It's Only Cute Until The Mets Lose A Game

Quirky field causes a home run that may not have been

There were a lot of gleeful mentions of the Mets' perfect five-for-five record on home run reviews on Thursday morning. It makes sense, Daniel Murphy's two-run, granted on video review homer was a key to the Mets victory, and a team with as many injuries as the Mets could use a little bit of luck now and again.

Imagine, just for a moment, if it was Adam Dunn who hit the ball that umpires ruled went off a Subway sign hanging on the right field stands. It was initially called a double and Ryan Zimmerman was thrown out on the plate, keeping a game tied at 3 in the sixth inning. It's doubtful too many people would be guffawing about the replay process.

Watch the video of Murphy's home run a few times and try to figure out the conclusive evidence that the ball hit the sign before dropping back onto the field. It's impossible to do. It seems like the ball hits the sign, from one angle anyway, but it could also have run into a wall of wind, an invisible bird or some other manifestation that caused it to seemingly change trajectory. It was a bad call by the umpires, and it wasn't really their fault.

It was Citi Field's fault. Let's turn things over to Wallace Matthews from Newsday for a moment as he does a fine job of explaining why this beleagured building is to blame.

And that's what happens when you try to force the issue, when you throw in quirks for the sake of quirks, when you add artificially-engineered nostalgia into what could have been a perfectly good, if conventional ballpark. Mass confusion. You knew that sooner or later, one of the many silly contrivances the Mets built into their new ballpark was going to intrude on the game.

We've said it on these pages before, but it bears repeating: The reason why old baseball stadiums had strange quirks and eccentricities were because they couldn't be built without them. No sensible architect would build a wall hanging over fair territory, like the old Tiger Stadium, unless they were forced to by the space. They served a purpose, in other words, rather than just standing in for history that's impossible for a new stadium to possess on its own.

No one's arguing for uniform fence distances and heights, because that's no fun, but that doesn't mean you need to go out of your way to make something odd about the stadium either. It's best to just remember that things are quirky until they cause you harm, at which point they just become crazy.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to and in addition to his duties for

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