Cheap Tricks

Another goal of this blog is to vent my frustrations, therefore saving my sanity.  Today’s frustration: I HATE Minute Maid Park!  There, I said it.  I hate it with a passion.  If I ever see thoseCrawford boxes again or hear that buzzing sound that gets played for
1/2 of Houston’s line-up again I am going to be sick. 

When I first
heard the term "Crawford box" it was all about Shaun Dean and his 2
caught homers.  I thought, that is cool for him and I really respect
that he is giving them back.  What are the odds of someone catching 2 home runs in 1
game?  But as I watched this series — I hadn’t really noticed before
when we played at MMP — I realized that if Mr. Dean had been sitting in
that seat for the entire post season, he might have 4 or 5 balls.  It’s silly how many times I heard the announcers say that
"XX – Astro’s player hit the ball to almost the exact same spot as
Burkman’s and Burke’s home runs in the last game of the DS."  In every
game this series, one Houston player hit a homerun to those
seats 315 feet away.  It doesn’t even look hard – a few astros
looked just stuck out the bat and off it goes to left field… and into
the crawford boxes.  It just seems cheap to me to have a feature in a
ballpark that makes it so easy to hit homeruns, especially with a team
that pitches as well as the Astros.  Runs are at a premium and it must be
nice to be able to poke out a HR when you need it most in a 1-0 game.
You might say the Cards have the same opportunity to hit a HR there, but the reality is
that the Astros definitely have the advantage – they play there
approximately 81 times a season, plus practices where they surely
concentrate on exploiting that feature of this ballpark.   Everyone else plays there 6 (or so) times.
They poke it there over and over and over again.  I guess that’s just
the way it is.  Perhaps this is what
accounts for the Astro’s dominance at home and troubles on the road. 

Sorry, it just seems cheap to me.




    OK, let’s talk dimensions. Fenway Park – 315 to the left fence and 302 to the right. County Stadium (Milwaukee Brewers) – 315 on both sides. Yankee Stadium – 318 to the left fence and 314 to the right (plus these guys use DH’s). The King Dome – 316 on both sides. Several of the stadiums built in the 1800’s, when baseball was defined, had dimensions under 300. Polo Grounds, in Manhattan, where the New York Giants played from 1891 to 1963, was 279 to the right and a mere 257 to left. There was a period of building stadiums with longer lines, partly because of the desire to jointly accommodate football, and baseball got boring. It almost died. Anyone can practice going left. The “Crawford Boxes” don’t have to be there. In fact, playing more often in a large park should be an advantage, not a hindrance. Not unlike practicing pool on a full size table, and then playing for money on a “bar-size” table. Get it? And if you don’t like the sound of the bees, don’t come. No one is putting a gun to your head. The only thing that is cheap is your trying to blame the Cards dismal NLCS performance on the Crawford Boxes. Get a grip. When Pujols finally connected, he stuck it up on the train tracks. You have to be able to actually hit the ball to make it go anywhere, regardless of field size. Bzzzzzz….

  2. Rick

    Hey Ravings…ditto on your blog re Crawford Boxes…I think Cindy Crawford could hit one out to those truly cheap seats.
    As for tltthomas note, sounds like sour grapes to me from a fan who has NEVER enjoyed a World Series from his little wild card entrant.

    Back to Busch we go where only legitimate homers exist.

    I’m still lauging how Pujols hit one off the choo-choo…who the f$$$ builds a choo-choo in a ballpark.

    Houston was absolutely Poo-holed last night!!!!


    I totally agree and can i just say how happy I am to see that other Cardinal fans around the country felt the same way! I must say a few things… From that piece of dump ballpark, to the stupid Bee noises, to the dumb Crawford box, my goodness, I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing. Honestly, I don’t know why the Cardinals decide to hit a slump at this time in the Post-Season after dominating all year long but I do know that I am proud to be a Cardinals fan and couldn’t be more proud of our team and coaching staff. With injuries being the name of the game this season, so many people had to step up, and did they ever! Also… out of the bottom of my heart, I cannot say it enough, thank God that we are out of MMP, those fans know nothing of respect for the game nor how to seperate Baseball from an Amusement Park. I was expecting to see Mickey Mouse running around the stadium making Bee noises while riding the Choo Choo train on his way to the Crawford box. For goodness sake, respect the game, respect the Cardinals, and play some Rock’n Roll like a normal Ballpark. Perhaps we should annoy the H-E-L-L out of their fans by playing loud “chirping” noises ALL game long. All the Astro fans want a trip to the World Series to validate their franchise, but I honestly don’t think they are ready to be validated until they get some class, and learn to respect the game.

    By the way, I love your blog and couldn’t agree with you more.


    Just to point out the obvious: The Crawford Boxes are there for both teams. Don’t blame the Cardinals’ poor hitting on the dimensions of the ball park. Blame it on the tremendous Astros pitching. Or the fact that the Cardinals seem to slump sometimes in big game situations (i.e.: Last year’s World Series, where, correct me if I’m wrong, they never held the lead?).

    Another note: I’ve always heard that Cardinals fans are some of the classiest fans in baseball. Those of you commenting here are certainly not proving that to be true. The Astros as an organization are among the classiest in baseball. The team respects the game tremendously. Say what you want about the ballpark’s commercialism (it bothers me too). But the reason we want a World Series has nothing to do with “validation.” It has to do with getting a championship for Craig Biggio. And Jeff Bagwell. Two of the classiest players in the game. It has to do with the fact that they battled back from beginning the season 15-30, from the media selling them out as the biggest disappointment in baseball. It has to do with heart, and desire, and passion. I’m proud of this team, whatever happens. You guys should take your sour grapes and eat them elsewhere.


    I don’t blame you for hating MMP; after all, the Cards had lost 5 straight there in the NLCS before Albert hit his dinger. But it’s a great place to watch a game, and the short porch isn’t really that short after you factor in the high wall. Despite all the idiot Fox announcers claiming that every home run would be a “routine fly ball” in every other ball park, that’s just not true. Most of the shots hit there go in on a line that would carry out of most fields with normal fences.

    (Actually, the thing I don’t like about MMP is Tal’s Hill and that stupid flagpole. But since they rarely come into play, you don’t hear as much about them. But somebody’s going to get hurt out there.)

    And as far as the Astros having an advantage in MMP… there’s no doubt they aim at the Crawford Boxes. Biggio in particular hits everything right at it, but good hitters take advantage. Frankly, I think many of the Astros become too pull happy (see Morgan Ensberg–last home run was a month ago), which hurts them in the long run and at other fields.

  6. Marc

    Glad people are commenting on this! More of my opinions:

    – I didn’t know so many other parks had short fences. I still don’t like it, but I guess there is some precedent.

    – Homeruns are exciting, but they are not the focus of baseball. HRs are like a joker, they come up big if you get them but you can’t depend on them and expect to survive. Pitching and small ball are more consistent.

    – That buzzing isn’t only annoying in the ballpark, but on TV and Radio too.

    – I do not agree that Astro’s fans do not respect the game. I think they for the most part are some of the best in baseball. Shaun Dean is a good example.

    – Don’t forget the Astros also lost 5 straight at Busch.

    – I also hate Tal’s hill and the fact that while the sides are so narrow, the center is so deep (and a hill??). Hard homers are next to impossible, easy homers are even easier.

    – I’m not exactly eating sour grapes, but even if I was, this is MY blog isn’t it? Where else is a better place?


    Out of the last 5 games, Astros @ Cardinals, the Astros have won 4. It’s not about the Boxes. See ya’ next year boys.

  8. Marc

    Well, for the season they are still 9 and 13. Before you get too cocky, try winning the division and try to finish the season within 10 games of the Cardinals. Try winning 100 games. Then try winning them two years in a row. Hot streaks come and, just as quickly, they go.
    We’ll see you you next year, most likely in the rear view.

    As I said, I like most Astros fans.


    One word….Lane….looks like MMP isn’t the only place the Astros hit homeruns (for all you people who hate the crawford boxes so much). Looks like we’ll be buzz’in out of St Louis….and on into Chicago……GO ASTROS!!!


    The Astros early season trouble is directly connected to the absence of Lance Berkman. Once he got back on track, the Astros went Wild. Since late May, the Astros road stats are just as good as the best in baseball. In other words, this team can play just as well on the road as anyone. As far as your comment on “they play there 81 times, plus practice”. A semi-deep fly-ball to left is the same wherever home plate is.

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