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Nice guy.  Have some blogs.  Do baseball research.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Google Earth to baseball: hello! Use me to measure ballpark distances.

During the ESPN Sunday night game in Fenway Park between the Yankees and Red Sox the play-by-play guy and his comical sidekick, former player John Kruk, were a wealth of misinformation, much of which could have easily been resolved by simply using the Google Earth Windows program to measure distances to the outfield walls.

John Kruk
 Busch Memorial Stadium 1992
by SW via Wikimedia Commons
They talked at length about the true distance down the left field line, which apparently is now posted as 310 feet.  I recall it being 315 but whatever,  Kruk mentioned that he had spoken to other players who speculated that it was well under 300 feet.

A few years ago I had measured it with Google Earth and found it to be about as listed.  I had also measured straight away center field to be about the 390 it was supposed to be.  Play-by-play guy said that a drive to the middle of the warning track in center was hit over 400 feet.  He was apparently influenced by the Bermuda Triangle, which sticks out in a small part of right center to a narrow point 420 feet from home plate.  Kruk also reminisced about old Tiger Stadium being 420 in center.  I recall it being 440.  Play-by-play guy wasn't sure about distances in old Yankee Stadium; Kruk was silent on that.

How is stuff like this still going on?  Is the TV audience for baseball so old that they never heard of stuff like Google Earth?  I was especially surprised that ESPN rather than just MLB Network was so primitive.

All this is a topic for conjecture and speculation because baseball is unique among the three American team sports in having non-uniform playing areas, which, of course, impact home runs the most.  This is particularly ironic because home runs are 99% of the concern of steroid zealots who today are grappling with new information about the Florida aging clinic, which resulted in suspensions of more than a dozen players including Ryan Braun, Jhonny Peralta, Nelson Cruz and Alex Rodriguez, the only one still serving his baseball sentence.  More on that in another post.

It's appalling that the chief executive of the Major Baseball League (MBL) did not immediately address the speculation about whether the posted Fenway Park distance was accurate by simply having it measured with media people present.  However, this would have necessitated the exhumation and resuscitation of one Allan Huber "Bud" Selig to take the action, so small chance of that happening.

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