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Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Architecture of Sports

Baseball through a spatial lens.

Not all sports require absolute uniformity in their playing fields. Some allow and even celebrate degrees of variation. All baseball parks consist of the diamond (a square, technically) in which the locations and dimensions of the bases, pitcher’s mound, batter’s boxes, and other features are strictly standardized, and the outfield, for which Major League Baseball specifies only minimum dimensions (325 feet along the first base and third base lines and 400 feet from home plate to center field for stadiums built after 1958). This flexibility has allowed for the design of asymmetrical outfields that accommodate property boundaries, such as Boston’s Lansdowne Street — famously, the cause of Fenway Park’s shallow left field and the wall known as the Green Monster. Some outfields have incorporated obstacles within the field of play. Old Yankee Stadium’s monuments to deceased players and managers were in bounds in deep centerfield until 1975. Minute Maid Park, the home of the Houston Astros, had until this season a flagpole and a steep, 30-degree incline known as Tal’s Hill just inside the center field fence. An even greater anomaly, which lasted from 1928 to 1974, was Billy Goat Hill in Clark Field at the University of Texas at Austin, where the Longhorn’s knowledge of the “goat paths” up the rocky outcropping in right and center field made for a distinct home-field advantage.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 27, 2017 at 08:54 AM | 0 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: stadiums

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