Jun 26, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury (2) hits the wall as he tries to catch a ball hit by Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton (not pictured) during the fourth inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Playing "The Wall" Ball

Ted Williams was a mediocre glove man. Early in his career he was notorious for taking phantom swings in the outfield as he concentrated on becoming the “Greatest hitter that ever lived.”

I was fortunate enough to see TSW play in the last half dozen years of his career and can attest to his limited ability in patrolling left field. Williams had an average arm and his foot speed and quickness would not make him a present day candidate for Dancing With The Stars. But he could play The Wall.

Sep 20, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays left fielder Kevin Pillar (22) leaps, but cannot get a double off the wall by Boston Red Sox player Daniel Nava (not pictured) during the third inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

That “Play The Wall” was the usual theme for those who watched TSW float around the outfield and from my own observational point of view it was 100% accurate. Williams knew the bounces, angles, the ladder, the wind and had an eerie feel for where the ball was headed. This is probably the end result of being a consummate observer of pitchers and hitters.

The importance of this reared its ugly head for the Tampa Bay Rays. Sean Rodriguez was simply baffled on more than one occasion. He is not the first nor will he be the last. Even the Red Sox managed a double coverage in the 9th to turn a routine double into a triple. What if the game was tied at that point?

The home field advantage in Fenway is a real positive for the Red Sox. They watch. They practice. They probably even have extensive films in the bowels of Fenway on just how to cut down angles, play The Wall, manage a potentially horrendous right field, and get that ever slight edge.

Yesterday Tampa Bay got punished. Here’s hoping it does not reverse.

Tags: Boston Red Sox Ted Williams The Wall

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