The new Marlins home-run sculpture has been a source of much merriment here at Baseball Nation.
So it is with... what's the word? Irony? Bemusement? Glee? that I note that there might be a problem with the sculpture. Specifically, its location:
According to Marlins players, the psychedelic home run sculpture in deep left-center could pose a problem for some hitters, specifically left-handed batters facing right-hand pitchers with sidearm deliveries.
"If it is an issue, it can no longer be there," warned Marlins utility player Greg Dobbs. "I won’t be the only left-handed hitter saying something. If other teams have a problem with it, they’re definitely going to voice their concern to the league."
At the moment, no one knows for sure. The Marlins don’t play their first game there until Tuesday when they face the University of Miami in an exhibition game.
"It can no longer be there"? Seriously? The Marlins might be forced to demolish this kitschy structure, on which they spent untold numbers of dollars and about which incredible numbers of words have been written? Don't worry, says Marlins management:
"Not an issue whatsoever," said team president David Samson. Samson said Major League Baseball officials gave the ballpark a thorough going-over Thursday to make sure it conformed to standards that include the batter’s ability to pick up a baseball as it leaves the pitcher’s hand.
Well, of course team management is going to say that. Catcher John Buck, though, isn't so sure:
"It’s kind of my job to scope those things out," Buck said. "It might be close. It might be all right. I don’t know. We’ll see. I think for left-handed batters it might be trouble."
There might not be many complaints from the opposing team on Tuesday evening -- it's not likely that a college team, the first guest in a new stadium, will say anything about the accomodations. There will be another game there Wednesday night against a college team (Florida International) and after that the next Marlins opponent in their shiny new stadium will be the Yankees, for two exhibition games on April 1 and 2, before the official Opening Day on April 4 against the Cardinals.
"If it is an issue, it can no longer be there," said Greg Dobbs. This could get interesting. Stay tuned.