September 19, 2011
Everywhere you look, Fenway Park has singular features, especially in the outfield.
The Green Monster in left, the Triangle in center and Pesky's Pole in right give Fenway Park a unique backdrop for fans to watch a ballgame. It's a pretty place.
It also can be challenging — for outfielders to play and for umpires to officiate.
I've always thought the Red Sox seemed to benefit more than their opponents by somehow "knowing how" to hit home runs around Pesky's Pole — though that assumption probably can't be proved in a meaningful way.
But the home team sure got the raw end of the deal on a ball that David Ortiz(notes) hit off the fence in the fifth inning, just beyond Pesky's Pole, on Monday. The apparent error in judgment by umpire Mike Estabrook isn't the kind of help the Red Sox were looking for as they try to hang on to a playoff spot. It cost Boston at least a run in a game Baltimore won 6-5.
The ball hit just below the "e" in "here" on the sign — which is clearly in fair territory.
Then again, the right-field fence at Fenway curves like no other in the majors. Most angles in big league parks are perhaps 100 degrees, but Fenway's must be 130. That region of the park is called "The Belly." (Everything has a nickname at Fenway.)
Boston manager Terry Francona told the media he appealed to Estabrook to ask the other umpires for their opinion. It didn't change anything.
[Check out the original photo here]
"I know it's a tough corner," Francona said. "I'd like to get this call right. I wish they could've kept asking somebody else but they ran out of people to ask."
"It's just a break in the game, they got it, that's basically it," Pedroia said. "We've played a 100-whatever games and we're not going to say our season is over because an umpire missed a call. We're better than that. Yeah, it's frustrating, another hit, it's a big hit but it didn't go our way."
Video replay was out because it wasn't a disputed home run and Joe West wasn't umpiring. One suggestion, by 'Duk: Maybe they could paint the fence a different color once it becomes fair territory to help the umps out. Or, we could make that idea extreme and actually paint the fence every inning, so that it's wet, and in case a ball hits it, we'll have clear (or green) evidence.
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