When 360 Architecture, the Oakland Athletics, and Cisco Systems rolled out renderings for the proposed ballpark in Fremont, CA., the one thing that came to mind is that it would harken back neighborhood park designs such as Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, yet have a great many unique and modern touches that would come with being associated with 360 Architecture and Cisco.
As I looked over the renderings closely for an article I did on the design for Baseball Prospectus, there was one design aspect that was mysterious to me: the batter's-eye design.
If you look at the image we provide here (click on the image to see a larger version in a popup), you'll notice that the batter's-eye (the black background in centerfield that allows batters to see the ball against a solid background, and thus protect them from misreading the ball spin and potentially being hit in the head) is missing. This confused me as it clearly would not be allowed when games are played, as all MLB ballparks require the background to protect hitters. How would the A's get around not having a batter's-eye? The answer is, they will have one... just not before games, as this rendering falsely leads one to believe. As reported by the Boston Globe:
[Lewis] Wolff explained some of what he's planning.
"In the batter's-eye area in center field, that will open up into a public park where fans can look into the stadium before the game and watch batting practice. At game time, the area will close up and we'll provide either a feed of the game if it's sold out or a movie for people to enjoy. The area will also open up to our version of Yawkey Way, about a half-million square feet of shopping areas."
So, the batter's-eye will most likely be rolled up in some fashion to allow fans to peer in, thus removing the mystery. Just one more innovative design aspect to look forward to when Cisco Field opens.
To see artist renderings of Cisco Field, select this link on The Biz of Baseball