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Sunday, April 2, 2017

Non uniform playing area on steroids: Tampa. Make home run distance the same in all directions in all parks.

Evan Longoria did it again. He got a really cheap home run today on opening day almost identical to one he got 5.5 years ago.
Tampa Rays park left field corner:
Was the wall always much closer and much lower than just a few feet further into fair territory or was that done to make Red Sox fans suffer more? Evan Longoria's wining hit was really a double, not a homer. That configuration is a joke ...

Today Longoria hit his cheapie homer off Yankee starter Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka pitcher poorly and deserved to lose but the game could have had much more significance as the 2011 game against Boston did.

During the reign of Allan Huber "Bud" Selig as commissioner many new ball parks were built with no consideration for making the playing areas uniform or even symmetrical. Nor for making the home run distance the same in all directions in all parks. Basic fairness was completely ignored and then in the middle of Selig's tenure he turned against steroid use, which had enabled much more home run hitting. Many were concerned about the home run records but about little else.

Now the home run records will not be challenged again and the lack of uniformity in playing areas has further receded from anyone's concern. Baseball remains comfortable with this basic and fundamental weakness. This comfort applies to both officials and fans.

Since the ball parks are already built, it's too late to do much to change them. However, there is a basic solution that was proposed here years ago: make minimum home run distances apply to fair fly balls that carry into the stands.

If the ball is clearly short of that minimum distance, it's a double. No need to get into measuring in inches, just if it's clear. It could not have been more clear than it was today with the home run awarded to Tampa's Evan Longoria. That hit should have been a double. That's all that Longoria deserved.

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