Thursday, February 25, 2010


It's cool that the Red Sox are getting a new spring training facility. But another freaking "replica Green Monster"? The reason Fenway is so great is that it's an original. They built the place to fit the surrounding streets. A big wall was necessary. They didn't look at another park and say "let's make it look like that." It's one thing if you're building a Wiffle Ball park in your backyard, of course, everybody wants to play in "Fenway." But it's another thing to see something awesome, and instead of being influenced by it, simply ripping it off. D-U-M-B! It's the same thing with every single new stadium--they copy the last one and make it 5% different. The reason stuff ends up being shitty is because everybody does the same thing. It doesn't matter if that thing was cool in the first place--if everybody does it, it loses the effect.

I agree with you about uniqueness, but couldn't a strong argument be made that a training facility should be able to replicate the unique nature of the environment you are training to be in?

LBJ could use a little more LF time w/ the wall (though he's certainly had some in the past). The new players could have a little experience batting w/ the wall before the games count, etc. etc.
There's a little league field in Belchertown, MA that's a direct replica of Fenway. It's actually pretty cool.

Have you ever seen it? I wish a park existed like that when I was a kid growing up in NYC, however, I don't have a mini-Fenway in mind. Obviously.
1. I can't imagine they're doing it for any other reason than aesthetics.

2. Would they really do that for just a small percentage of the team (the outfielders, mainly left and center) so that they can be prepared for half the regular season games? It wouldn't even affect pitchers, catchers, infielders (unless you wanna argue positioning on cut-off plays), or hitters (unless you wanna argue "practicing" hitting looping flies to left or deciding when to go for two on liners off the wall). I guess if you're a new outfielder to the organization, yes, it would give you a sense of what playing those walls is like (even so, what percentage of hits actually go off the wall?), but it's probably not gonna be exactly the same anyway. Before any home game in the reg. season you can get all the practice you need, and it would be the exact field.

So, while it could help the select few who are affected by it to prep for 50% of reg. season games, I would say that that has nothing to do with the decision to do it this way. But I could be wrong.
And about the mini-Fenway--that's my whole point, they're everywhere. Anybody who makes a little ballpark makes it look like Fenway. In those cases, for kids or whatever, fine, I would love to play in a little Fenway but enough is, ya know, enough. And to do that FOR the Red Sox themselves--bush league.
I don't mind the replica spring training site. If you're evaluating talent, might as well do it with the same playing field. They should do it with all their minor league parks too. What bothered me was when they were going to replace Fenway...with a replica.
If they were the first ones to think of it, I'd have the same reaction the first time I heard of a mini-Fenway: "Awe-sommme!" But I just don't see a reason to have them play at a Fenway replica for a month in March.

And I'm really not seeing the logic on what you and Nick brought up with the fact that you want to play on the same field. All baseball fields are the same when it comes to the base and mound distances, it's not like fence distances and height are that important to how a player plays. And I would think if it's really about evaluating talent, wouldn't you want a perfectly average field? I can't imagine the New York Giants saying, Even though we have all this room at our Florida park, we'll make it 250 down the line to more closely reflect the Polo Grounds.

My point is, we've already got a Fenway. There's only one. Are they gonna make foul territory the same to see if the catcher can catch foul pops in a Fenway-like atmosphere? Put in a wind tunnel to reflect Fenway's wind currents? Pump in crowd noise to make it feel like 38,000? I don't think so.
it's not like fence distances and height are that important to how a player plays

I think the primary reason that the Sox are considering doing this is as a marketing gimmick, but I disagree with this statement. Fence distances and height have a very significant impact on how a ballpark 'plays', and whether it positively or negatively impacts lefty/righty pitchers and batters. Lefthanders in Fenway need to know how to pitch around hitters to avoid solid contact to leftfield; lefty batters need to learn how to play Wall-ball, and righty batters need some acclimated to having that huge green wall out there, if only so that they don't get drawn into the bad habit of pulling everything. It probably has some value to have young players and guys coming over from the NL get acclimated to Fenway's unique dimensions for month before the regular season starts, and I imagine Theo and his staff have considered and attempted to quantify the benefit.

With that said, I personally wish they wouldn't do this; the marketing angle just feels too's got Lucchino's (and the possibly-returning Dentist's) fingerprints all over it. I'll bet Kapstein is for it too.

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