blind squirrels, nuts, and all that. He may have a swing with no adaptability. He may have a terrible eye and limited pitch recognition. He may simply make far too little contact to be effective at the major league level, in the long term. But watching that hit you realize why people might get fooled: he looked, for a brief moment, like a pure, world-class hitter.

Ballparks General Red Sox Humor

Target Market

Not sure this is funny or scary or both, but some media buyer was anticipating the worst.


Wish You Were Here

Cactus League from die-hard A’s fan, friend and partner in devious dealings, Andrew K… JEALOUS, I AM.

Ballparks General Baseball General Yankees Miscellany

Winter Blues

12.22.2010, 330pm

Ballparks General Red Sox General Yankees Miscellany

Opener Closing Thoughts

Opening Night, 4.3.2010

We made it to our first ever opening game yesterday, and while it ended well (though we were home by that point) there was something off about seeing both the Yankees and nightfall before even the ceremonial first pitch was thrown.

Our thoughts and some more pictures after the jump.

Ballparks Humor


Red Sox Announce Plans To Return Fenway To Original 1912 Conditions

Ballparks Games General Baseball History

The Vanished

As a video game fanatic (I grew up with the original Atari 2600 before it was even referred to as a "2600", just to date things), I have always yearned for the great baseball game. And as interesting and sophisticated as consoles have become, I have still never gravitated towards or been convinced by the replication of baseball on video game systems.  Perhaps it is the lack of a continuous pace, the starts and stops, the restful pauses and the build-up of tension, that prevents baseball from being properly translated. A fluidity of action in something like soccer lends itself to virtual gaming for me (the recent version of FIFA '10 is a truly brilliant sports simulation), far more than something like baseball, or even American football (despite the popularity of the Madden franchise). The most memorable hardball video simulation I ever played was RBI Baseball, quite famously amongst my friends, in fact.  And that wasn't because it was graphically compelling or anything like real baseball. Rather, during college I was able to replicate and actually exceed Orel Hershiser's record-setting scoreless inning streak; I am willing to be that several college classmates remember the moment I broke the record in our dorm's common room, even more vividly than they remember what they learned in Art History 301, sadly.

But this game has piqued my curiosity, as a gamer, a baseball fan, and also as an architect. The ability to play games in fields of yore, on diamonds long since demolished, is a deft touch and a nostalgic feature that has me wondering if I should purchase this game and explore the worlds it reproduces. If the game marries classic lineups with classic fields and supplements those with solid gameplay, I may finally (after two decades of continued searching and high hopes) have found a baseball game that I can accept as a reasonable facsimile of the real thing, one which imbues what is really just a bunch of code with romance and nostalgia, characteristics hardly synonymous with video games.

Ballparks Economics General Yankees

If You Demolish It, They Will Come (eventually)

Heritage Park, to be built on the grounds of the soon-to-be-demolished Yankee Stadium, is delayed, and the community isn't pleased. We were hoping there was some way to pin this on Hank Steinbrenner, but it looks like this one is on the City Parks Department and the EDC. 

Ballparks General Red Sox

The Feed

Ed Price tweets that John Lackey is taking a physical with the Sox, though unconfirmed.  Physicals typically happen after deals are done, so take that for what it is worth.

We're staying skeptical for the moment, but a Lackey signing would be very interesting on a number of levels, and something of a surprise to this blogger.

EDIT: Looks more solid, deal reportedly agreed upon.


Play Ball: The Last Word on NY’s New Ballparks

I’ve written a good deal about New York’s two new ballparks in various publications and on the web over the last few years, but this new piece, from the July issue of Metropolis magazine, is my last word on the subject, and—I humbly submit—the most comprehensive look anywhere at the stadium game as it has played out here in New York. But I leave that for you to judge. Please do read it; I will not recapitulate the arguments here, but will say that I believe that the two new ballparks, and others of their ilk, reflect a fundamental shift in the way we watch and think about professional baseball.
Magazine stories don’t typically warrant acknowledgments, but in this case there are a few individuals I’d like to thank for their participation in this story, directly and otherwise. Editor Martin Pedersen, fellow Yankee agoniste, commissioned and shaped it. Criswell Lappin designed it. (It looks phenomenal; buy the magazine, it needs your support.) The amazing photographs are by Sean Hemmerle. Jay Jaffe and Ivan Drucker were my intrepid co-explorers. For their time and thoughts, I thank Jim Bouton, Neil DeMause, Alex Belth, Greg Prince, Ben Barnert, Cliff Corcoran, Susan Carroll, John Thorn, Andrew Bernheimer, and the YFSF community.


Soxfan in LaLaLand, Redux

We took our first trip to Chavez Ravine (we forgot our non-telephonic camera, sadly) this Saturday evening to see the Major League-best Dodgers take on Felix Hernandez and the Mariners. Some observations:

  • Most diverse crowd I have ever seen at a ballgame. We sat in the upper deck, reserve seats. $19, and a great view, sight lines nearly perfect. The crowd lives up to its reputation of LA insouciance: relaxed, intermittenly paying attention, truly enjoying themselves. A very nice atmosphere.
  • Even understanding tendentious history of Chavez Ravine and eminent domain, the site and park are beautiful. Clean, situated in lovely fashion, with sunset views of the San Gabriel mountains as the game wore on. The most beautiful professional baseball park I have been to that sits outside a downtown. And during the approach to the stadium and at the plateau for the upper decks, you get full views towards sparkling (or smoggy, depending on the time of day) Los Angeles.
  • The stadium is segregated by ticket type, even more so than Yankee Stadium. We sat in the upper deck reserves, and there was no way to go anywhere else, even if we wanted to bowl over a security guard. We could have base-jumped, I suppose. The upper sections are separated completely (not by barricade or fence, but by air and space) from the lowers. Yankee Stadium seems positively democratic by comparison. Chatter around the park was that the Dodgers are interested in renovating and changing this, which would be welcome. It is really quite shameful that you can't move around.
  • We didn't sample much food other than what we had for dinner, this was no culinary expedition (that was left to an earlier evening and a Top Chef Master - thanks to Ludo for a genius meal and good conversation, the wine provided by a tastemaster). The grilled Dodger Dogs were fantastic, the Gordon Biersch garlic fries even better. Despite a decent crowd they were able to serve them to us fresh, crisp, and covered in garlic. The bagged peanuts were generic, oversalted, dry. With a bottle of water dinner ran $16.
  • Felix Hernandez is very impressive in person, even from the top shelf of the stadium. 
  • The Mariners lineup is not, despite their win. Oh, except for Ichiro, who put on a display. Though he also dropped an easy fly ball (channelling Luis Castillo, almost!).
  • We get to say we saw Ken Griffey Jr. hit a homer in person, something that we weren't able to do up until this weekend, and something on which we thought we'd miss out.    
  • In the fifth inning there was a video tribute to Fernando Valenzuela, who was in the house.  A treat to see him and also the highlights.  The crowd went nuts (as nuts as LA fans go, that is) for Fernando. 

Soxfan in LAlaland

First a mural of Manny, then this. Certainly odd to see.Soxfan in LAlaland


Saturday Morning in LA

On the Left Coast for work, took a quick trip to Chavez Ravine to get impulse tix for tonight’s game. Visitors are allowed in, and the view from just inside the box office is SPECTACULAR. Excited for tonight, my first time to this park.Saturday Morning in LA

Ballparks General Red Sox General Yankees

Cheapies, Contd.

After this morning's post on Nick Green's home run, somewhat in response to a complaint from a YF in an earlier thread about how cheap it was (and how sports media should be berating Fenway Park for allowing so many such home runs), I emailed Greg Rybarczyk, who runs Hit Tracker, the home run tracking site that will waste two hours of your time before you even realize it.

Inspired by Brad's question in that post, I asked Greg basically whether there was a way to see which park's notoriously easy home run spots tended to be utilized more often.

A little debate is developing about the relative “cheapness” of the home runs allowed by the respective ballparks, especially in light of Yankee Stadium’s new title as Coors Field East and yesterday’s walkoff cheap shot by Nick Green.

I’ve read your emails with Yankee bloggers in the past about how the straightening of Yankee Stadiums’ right field wall has effectively shortened the dimensions at that park, and some of us were wondering if that change makes right field at Yankee Stadium an easier place to hit a home run that would otherwise be an out (or non-HR hit) in every other park than down the lines at Fenway. Is there some way for us to figure this out on your site, or do you have a spare moment to run some numbers?

Greg was kind enough to reply with a pair of extremely enlightening diagrams, which follow the jump.

Ballparks General Red Sox General Yankees


There's been some talk — seemingly among disgruntled Yankee fans rightly annoyed by the media carping about the unexpected home run proclivities of their own ballpark — about how "cheap" Nick Green's home run to win yesterday's game against the Braves was.

And, no doubt, it was cheap. Our eyes tell us this because it snaked around the Fenway Park right-field foul pole. Greg Rybarczyk's excellent HitTracker site also tells us this because it traveled just 317 feet, the second-shortest homer in baseball this season (for which there is data; about 10 homers do not).

This raises a fun question: What is the cheapest home run hit so far this year, and how do we define "cheap"?

Ballparks General Yankees Yanks Gamers/Postmortems

Contract Year Conspiracy Theory

Johnny Damon interned here a few summers ago, and changed some dimension strings without telling anyone.