Just in case the dimensions and features of Fenway Park weren’t ridiculousness enough already, the foul line leading up to the infamous Pesky’s Pole in right field completely disregards consistency in the chasm of no man’s land that exists in the space where the foul line ends and the foul pole begins. Perhaps this was never more in focus than on Friday night when Adam Lind had a three run home run called back after it hit the top of the wall in the in between space.

It’s testament to how frustrating this moment was for Blue Jays fans that the team actually ended up winning that game, and lost the next two, but the complaints over that play continue.

The origin of the name is almost as crooked as the foul line itself, but it’s clear to say that in at least some capacity it’s based on the legend of former Red Sox player Johnny Pesky. The story goes that the slap hitting infielder hit a number of home runs around the pole, located between 295 and 305 feet from home plate, depending on who you ask. However, the truth of the matter is that Pesky only hit 17 home runs in his entire 10 year career, and only six of those were at Fenway Park.

In a 2002 interview with the Boston Globe, Pesky further explained:

It came from Mel Parnell when he was broadcasting a game with Ken Coleman and Ned Martin one night. Someone hit a home run down the line and right around the pole, and Mel started talking about a game I hit one right around the pole to win it. The game was around ’49 or ’50, and I hit one late that won it for us. It might have even hit the pole. I had only 17 home runs in my career. I thought I hit eight right near the pole, but they researched it and said I hit only six. Six is big for me. I hit about two a year. But Mel came up with the name `Pesky Pole’ in that broadcast years later, and it stuck. The one I remember most was Opening Day 1946 when I hit a two-run homer in the eighth right around the pole to win it for us.

Another legend has it that Pesky hit a home run around the pole to win a game in which Parnell was pitching, but a quick look through the records reveals that the only home run Pesky hit with Parnell on the mound came on June 11, 1950, which ended as an extra innings loss to the Detroit Tigers.

The irony wasn’t lost on Blue Jays fans on Friday night that it took the modern technological precision of video replay to figure out what had happened on an archaic part of a broken down field.

According to Adam Lind:

I think they were confused and didn’t know what to do. I imagine it was something they never thought could happen,” said Lind, “but as we all know when you design a field like that, it will eventually happen. I was definitely surprised they called it a home run to begin with, but my gut told me it wasn’t going to stand, especially being here and all that.

Photo courtesy of @GregorMLB and really, really dumb grounds keeping.

And The Rest:

The Rays beat the Twins with a lineup picked by fans. And they say that Tampa Bay has lousy fans . . . or maybe that’s just how awful the Twins are this season.

Bryan Stow, the Giants fan who was beaten up at Dodger Stadium on Opening Day has been put back into a medically induced coma.

Frank McCourt received a $30 million loan from FOX in order to meet payroll demands for the Dodgers.

The Boston media continues to freak out over Carl Crawford’s slow start.

Adrian Gonzalez’s new contract extension with the Red Sox is just another example of baseball inequality.

The Colorado Rockies had an interesting addition to their uniforms this weekend.

Lenny Dykstra is being charged with bankruptcy fraud.

Johnny Damon is Tampa Bay’s first rock star.

Grady Sizemore made a triumphant return to baseball.

Dusty Baker doesn’t trust those machines that spit out numbers when a pitcher throws.

No one has a package quite like Alex Rodriguez.

Blue Jays closer Frank Francisco should be return from injury by Tuesday.

Baseball nerdgasm: Bill James will be appearing on Stephen Colbert‘s show on May 5th.

Michael Pineda is doing the impossible: making the Mariners watchable.

The Joe Nathan experiment as closer is over. Matt Capps will take over for him.

Rickey being Rickey.

Finally, the Philly Phanatic gets revenge for all those years of being made to eat his vegetables:


Comments (9)

  1. This is what I yelled on Friday night, and I stand by it.


  2. And also, noticed how calm Adam Lind is about everything…..

  3. I should’ve mentioned that people pointed to the ad as the cause for the shift, but if you look below the ad, the line is still off.

  4. Why have a line on the wall anyway? Just have the foul line on the dirt match up with the pole.

    Gah, I hate these people.

  5. I couldn’t believe it when I read that article about Werth yesterday. Seriously, Boston? There are like a gajillion reasons why that’s completely ridiculous.

  6. My take on the stupidity of the multiple foul lines:

    They drew them on the wall such that if you look at them directly down the foul line (i.e. where the 1B ump is standing), they line up perfectly with the pole (they showed a shot from that angle on Sportsnet to confirm that as well). So from an umpire’s standpoint, if he’s standing where he’s supposed to be, it’s just an extension of the foul pole and there should be no confusion. Traditionally, home runs down the right field line are left up to the first base ump. So, it almost kind of makes sense, because he’s only ever going to be looking down there from the exact angle at which the lines all line up perfectly.

    Except now, we have video replay, and we get to look at it from a whole bunch of different angles, making it totally confusing and ambiguous. I’m sure they haven’t had problems with it before because those calls were always made from directly down the first base line, but they really need to change it now.

  7. @Joanna: Adam Lind is Zen.

    Also, there’s enough wood in that barn to burn the beloved cathedral of the Massholes to the ground, isn’t there? It’s seriously time to put it out of its misery. Then again, that would give them more revenue, and Theo is a bit of a beast.

  8. In all the years at Fenway Park, this can’t have been the first time a ball has been hit between the pole and that line. I saw some of the photos Shi Davidi took, and looking down the line it appears that the pole and the foul line are in sync.

    But if you look at an angle (like the photo above), it clearly looks like they are misaligned by a couple feet. In that case, I can see why the umps called it a foul ball, but they need to either change the ground rules for Fenway Park or move that pole closer to the line.

  9. Probably be easier to move the advertising sign, and the painted lines than the pole.

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