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Play of the day: Tal’s Hill edition

Jun 19, 2013, 11:03 AM EDT

I think it was dumb that the Astros put an actual hill in center field when they built their ballpark. But if they hadn’t, we wouldn’t get to see Carlos Gomez climb it and make a great catch. And that’s worth the inevitable broken ankle someone suffers on it someday, yes?

  1. samu0034 - Jun 19, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    This might be one of the reasons people seem to think you’re a stick in the mud, Craig.

    • yousharted - Jun 19, 2013 at 11:23 AM

      and a pompous dbag

      • samu0034 - Jun 19, 2013 at 11:28 AM

        Great, now my perfectly valid suggestion that people might think Craig can be a stick in the mud because he sees a great catch and immediately complains that Tal’s Hill is stupid and should be removed, despite it having been there for 13 years without significant incident, is sullied by a pompous dbag who throws around mean spirited insults.

  2. alamosweet - Jun 19, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    Yes. Yes it is.

  3. sometogethernow - Jun 19, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    It is dumb.

    • nolanwiffle - Jun 19, 2013 at 11:47 AM

      Says you! Actually it’s pretty cool.

      There was a time when the monuments in centerfield at old Yankee Stadium were in fair territory. I don’t recall hearing any tales of maimed players from that era.

      • 18thstreet - Jun 19, 2013 at 12:04 PM

        There was a time when the walls in the outfield weren’t padded, and you don’t hear about … no, wait, it happened all the time. Knocked Fred Lynn out of the 1975 World Series.

      • nolanwiffle - Jun 19, 2013 at 12:47 PM

        Well that answers the question of how many players were hurt running into Monument Park between 1932 and 1976………no, wait, it actually has nothing to do with that at all.

  4. danaking - Jun 19, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    Two questions come to mind:
    1. Is there data on how many players were injured running up the terraces in old Crosley Field?
    2. There is a warning track in front of the hill. Is the hill more dangerous than a wall?

  5. Darkoestrada - Jun 19, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    Carlos Gomez is a stud

  6. stlouis1baseball - Jun 19, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    Wonderful catch to be sure. But the announcer called it the “catch of the year.” Not even close.

    • josemartez - Jun 19, 2013 at 12:01 PM

      Yeah, I’m tired of the “you’re not going to see a better catch than that” commentary. It’s like every defensive play is better than the last.

      • wonkypenguin - Jun 19, 2013 at 2:17 PM

        I was watching the Nationals on Opening Day and Ryan Zimmerman fielded probably the most normal ground ball in history and threw to first. The announcer declared him “a 2013 gold glover.”

        Hyperbole is great, isn’t it?

  7. ramblingalb - Jun 19, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    Every single year I see several players injure themselves landing on a base incorrectly, including often serious sprains and fractures. Yet, no mention of those as dangerous, just a hill that rarely comes into play.

    Awful tough to take his whining seriously. On the rare occasion it makes sense, it’s still just whining.

  8. stex52 - Jun 19, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    Tal’s Hill needs to go. it’s a bad leg injury waiting to happen. And the argument that you should allow a safety hazard to remain because there are other safety hazards on the field doesn’t cut it.

    While you are at it, take that 435 ft. bulge out of center field and make that whole outfield layout a little more sane. But that’s a different discussion.

    • samu0034 - Jun 19, 2013 at 12:49 PM

      Or perhaps after 13 accident free years it’s possible that concerns that Tal’s Hill is an injury waiting to happen are overblown. Or perhaps they’re not and it’s just been lucky thus far that nothing terrible has happened. That said, people pull hamstrings, and tear ACLs running on flat ground all the time. Get rid of flat ground!

    • stex52 - Jun 19, 2013 at 1:33 PM

      I can think of numerous examples (I work in industry) where the safety argument used was “it hasn’t happened yet.” That worked great until it really happened. Then everybody had the time to dwell on how cheap it would have been to address the problem before.

      Besides, I question that we can say nothing has happened on Tal’s Hill. I can’t cite a specific because no one has been hauled off on a stretcher. But Astros have certainly had center fielders with ankle and knee problems.

      • samu0034 - Jun 19, 2013 at 1:51 PM

        I think that’s a fair point, which is why I qualified my statement by acknowledging the possibility that it’s merely a lucky coincidence that there haven’t been any serious injuries related to Tal’s Hill. But I also think it’s a distinct possibility that the hill just seems like a bad idea on the surface, but that thus far data suggest it’s really not that dangerous. If data can show that Astros centerfielders have had a higher than average incidence of injuries that could reasonably be ascribed to the hill, then I think a campaign to have it removed is reasonable. Until that time, I think it’s just something that seems unusual that really isn’t that big a deal.

        By the way, I get the “evidence” that nothing bad has happened from this article on Bleacher Report (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1254702-6-reasons-houston-astros-should-remove-tals-hill-and-the-train). I think the 5th point is really the best argument in favor of getting rid of Tal’s Hill. In some respects it turns the field into a mini-golf course.

  9. RickyB - Jun 19, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    Howard Johnson Field in Johnson City, Tenn., used to have a tremendous hill in right field that came into play quite often. 45 degree angle 15 feet up. Nothing was more fun during BP than trying to make catches on that hill. Or watching an outfielder face plant into it when chasing a fly ball. But alas, the hill was removed after the 2010 season: http://www.littleballparks.com/Stadium/2011/Johnson_City/Johnson_City.htm

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