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  • Tunnel/camera pit behind home plate

    I noticed an interesting trend as to the existence or lack thereof of tunnels and/or camera pits behind homeplate.

    As far as I can recall, the early ballparks did not have such an area behind homeplate. This makes perfect sense, as television was not really a mainstay until the mid 1950s.

    I believe the first instance where there was a tunnel behind homeplate came by happenstance--the LA Coliseum, where there was the large tunnel leading to the clubhouses underneath the stands behind homeplate.

    From that point on, it seemed like a good deal of the new ballparks and stadiums built included an area behind homeplate where there was either a camera pit or a tunnel behind homeplate. This included most of the parks built during the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

    Interestingly enough, this trend did not go away with the advent of the retro parks...Oriole Park, Coors Field, Turner Field, Comerica Park are all examples of parks with this feature.

    Recently, though, I've noticed a lot of parks have moved away from the trend, though. Nationals Park, Busch III, and Great American do not have the tunnel. I guess it's because the tunnel takes away from some prime seating locations.

    Does anyone think this trend away from the tunnels will continue, and whether or not you think it is a good or bad thing?

  • #2
    Were cameras originally put behind home plate because they weren't advanced enough to film from 450' away in centerfield like they are today?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by ipitch View Post
      Were cameras originally put behind home plate because they weren't advanced enough to film from 450' away in centerfield like they are today?
      Probably not, I'm pretty sure the first time the centerfield view was used was durring the 1957 World Series. Before that, games were all filmed from behind homeplate but from the press boxes.
      ..."I might have been given a bad break, but I've got an awful lot to live for."

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      • #4
        They're being eliminated for the same reason they're taking out the boxes for the goal judges at hockey games: those are prime revenue seats. Why build a pit that consumes several or even dozens of seats when you can mount a pole cam on the backstop.

        Dodger Stadium, before all of the recent modifications, had a place behind the plate were you'd see the cameraman roll the camera back and forth for left- and right-handed hitters. In fact then screen behind the plate had 2 plexiglass sections for the camera to see through. Now you're lucky to see a quick polecam shot from above the plate.

        Personally I like centerfield cams best, but only if they're lined up close to true CF. Some stadiums have the cameras so far off line you can't tell a strike from a ball, and some cameras are aligned almost perfectly where you can see the movement on every pitch. Yesterday's Dodger game was an example of the former, the Marlins had the latter.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Aviator_Frank View Post
          They're being eliminated for the same reason they're taking out the boxes for the goal judges at hockey games: those are prime revenue seats. Why build a pit that consumes several or even dozens of seats when you can mount a pole cam on the backstop.

          Dodger Stadium, before all of the recent modifications, had a place behind the plate were you'd see the cameraman roll the camera back and forth for left- and right-handed hitters. In fact then screen behind the plate had 2 plexiglass sections for the camera to see through. Now you're lucky to see a quick polecam shot from above the plate.

          Personally I like centerfield cams best, but only if they're lined up close to true CF. Some stadiums have the cameras so far off line you can't tell a strike from a ball, and some cameras are aligned almost perfectly where you can see the movement on every pitch. Yesterday's Dodger game was an example of the former, the Marlins had the latter.
          I think a few years back, ESPN experimented with dead center field cameras in all of the ballparks. The problem was, in order to avoid having the camera in the batters view, they had to place them so far up that it looked like you were looking down on the field. You got a good read on whether the ball was a ball or a strike, but lost a lot on the height and the players looked like ants. ESPN wisely abandoned the angle.

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          • #6
            I like seeing the view from behind home plate. Nothing wrong with alternating from different perspectives.
            X
            What's THAT guy doing?
            - one of the YES Network broadcasters, after the camera cut to me doing the thumbs-down after Todd Frazier's home run

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Gary Dunaier View Post
              I like seeing the view from behind home plate. Nothing wrong with alternating from different perspectives.
              I'm with you. I really enjoy seeing the pitch from the batters point of view.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Gary Dunaier View Post
                I like seeing the view from behind home plate. Nothing wrong with alternating from different perspectives.
                I used to love the shots from behind homeplate at Memorial Stadium. All you'd see is this nice grove of trees behind the outfield fence and scoreboards. You felt like you were in your own backyard--you wouldn't know the ballpark was smack dab in the middle of the city.

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                • #9
                  I don't like the tunnels behind the plate. You can still place a camera back there without that large gap. It takes away nice seats, and is distracting while watching a game when people walk back and forth.
                  Twenty Seven

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                  • #10
                    I despise the tunnels. They look terrible on TV - New Comiskey's was the worst.

                    Teams now care about how their parks are presented on air. And as mentioned, those are great seating areas put to waste.

                    Good riddance.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by J.R. View Post

                      Teams now care about how their parks are presented on air.

                      Just to play devil's advocate here, the Cubs eschewed years of tradition of the famed plain brick backstop at Wrigley to put one of those hideous (but sadly unavoidable and inevitable) rotating ad signs in.

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                      • #12
                        What of it? I hate it, but that has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

                        How about the Orioles eschewing good sense by slapping up a copycat brick backstop - complete with cheesy fake "brick" doors?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by PeteU View Post
                          Just to play devil's advocate here, the Cubs eschewed years of tradition of the famed plain brick backstop at Wrigley to put one of those hideous (but sadly unavoidable and inevitable) rotating ad signs in.
                          I never had a problem with the rotating ads. What I don't like are those electronically generated "signs" they show on the network games (ESPN, Fox, &c.), but if you're actually at the ballpark you don't see the ads, just a blank green screen...


                          (Photo taken May 20, 2006. © Gary Dunaier)
                          X
                          What's THAT guy doing?
                          - one of the YES Network broadcasters, after the camera cut to me doing the thumbs-down after Todd Frazier's home run

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by J.R. View Post
                            What of it? I hate it, but that has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

                            How about the Orioles eschewing good sense by slapping up a copycat brick backstop - complete with cheesy fake "brick" doors?
                            Well, I think it goes back to your point about how parks are presented on air. The Cubs had something iconic, but they choose to alter and diminish it for more advertising revenue. Same could be said for the Under Armour ads along the outfield wall between the ivy.

                            As for the Orioles, I'll agree with you I'm not a fan of the brick. I liked the "Camden green" much better.

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                            • #15
                              As beautiful as Camden Yards is, that tunnel area doesn't look so good on TV.

                              I think the one at Turner Field looks the worst, though.

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