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What is the Batter’s Eye?

what is the batters eye

When visiting a minor league or major league stadium, you typically won’t see traditional seats for fans to sit on behind center field. Usually, there is a giant black screen or painted black seats that restrict fans from sitting there. However, not every ballpark does the same thing, which makes baseball interesting.

 

So what exactly is that thing out in the center field? Why are fans not allowed to sit in center field in ballparks? Find out more!

 

What is the Batter’s Eye in Baseball?

The batter’s eye is typically a solid color that acts as a backdrop to help the batter see the ball from the pitcher in center field. Having a dark surface behind the center field outfield wall allows the baseball batter to get the best view of a pitch coming to them. Without this batter’s eye screen behind the center-field fence, hitters would be unable to pick up the ball coming to them since the view of the baseball might get lost in the crowd.

 

Another reason for the batter’s eye is to increase the safety of the hitter at the plate. If the hitter cannot see the ball coming to them, they might not react to a pitched ball coming towards them. A split-second reaction can be the difference between getting hit by a pitch or not.

 

When Did the Batter’s Eye Become Mandatory?

The use of a batter’s eye became standard across all Major League Baseball teams in the late 19th century. Before this took place, you had original baseball stadiums like Ebbets Field have fans in the stands directly behind center field. To help batters pick up the ball better from a pitcher, stadiums began incorporating the outfield batter’s eye in their baseball field design.

 

All Major League Baseball Stadiums Do Something Different

The beauty of baseball stadiums is the opportunity to design the outfield the way you want to a degree. For example, the New Yankee Stadium (home of the New York Yankees) made their batter’s eye into a restaurant with tinted glass. There are fans inside the restaurant, but the batter only sees a dark tinted glass, which allows them to see the white baseball coming to them.

 

 

Other venues like Comerica Park, Tropicana Field, Progressive Field, Petco Park, and more incorporate the batters eye into a pedestrian walkway to connect the bleacher seats. Venues like Great American Ballpark have a steamship in the center field, which acts as a backdrop and gathering place for fans. Most recently, in 2020, the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium made upgrades to their stadium to incorporate this popular design by creating a walkway connect fans throughout the stadium.

 

Finally, one of the most famous backdrops in the game belongs to Wrigley Field. Wrigley Field is home to the Chicago Cubs, and they incorporate shrubbery in their center-field batter’s eye. The solid-colored shrubbery includes the ivy wall at the stadium ideally, so the center field eye does not stand out too much. Other places like the previous home of the Texas Rangers, Globe Life Park, would allow fans to enter the batter’s eye lawn if a home run landed in that spot.

 

What Each Stadium Has as a Batter’s Eye as of 2021

 

  1. American Family Field

    1. (Milwaukee Brewers) has a big black rectangle beyond the center-field wall
  2. Angel Stadium

    1. (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) has green shrubbery and a dark green color paint backdrop
  3. Busch Stadium

    1. (St. Louis Cardinals) has grass and a black rectangle beyond the center-field wall
  4. Chase Field

    1. (Arizona Cardinals) big dark green rectangle
  5. Citi Field

    1. (New York Mets) is a dark black section and has the Mets Home Run Apple tucked underneath
  6. Citizens Bank Park

    1. (Philadelphia Phillies) has green shrubbery and a red brick wall 
  7. Comerica Park

    1. (Detroit Tigers) a big green rectangle
  8. Coors Field

    1. (Colorado Rockies) has pine trees out in the center field
  9. Dodger Stadium

    1. (Los Angeles Dodgers) a blue rectangle that acts as a pedestrian crossway
  10. Fenway Park

    1. (Boston Red Sox) has a black tarp over seats for day games and gives green t-shirts to fans to wear in that section for night games
  11. Globe Life Field

    1. (Texas Rangers) a prominent green structure that has fans on top
  12. Great American Ball Park

    1. (Cincinnati Reds) a prominent black structure where the steamboat sits behind
  13. Guaranteed Rate Field

    1. (Chicago White Sox) a green backdrop that has fans allowed to be on it
  14. Kauffman Stadium

    1. (Kansas City Royals) a big green backdrop
  15. LoanDepot Park

    1. (Miami Marlins) a big grassy field beyond center field
  16. Minute Maid Park

    1. (Houston Astros) a prominent ivory structure that allows fans to pass behind it without disturbing the game
  17. Nationals Park

    1. (Washington Nationals) has this green section out in the center field
  18. Oracle Park

    1. (San Francisco Giants) has a green backdrop under the giant scoreboard
  19. Orioles Park at Camden Yards

    1. (Baltimore Orioles) has a green backdrop
  20. Petco Park

    1. (San Diego Padres) has a blue backdrop
  21. PNC Park

    1. (Pittsburgh Pirates) has a green shrubbery out in the center field that spells out Pirates
  22. Progressive Field

    1. (Cleveland Indians) has green shrubbery out in the center field
  23. RingCentral Coliseum

    1. (Oakland Athletics) has a giant green backdrop
  24. Rogers Centre

    1. (Toronto Blue Jays) has a black section where the seats should be
  25. T-Mobile Park

    1. (Seattle Mariners) has a black area behind center field
  26. Target Field

    1. (Minnesota Twins) a black wall directly behind center field
  27. Tropicana Field

    1. (Tampa Bay Rays) a blue backdrop that houses a gathering spot for fans behind the wall
  28. Truist Park

    1. (Atlanta Braves) a green backdrop
  29. Wrigley Field

    1. (Chicago Cubs) a green backdrop of shrubbery
  30. Yankee Stadium

    1. (New York Yankees) a restaurant out in the center field with tinted glass

 

The Old Yankee Stadium Screen

Before the renovations took place at the Old Yankee Stadium, they had seats out in center field. Back in the day, the Yankees would reguarlly allow fans to sit directly behind home plate, but then later added a windscreen to act as a visual backdrop. Once Yankee Stadium went through the renovations in the ’70s, these center field bleacher seats got removed, and a black paint job was put in place, making the batter’s eye.

 

Fenway Park’s Batter Eye

All MLB stadiums do something different with their batter eye, but the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park have different rules for day and night games. During a day game, you will see a black tarp covering the center-field seats to give batters a clear view of the pitch. During night games, the Red Sox give dark green t-shirts to the fans who will be sitting directly behind home plate. The dark green t-shirts as a whole make it easier for the hitter to pick up the ball so that the Red Sox can sell these as seats.

 

Conclusion on Batter’s Eyes at Ballparks

In conclusion, teams would have a simple backdrop to give the hitter a better view of their pitch in the early days of baseball. Now in 2021, baseball teams are utilizing that center field space in creative ways. From Dodger Stadium making it a pedestrian crossway to the New Yankee Stadium making it a restaurant, crews continue to innovate that space. Therefore, fans should visit the center field section of every ballpark they visit because that space may have something new now!

 

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