Friday, October 25, 2013

Fox covers MLB World Series, with particular focus on Boston's "Green Monster"

It’s nice to have the World Series on a major network, Fox, where the HD channel is easy to remember (213 for me).  
And Fox has made the most of the visual entertainment provided by Fenway Park, which we hope will never be replaced, although I wonder how the Red Sox could add more seats easily.  I have been in it once, in 1975, when I saw Boston lost to the White Sox.  But I certainly remember great games played there, like the 5-4 loss in the playoff game to the Yankees in 1978 on Buck Dent’s home run over the Green Monster.
Back on a Sunday afternoon in June 1961, the “new” Senators held a 7-5 lead after eight innings.  They scored 5 in the top of the ninth, when Willie Tasby hit a homer over the deepest part of the park, the 425 sign in right center.  But with two outs and a man on first, Boston came up with eight runs in the bottom of the ninth, to win 13-12.  That included a grand slam homer over the Monster to tie the score. The new Senators had been 30-30 going into that series, which ruined the season.  They finished 61-100. I would have a wonderful summer after graduating from high school and face my personal catastrophe at William and Mary the following fall.   
The Fenway stadium has marked the left field foul line now as 310 (it used to be 315).  That means a high fly that gets out down the line would probably be caught in a stadium with a longer foul line, like Detroit (347) or even Washington (336).  Anyone wonder why the Nationals don’t hit as many homers as the Orioles?  Their stadium is bigger.  In Baltimore, the right field line (with a moderate wall) is just 318.
The old Griffith Stadium in Washington DC had a high wall in right field, with a distance of 320.  But the left field line actually had a distance of 402, until it was cut back to 350 with a beer garden around 1955.  For the new Senators in the last season in Griffith stadium, the extra bleachers were removed and the old long foul line was restored. 
The second game of the series offered the Cardinals’ sensational 22-year-old pitcher Michael Wacha, who never seems to allow many baserunners and who has flirted with no hitters twice (once against the Nats).  He does this with a variety of fastballs and changeups and deceptive motion, but not much in the way of curves and sliders.  Ortiz hit a homer last night over the Green Monster on a changeup – but why an opposite field homer on a change-up? Wacha looks clean cut compared to a lot of other players, rather like a pop star.
Fox showed how the manual scoreboard behind the Wall at Fenway works.  It’s the only hand-operated scoreboard left in the majors.

In the neighborhood in which I grew up, we had large back yards, and played softball with “outfield fences”.   One yard had a two story house jutting out in left field, creating a “green monster” effect (except that it was red brick).  The house has since had additions, so there is no longer a “field” there. Kids had odd ground rules.  If a ball was caught off the wall without hitting the ground, it was considered out (it is not in MLB). 

At a farm in Ohio, a friend made an outdoor “field of dreams” with a wooden picket fence in left, which I could not reach, and a wire fence in right, which was closer, which I could reach even though it was the opposite field.

We also made a lot of “cardboard stadiums” (particularly during summers in Ohio) and invented board games played with aluminum foil wad balls.  

Wikipedia attribution link for Green Monster picture. 

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