Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Don't worry about opposite-field homers
When the Red Sox play the Dodgers in a pre-season game Saturday, March 29, there will be no reason for right-handed hitters not to look to pull that inside pitch. The game will be played in the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, where the Dodgers spent their first four seasons in California.
The stadium was not built for baseball -- the left field "fence", I mean screen, will be a paltry 201 feet from home plate. A pop-up to short could be in danger of falling in the seats. Fans sitting in the first few rows will have to be on the look-out for line drives.
To even things out, right field is where fly balls will go to die. That fence is 440 feet from the plate. The NYT story I linked above has a great quote from Dodgers likely starting left fielder Juan Pierre. He likely will get the best view of the ball coming off the bat that he has ever had from the outfield. He just will have to be careful to call off the shortstop and third baseman every time he makes a play.
This exhibition is part of the Dodgers' 50th anniversary in L.A. More than 100,000 are expected with standing-room tickets included.
It's hard to believe the Dodgers hosted the the 1959 World Series against the White Sox at the Coliseum under nearly the same conditions. By the way, the Dodgers won that series in six games.
Photo found at www.ballparkwatch.com