Get ready to see super prospect Joey Gallo mash HRs over a 275-foot wall in Texas
At last year's Futures Game, power-hitting Rangers prospect Joey Gallo launched ball during batting practice that soared over the outfield wall, cleared the stands, left the stadium and cracked a truck windshield out in the parking lot.
Now imagine kind of damage Gallo could do when helped by a 275-foot right-field fence.
San Antonio's Alamodome can be a lot of things with the right tweaking. Overnight, it can become a football field, basketball arena, soccer venue, concert hall or a convention center.
And, for two glorious days in March, it's a baseball stadium and host of Big League Weekend, an exhibition series that features two Major League teams playing Spring Training games away from their regular Spring Training homes. This year, Big League Weekend attracted two west division teams: the Rangers and Dodgers.
Converting the Alamodome to a baseball field took about six days. A barren floor became a combination of cushy Astroturf and dirt cutouts at home plate, on the pitcher's mound and at the three bases.
It's a funky, cool sight, highlighted by a right-field wall that's more Little League than Major League. A home run needs to travel only 275 feet to go "out," which could spell all kinds of fun for a slugging left-handed hitter ... like Gallo.
Estimating he was about 12 years old the last time he contended with a 275-foot wall, Gallo suggested the best way to deal with the short wall is to forget how short it is.
"I don't like it just because it messes with your head and you know it's there," he said. "But we're only playing two games, so I don't really mind it that much. But it's different."
The 275-foot wall actually used to be 285. Two years ago at the first Big League Weekend, organizers discovered the fans sitting in the upper level of the Alamodome couldn't see the field. They didn't know this until the fans were actually seated, which, looking back, was a somewhat unpleasant way to make the discovery.
"There was this little thing where people bought tickets to watch the game, but couldn't watch the game," said J.J. Gottsch, COO of Ryan Sanders Baseball, which organizes the event.
Lesson learned. The remedy to the problem was to simply move the entire field away from the stands by 10 feet, adding a little more...intrigue to right field.