Saturday, June 30, 2007

Fisk

This goes beyond "bugging me." I'd say it actually disturbs me. We all know that Carlton Fisk's homer in Game 6 of the '75 World Series hit the foul pole, right? I've seen the video a thousand times. Not one of those times has the ball not hit the pole. It's one of the most famous, most replayed moments in baseball history. They named it Fisk Pole for god's sake. Everyone knows the ball hit the pole, right?

Apparently not. On the Wikipedia page for "Boston Red Sox," it says

The ball hit probably six inches to the fair side of the foul pole

Now this is Wikipedia, which means a cow could've written it for all we know. I've done some editing on there before, but when I went to fix this travesty, I noticed this was a page on which editing is not allowed. So, I figured, Oh well, nothing I can do. Besides, on Fisk's Wiki page, as well as some others on there, it correctly states the ball hit the pole.

But tonight, while researching something totally different relating to that home run, I noticed this line in mlb.com's description of the event:

The image of Carlton Fisk watching his ball soar into the Boston night, urging it from afar to pass inside the foul pole atop the Green Monster, and finally leaping with ecstasy when his homer stays fair continues to provide goose bumps for baseball fans worthy of the designation.

"Pass inside the pole." You can tell me that technically, it didn't hit "the pole," as it did actually hit the part attached to the pole that sticks out into fair territory. That's true. But I don't think that's what they meant, or they wouldn't have said "passed." And if Wikipedia meant that (they did say the ball "hit"...), they wouldn't have said "...six inches to the side," implying it flew past.

ESPN said about the play, in an article about the 100 Most Memorable Moments of the Past 25 Years (from at least 7 years ago):

Carlton Fisk willing a ball inside the Fenway Park foul pole in 1975

Again, they're clearly implying this ball went by the pole, to the right of it. I just watched the play again. Again, the ball clanked off the pole.

Dan Fox, in a piece for Baseball Prospectus, says

The excitement of that game and the experience of watching Carlton Fisk wave that home run to the right of the left field foul pole and over the Green Monster played a large role in making me a baseball fan.

!!!!!! It hit the pole! It HIT THE POLE! How much of a role could it have played if you didn't even see what happened???

Ballparks.com (along with some other copycat, cut-and-pasting ballpark sites) says:

Carlton Fisk ended Game 6 against the Cincinnati Reds with a 12th-inning home run over the 37 foot tall Green Monster just inside the left field foul pole.

A site called KFFL states:

Fisk hit a memorable home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series that just stayed inside the pole and sent Boston to a decisive seventh game.

A Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel story from 2003 says

Fisk's homer, just inside the left-field foul pole, saves the day for the Boston Red Sox,

despite the fact that three years earlier, they noted

A scoreboard tribute to Fisk's career was capped with his 12th- inning, game-winning homer off the left-field foul pole in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series.

Note: Of course, countless sources do have it right, and say what the above sentence says. But I'm still amazed at just how many people are under this false impression. I wonder if it's because people find info on the internet and copy and paste without thinking? Maybe, but some of these people act as if they're using their own memory to describe the play. Another theory I have is: Since Stockton and Garagiola didn't realize the ball hit the pole until a replay from a different angle was shown (Dick asks how close it came to hitting the pole, as we see the ball in slow-mo head toward it, before Joe says "It did hit it." Then we see it fall into Foster's glove.), maybe some people didn't realize it at first either. You'd think in the last thirty years, though, they would have figured it out. Now back to the insanity.

An Oakland paper said last year

Bostons Fenway Park is set back to Game 6 of the 1975 World Series when Carlton Fisk hit a home run just inside the foul pole to win the game.

They don't like the "apostrophe s" rule, either. Again, if I asked them about this and they said "Sure, it hit that side part of the pole, that's totally what we meant--inside the main pole," well, I'd say they were lying. If a field goal goes is described as going "inside the upright," would you assume it hit anything? Especially if they say "passed inside"?

This Library of Congress site says

Carlton Fisk's 1975 World Series home run, "pushed" by force of his waving arms just inside the Fenway foul pole.

This page (the author of which surmises the wall was first referred to as the Green Monster in 1982!) shows bits from newspaper articles from October 22nd, 1975, the day after Game 6. First, from the St. Louis Post-Dispatcher:

The ball smacks into the yellow screen inside the left field foul pole and drops into the net behind the Green Monster.

(That one got the pole part right, but the ball didn't drop into the net. It bounced off the pole and right back onto the field, where George Foster--well, you know by now. In fact, you already knew. Right?)

Then, from the NY Times:

Fisk lifted a fly ball into the screen above the Great Wall of Boston

Do they mean the solid screen attached to the pole? I don't think so. I think they mean the net that most of us grew up with, commonly referred to as "the screen," that caught homers before rich people started doing it--the one described in the St. Louis paper above. So we've got two newspapers reporting the next day (later that day, actually) that the ball did something it didn't do. Maybe they're to blame. Although if you're believing this, instead of your eyes, which tell you the ball is BOUNCING OFF THE POLE AND BACK TO THE FIELD, you might need to check yourself, as you're well on your way to wrecking yourself.

This one says

Carlton Fisk dancing his home run onto the right side of the Fenway foul pole;

Now, this one uses the word "onto." It's almost as if some people think the right half of the pole is fair and the left half is foul. People, if it hits anywhere on the pole, it's fair. A home run. It doesn't matter which side of the pole it makes contact with.

A blogger named Mel Phillips asks us how we could ever forget the play--before describing it incorrectly:

We would have a Game 7 as the ball went barely inside the foul pole at Fenway Park...

Here's an interesting take, from Bruce Markusen:

it traversed the left field line, before nesting in the screen attached to the foul pole,

What? No! No nesting! If "nesting" meant flying into a branchless pole, bouncing off it and falling 45 feet to one's death, the quality of the big leagues of the bird kingdom would suffer to the point where the Cardinals and Blue Jays would be at risk of contraction.

Harvard biologist Stephen Jay Gould, in an article about physics in baseball, talks about the Fisk play, and how it defied the laws of physics:

He stood up there and, by sheer body English, he transcended the laws of physics and made that ball curve inside the left-field foul pole

This guy makes two mistakes: 1. Ball hit pole, did not go "inside" it, as we know, and 2. The ball was curving toward foul territory. Fisk's waving only made it curve less to the left. Duh. No surprise, the article says the guy's a Yankee fan. A great example of a Yankee fan--one who's smart enough to become a biologist, mind you--speaking about baseball like he's an expert, when he really doesn't know what he's talking about.

So the damage has been done on the internet. But let's get back to the truth. Tell your friends: It hit the pole. Need a little mental device to help you remember? Fisk Pole. Does that do it for you? Tomorrow: Jere shoots down those who insist on calling it the "Blue Monster."

BSM approval watch: I was gonna say that this is a topic even BSM will agree with me on, but then I figured he'll get me on: going overboard with the idea; it not mattering because no one's disputing it's a home run; the number of sites saying it didn't hit the pole is very low compared to the number who get it right; they all meant it "hit" the inside of the pole; many of those sites say that Fisk willed it to go inside the pole meaning that's what he wanted as he had no way of knowing it would actually hit the pole (although none, even if they meant that, said at any point that what DID happen is that it hit the pole); adding this paragraph, thereby ruining what he had thought of as my best blog post in two years up until that point; etc. We'll see! (Oh, also adding the "Onion"-esque exclamation point to the "we'll see" line, implying he's being mocked in some way.)

Comments:
Also, on the MLB link, they describe the game briefly, but leave out the Evans catch and doubling off of the runner! Despite that they have a little section called "DEF" at the bottom of the linescore, which only lists the Foster throw to the plate. No, no, no....


And I've been thinking about all this, and how in many of the links I provide, especially toward the top, they could just mean that the ball went inside the pole, and they totally don't consider that screen thing to be part of the pole. Still, though, let's say I'm holding a soda, and someone shoots a gun, and the bullet goes through the can in my hand. Is the newspaper gonna say, "the bullet just missed his hand"? No, it sure as hell will mention the soda. It hit an extension of my body. It didn't hit "me," but to ignore the fact that it hit something attached to me would be preposterous. In fact, it goes further to prove how close it was to me to mention that fact. I still just get the impression all these people simply didn't know it hit (any part of) the foul pole.

I also realize that Pesky's Pole was called that, and it doesn't mean he hit a ball literally off of it. But these are really two separate issues.
 
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
BSM approval watch: I was gonna say that this is a topic even BSM will agree with me on, but then I figured he'll get me on: going overboard with the idea; it not mattering because no one's disputing it's a home run; the number of sites saying it didn't hit the pole is very low compared to the number who get it right; they all meant it "hit" the inside of the pole; many of those sites say that Fisk willed it to go inside the pole meaning that's what he wanted as he had no way of knowing it would actually hit the pole (although none, even if they meant that, said at any point that what DID happen is that it hit the pole); adding this paragraph, thereby ruining what he had thought of as my best blog post in two years up until that point; etc. We'll see! (Oh, also adding the "Onion"-esque exclamation point to the "we'll see" line, implying he's being mocked in some way.)
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I didn't read any of this because it was too long and I couldn't care less, but I did, in true accordance with my epic ego-city, notice my name.

That said, those things all appear to be true.
 
I don't blame you for being annoyed, and I'll back you up. Anyone who knows anything about baseball knows that HIT the foul pole-certainly every Red Sox fan not wearing a pink hat does-which only added to the dramatics. A fraction of an inch left...
 
Hey, for what it's worth, Damon and Affleck got it right in "Good Will Hunting":

//He's going, "Get over! Get over! Get OVER!" And then it HITS the foul pole. OH, he goes apeshit, and 35,000 fans, you know, they charge the field, you know?//
 
BSB and Beazer, thanks. Yes, they did get it right in GWH, despite Williams' attempted Boston accent which I'm still mad about. But not as mad as I am about the pole thing.

BSM: Carlton himself once said "I think everybody ought to be happy about doing well." I agree. And I think I've written a fine piece, and I'm proud of it, as I am of all my long pieces. I'm sorry to consistently waste your time. (That's a sarcastic apology.)
 
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
I'm sorry to consistently waste your time.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Apology accepted.
 
So what are you getting out of coming here? There must be something you like about it.
 
""the screen," that caught homers before rich people started doing it"

"If "nesting" meant flying into a branchless pole, bouncing off it and falling 45 feet to one's death, the quality of the big leagues of the bird kingdom would suffer to the point where the Cardinals and Blue Jays would be at risk of contraction."

These have to be your two best lines ever.
 
BSM, you are one to talk about long posts.

Jere, I enjoyed this piece very much and read every word of it. These days it's tough to find original material. You do a wonderful job of that.

BSM, well, there are plenty of other places for you to go. No sweat off of anyone's brow.
 
Another famous event many people who should know better always get wrong: They say the Red Sox "traded" Babe Ruth to the Yankees.

The most famous player in history, the most famous switching of teams of any player in history, the birth of the MFY dynasty, the source of CHB's moronic curse, etc. etc. and these idiots don't know what happened.

If Ruth was traded, who was he traded for? There's a great trivia question for you.

What? He was traded for a sack of money?

That's called a SALE!

I've read CHB refer to it as a trade. Unbelievable.
 
pweezil: Thanks!

beazer: Thanks! And totally.

redsock: That's also ridiculous. With this Fisk thing, I really had no idea until the other day that everyone doesn't know what happened.
 
Jere, we WON THE GAME.....the ball was a home run! I was there....I really was.....games 1, 2 and 6. Have a wonderful hoilday, and hi to BSM.
P.S. Game one...Looie....unforgettable...game two...Spaceman...I'll never forget. The rain came and interupted a close ballgame with Bill Lee pitching...it was never the same from there. And then there was Pudge....
 

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