About The Yard.

July 3, 2011

The last line of the last entry reminded me: I should tell you about the softball park we play our league games at it. Most softball fields are really crappy playing surfaces with really bad lighting. And this is no different in that regard. There’s six diamonds, with chain link backstops and fences down the line. High screens all the way around to prevent balls from flying into the other diamonds.

But there’s one thing that makes this place ridiculously cool. The six diamonds are in a butterfly shape, three on each side, in a fan. In the middle of the fan, by the home plates, there’s a sports bar/snack bar place (on each side).

The diamonds are sunken, with the area in the middle a concrate concourse, with a club shop, batting cages and indoor soccer field.

Each diamond has about a hundred seats behind the plate like a real park, and each has concrete dugouts. There’s a scoreboard at each in the outfield, with the score, outs, inning and a clock (7 innings or an hour curfew, no inning can start after it hits 0). The ump updates it from a controller hanging on the fence behind home.

 But the thing that makes the place really cool: Each diamond is named after a famous old park, with altered its dimensions modeled after that park, graphics all the way around other wooden modeling to complete the look. There’s:

Fake ivy painted on the walls and deeper corners. Over the fence is slanted wood with the fans painted on, and once the slant hits the back wall, it’s graphics of faux Wrigley-ville. In centerfield is a painting of the old green scoreboard at Wrigley that even has real flags sticking off the top of it. There’s also the sign in right field with the years since they won the division, pennant and world series (that’s outdated, of course). And it plays like Wrigley, too. If the wind’s blowing in, no one can hit it out. If the wind’s blowing out, don’t even bother chasing it.


With shorter dimensions down the lines, a death valley in left center, and the wood and graphics look just like the old Yankee Stadium, with the frieze façade all the way around. Haven’t played there yet.


Short corners, a deep center field cut back into the wall like the Polo Grounds – where Willie Mays made the famous catch. And it has a graphic of the clubhouse in centerfield. I haven’t even seen it yet.


Not as famous, but we’re in California. It has a wooden rock-pile in left center, there’s a screen on the outfield fence where the bullpen should be, so the painted on relief pitchers can see out. In centerfield, there’s a Big A from the Angels logo. The wall gets higher from center field to right field.  And the scoreboard is in right field. It’s a bad sun field, though.


Probably the lamest of the six, since they don’t have the signature things of Tiger Stadium that were the most unique. It has a fake upper deck, but it doesn’t hang over the field in right field, like the real one. And no flag pole in play either.


The fences are green and the one in left is really tall. It’s 20 feet tall, and has a screen above it, like a mini- Green Monster. The fences are shorter in right field, with the bullpen drawn on in right center, then it curves funky in the rightfield corner, by the Pesky Pole.

It’s not as extreme as Fenway, though. The Monster is angled more like a symmetrical softball field, with no “triangle” in center, because that’d be dangerous as hell. I think the Monster is actually further away from home plate in this field than at Fenway. But it’s not as high.

I thought it would be a hitters park, with people drilling balls off the Monster for easy long singles, and lots of home runs.

But it’s really plays more like Coors Field: There’s so much space out there, that singles fall in, and if anything gets over your head it’s a triple or homer. And the wind is more like Candlestick Park. I had my shirt rippling from left to right as I played right field, but that was the opposite of what it was on the concourse before the game. And the flags in the next stadium over were blowing a third direction. A tailing line drive would blow one way in the wind, and a high fly ball would blow the other way. One ball was a high, tailing liner into the gap, and I swear it changed directions more than the Magic Bullet.