Sport has many quirks. The Sharks never winning is an example which springs to mind.
I’ve been to a lot of live sport all over the world. I’ve watched literally every type of sport and hopped on a bandwagon to support one team at the pointy end of the season too.
I’ve witnessed the most bizarre, incredible, dumb and ridiculous things on a sports field. I’ve seen Paul Cariage single handedly ruin Parramatta’s chance of making the Grand Final in 1998. That was just down right horrible. I’ve seen a golfer miss a two foot putt to win the US Masters and then Nick Faldo drain a 20 footer to wear the jacket. That was cringe worthy.
I was there when ‘Leapin’ Leo Barry took ‘that mark’ in 2005, which allowed the Swans to become Premiers and end a 72 year drought! Spectacular!
But on Wednesday I witnessed something I’ve never seen before. It was the most amateur thing I’ve ever seen…from a billion dollar company.
In game 3 of the NCLS (National League Championship Series), which is one game before the World Series (Grand Final equivalent), the New York Mets were playing against the infamous Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field (Chicago).
The Mets player hit a ball into the outfield and it went into the bushes and the game was stopped.
You read that correctly, but I’ll write it again. The ball went into the bushes and the game was stopped!
The outfield of Wrigley Field is a wall made of ivy. The local ground rule is, if the ball goes into the ivy and you can’t reach it, the game is stopped.
I’m sorry, it’s not backyard cricket! We’ve all played this rule since we could hold a bat. Six and out over the fence. Hits the sprinkler is four runs. Under the table is two runs. Into mum’s rose garden or under the car is no run and the game is stopped.
Those rules are fine for 10 year olds, but in this day and age it’s not good enough in Major League Baseball, no less!
The Mets were denied a run and the coach was up in arms, naturally. But it’s just the rule!
Other individual and strange ground rules in baseball are:
Fenway Park (Boston Red Sox) – A fly ball that strikes the top of the ladder on the Green Monster and then bounces out of play is two (2) bases.
Minute Maid Park (Houston Astros) – A batted ball striking the flagpole in center field and bouncing onto the field is in play; a ball striking the flagpole while in flight and leaving the playing field is a home run.
Tropicana Field (Tampa Bay Rays) – A batted ball that hits either of the two lower catwalks (C Ring and D Ring) between the yellow foul poles is ruled a home run. The two upper catwalks (the A Ring and B Ring) are considered in play; a ball that touches either can drop for a hit or be caught for an out.
Citi Field (New York Mets) – Any fair ball in flight hitting the overhanging Pepsi Porch is ruled an automatic home run.
Traditions are great in sport and it’s what makes sport, but surely on game day, Chicago can put a clear plastic wall up in front of the ivy, so the ball bounces back and is kept in play. I’m sure if one day it affected them from winning a World Series, the ivy would be cut down faster than Steve Bartman was escorted out of the ground in 2003!