Thursday, August 5, 2010

Milestone A-Rod Shot Misses 'Porch'


Section 136 of Yankee Stadium had the best chance of receiving A-Rod's 600th homer, according to Hit Tracker and SeatGeek, followed by Section 135. Both are in left field.

Alas, the shot went to Monument Park, where a security guard grabbed it, and A-Rod did not have to offer a bat, a game-worn jersey and a date with Cameron Diaz in return for the milestone ball.

Another place it did not land--the "short porch" of Yankee Stadium.

Ever wonder why it's a short porch? Granted, it's not a difficult shot to reach section 105, 106 and 107; I could probably do it, with a healthy breakfast in me, a breeze blowing out, and a mid-summer Mike Pelfrey on the mound.

So it's short, yes. But what makes it a porch? Dictionary.com defines "porch" thusly:

An exterior appendage to a building, forming a covered approach or vestibule to a doorway; a veranda.

That doesn't describe Yankee Stadium's short porch at all. It doesn't jut into right field, and it isn't covered.

Yet pundits and fans alike have been talking about the Stadium's "short porch" for eons.

The official Chicago Cubs website offered this headline about the new Stadium prior to the year's start:

Short porch to beckon at new Stadium

Wikipedia's baseball dictionary cited, yes, Yankee Stadium under its definition of short porch.

It says:

When one of the outfield walls is closer to home plate than normal, the stadium may be said to have a short porch. For example, Yankee Stadium has long had a short porch in right field.

"Short porch" kicks out almost 300,000 links when Googled. Nearly all refer to Yankee Stadium, with a much smaller number offering up something nasty on UrbanDictionary.com.

The Mets, as they are historically wont to do, indirectly tipped their caps to Yankee history when they named the right field section at new Citi Field the "Pepsi Porch." (There may be a sponsor involved in that; I'm not exactly sure who it might be.)

I'll put in a call to the Yankees to see if they know anything of the origin of short porch.

If you've got any theories, please pass them along.
UPDATE: From Ben over at the Yankee blog RiverAvenueBlues.com:
According to the third edition of the Dickson Baseball Dictionary, the short porch originated with the old Tigers Stadium. It's a right- or left-field wall that is unusually short and provides a friendly target to batters. Says Dickson's, "The term derives from the design of older ballparks which often featured overhanging roofs that made outfield spectators look like they were sitting on a porch."
[image: live.drjays.com]

2 comments:

papa said...

Probably had it's origins in stickball. However on Adams Ave , the left and right field porches were foul balls.

Adam said...

This is one of those way-too-overused baseball terms that somehow passes unchecked. In reality, it's a deep porch, in that if it were a porch of normal width, it wouldn't be so close to home plate. Or maybe it should be referred to as a "close" porch, as that would be a more accurate description regarding its position relative to home plate.