Monday, April 19, 2010

You Vetter, you bet

The photo at left has nothing to do with this post except that it shows in the background a beige bar. That's the local limestone -- Vetter Stone -- facing of the overhang in right field at Target Field, and it came into play Sunday for the first time.

First inning: Billy Butler of Kansas City mashes a drive to right. Michael Cuddyer knows it's either going off the wall or over it, and he waits for the carom. The ball smashes into the Vetter Stone and sails back well over Cuddyer's head into right field with Cuddy chasing it back to the infield. Fortunately for the Twins, Butler tries to make it a triple. This is fortunate for the Twins because he runs about as well as I do, and I'm 52. He's out from here to my basement steps.

But the reality is that there are a lot of baserunners in the league who run better than Billy Butler, and if the Twins don't figure out a better way to play the overhang, there are going to be triples hit off that thing,

As I understand it, there are three surfaces to the right field fence. There's a padded portion at the base, there's marine plywood further up, and there's the Vetter Stone at the front of the overhang. Each surface has a different resiliency, so the right fielder has to gauge how high on the wall the ball is going to hit.

It occurs to me, however, that because the overhang juts eight feet out over the playing field, balls that hit the wall under it on the fly are going to be exceedingly rare. A fly ball that goes that far is going to hit something — a seat or the stone facing — before it reaches anything green. On such balls, the right fielder should give the wall lots of room; Cuddyer was too close to the wall on Butler's ball.

Of course, the challenge then becomes being sure that the fly is going that far. One wouldn't want to head for the infield to play the carom off the Vetter Stone only to see the fly ball miss everything.

I wonder if the solution might be for the second baseman to charge into the outfield. The right fielder can take an aggressive approach to the fly ball, and the second baseman can handle the carom off the Vetter Stone if it comes to that.


  1. in this day and age of baseball, design engineering, etc., can't we figure this out, why the overhang? What does the overhang have to do with the playing field, why even put it there???

  2. Like they used to say about Earl Battey, Butler looks like he's pushing a safe down the baseline!

    Your idea about sending the second baseman out on such a line drive is intriguing. That could be the trick. You should get ahold of Gardy and tell him about it!