Royals outfield defenders cram for quirky AT&T test

Thu Oct 23, 2014 10:46pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The irresistible talents of the Kansas City Royals' outfielders may be tested by the inscrutable elements of San Francisco's quirky right field when the World Series resumes on Friday.

Lorenzo Cain, Jarrod Dyson and Nori Aoki all had a cram course on Thursday's off-day in gauging caroms off the AT&T Park wall ahead of a Game Three that will snap a 1-1 tie in the best-of-seven championship.

"It's tough," said center fielder Cain, who has been filling up a highlight reel with an array of diving catches this postseason. "Rusty Kuntz, our outfield coach, was hitting balls off the wall for us today and I mean the ball was going all over the place."

The 24-foot-high brick wall begins 309 feet (94.18 meters)from home plate at the foul pole but angles out steeply in two stages to 421 feet as it nears center field, with padding alternating with chain link across the bottom.

"You try to read it as best as possible," said Cain. "But the way the brick is built and the chain-link fence, it's possible the ball can go any which way."

Speedy outfielder Dyson, who frequently comes into a game as a late-inning defensive replacement, said the angle often shoots a ball away from the right-field line.

"It kicks away from you, everything goes towards right-center," Dyson told Reuters after practice.

That is, unless it hits the softer, lower part of the wall and drops with a thud.   Continued...