Welcome to Appy Astros, a blog dedicated to following current & former Greeneville Astros, the Appalachian League affiliate of the Houston Astros. Here you will find reports on current G-Stros, updates on the development of former G-Stros and occasionally an update on what has happened to the guys who have hung up their spikes.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Johnson City Cardinals Lose The Hill

On my drive to work today, I heard on "The Sports Monster" an interview with East Tennessee State head baseball coach Tony Skole (pronounced like the dip - what a great baseball name). He mentioned that the hill that stretched from the right field line almost to the corner of center (yes, there is a corner in center field) had been leveled.

The Johnson City Press followed that interview up with a story
. They described the berm this way:

Perhaps 15 feet high and banked at 55- or 60-degree angles in places, the hill turned outfielders into mountain goats. And because it doubled as a football stadium perimeter and continued to arc in from the right field corner, the berm also made straightaway right-center field some 310 feet from the plate.

Shopping at the right-center field gap could provide cheap home runs for batters who often circled the bases almost apologetically after slicing balls through the breeze and over the hill while pitchers cursed the baseball gods.

Skole said there were seasons their home ERA was 2.50 points higher because of the short field in right. So much for a home field advantage. He added:
From a fan’s standpoint, you don’t see a 20-foot hill in the outfield,” East Tennessee State coach Tony Skole, who has managed some 300 games there. “It added a lot of charisma. But if you pitched there on a consistent basis you could end up pulling your hair out. I know a lot of the purists are probably disappointed … but from a coaching standpoint I really applaud the city for taking it down and making the adjustment.
There are other great recollections of the hill in the article. I encourage you to check it out.

Howard Johnson Field at Cardinal Park used to back up to Steve Spurrier Field where the Science Hill Hilltoppers played their football games. That created the short right field. Now, with Science Hill having it's new on campus stadium, the football stands were leveled and so was the hill.

Here are some links to pictures of "the hill" - pic 1 , pic 2.

Personally, I am glad my son got to attend a game in that park last season so he could see "the hill" . With "the hill" leveled, now the high walls in left and the deep corner in center are the only character left in what otherwise is just an old nondescript stadium.

No comments:

Post a Comment