A Surreal LA Night-Where Else?
Good morning on this cold and dark Saturday. The Boston Red Sox play their first of three exhibition games against the LA Dodgers in quite the setting-the Los Angeles Coliseum. They hope to set a baseball attendance record as more than 115,000 fans are expected. That's three and a half Fenway Parks, more than two Yankee Stadiums filled to their capacities! Here are some interesting facts about the late night (at least here) game, to be broadcast on NESN at 10:00pm EDT...
"The Dodgers are coming back to the Coliseum one more time to play the Red Sox in an exhibition game, and officials are hoping for a world-record baseball crowd of 115,000.
"I remember the Coliseum all too well," said commissioner Bud Selig, who watched the Sox in Japan and plans to be at tonight's game. "My team, the Milwaukee Braves, lost the 1959 pennant there. I remember those Wally Moon shots. There's a lot of history here. We're recreating something from 47, 48 years ago, and it's just amazing."
It'll be a circus-like environment. A football and track venue, best known as the college home of O.J. Simpson and site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, the oval-shaped Coliseum is totally ill suited for baseball configuration. New seats added since the Dodgers departed require that the left-field fence be 201 feet from home plate tonight. There's a 60-foot-high net over the short fence, and balls off the net will be in play. The Screen Monster. (Peter here--201 feet!)
With Manny Ramírez in left field for the Red Sox, the possibilities are endless. Manny, who likes to play shallow, will be taking his position just a few feet behind Mike Lowell at third base. Dodgers left fielder Juan Pierre said he might wear his protective cup while fielding his position.
"Two hundred feet to left?" asked Kevin Youkilis. "That's awesome."
Peter here, and I'll be watching. I'm usually asleep by then, or near it, but I have to see that field configuration for myself! Crazy stuff! Tim Wakefield relunctantly takes the mound. He said this when asked about the near-nonexistant left field depth...
"It is what it is," said Sox starter Tim Wakefield, sounding downright Belichickian. "I don't have any choice in the matter. What am I going to do - refuse to pitch?"
Peter again, and we all know that Tim will be in there baffling hitters with his knuckies. I wish he would pitch in Oakland, to tell you the truth. He had the best spring of any of the starters.
Enjoy the game tonight. Just the sheer number of fans will be a joy to see. Click on this post's title for the entire Boston Globe article with everything you wanted to know about the LA Coliseum's transformation into a baseball field, truly a somewhat warped field of dreams. Have a great weekend, and as always, BE WELL.