Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Obsessive Fence Controversy Coverage

This is a diagram showing the triangle from an aerial view, as well as from the field of play at ground level. Click to enlarge.

In figure A, you'll see the flight of the baseball hitting off the high center field wall, and bouncing back onto the field. This ball is in play.

In figure B, the ball hits the center field wall (which extends into the crowd) to the right of the vertical yellow line. This is a home run, regardless of whether it bounces into the stands or bullpen, or back out onto the field.

Figure C shows the ball flying through the gaps in the wiry fence. (Refer to front view for clarity.) I have to believe this is a home run. But since this part of the wall is apparently in play, it could be called a double, since techincally, it's going through the wall. I don't know the rule on this.

Figure D is where the real controversy comes in. Ball hits upper wiry fence. Note that the wiry fence (in front view) starts at the center field wall, is on top of the main wall, and in play, as far as I know, but splits off from it and extends out behind the bullpens. At some point, this wiry fence goes from being in play to being out of play. (Where this point is what I'm trying to figure out.) This is the same pattern that the main center field wall, as well as the Green Monster, follows. Hence the two vertical yellow lines. I think a third yellow line should be added. (see diagrams for proposed positioning.) So, back to Figure D, if the ball hits the wiry fence to the right of my proposed line, and bounces back over the front wall and onto the field, what should the umpire call?

The star is where this picture was taken from, facing the field:

You can see from the horizontal bar that the fence starts curving off to the left and behind the bullpens.

The vertical bar on the right, and all others to its right, are in play (I assume). The one on the left--actually a double bar--should be painted yellow, on its front side, and any part of this fence-of-wiry-bars to the left (from this perspective) should be out of play, home run.

(I have looked at the official ground rules, and I saw that even a ball that hits to the left of the yellow lines, if it bounces into the bleachers, IS a home run. And there's something about a ball sticking in the "bullpen screen" being two bases, and that all "screen poles" are out of play. Is this wiry wall made up of screen poles? Or do they just mean poles that hold up screens?)

It would really have to be a homerun; there's no yellow line, but that fencig is over the legal wall of the field.

A more important question, though, is what happens if a ball, in flight, hits a skydiving dog.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States