is a mystery to me. This new ballpark, loved by the Astros
fans, hated by all others, is an anomaly of a stadium with its danger zone in right center and its retractable roof
. Last season, several players (opposing team of course) injured their ankles on the "hill" in deep right center and it's a wonder no one has busted their skull against the enormous flagpole
that sits on that hill, in play.
The roof is state-of-the-art
all the way. You can barely hear the motors when they crank it open or closed and it supposedly makes Enron Field the most cost-efficient ballpark of its size in the world. I'm sure they must have been thinking about cost (or possibly the bad weather blowing in toward left field) last night when they decided to close the roof during a crucial at-bat by Brad Armstrong
. As he stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the seventh, Braves ahead by three, two on and two out, the wind blew fiercely out to left. Anything hit in that general vicinity was bye-bye, tie game. But in rolled the roof, quiet as a mouse, barely noticed by anyone save the Braves announcers who wondered at the timing and commented on the flags in left that had just gone limp.
As the roof reached about the three quarter-closed mark, Armstrong hit a rocket to deep left. Unaided by the wind that was there just moments before, the ball gave up and dropped into the glove of BJ Surhoff, shy of the dinger by maybe two feet. Oh well. Live and learn, eh?
Admittedly, this roof is quite an accomplishment architecturally and structurally. The reality of the roof reared its silent head another time last night when Jeff Bagwell
smacked a Mike Remlinger
pitch over two hundred forty feet high
where it careened of a steel girder in the roof and dropped onto the field. The umpire closest to the ball (who incidentally did not actually see the ball hit the ground), called it foul as they have no rules on balls bouncing around in the ceiling. Had the roof not been there, the ball would surely have left the planet