Lights out! Ball breaks bulb, gets stuck inside Green Monster

August 10th, 2023

BOSTON -- It’s hard to do something for the first time at a ballpark that’s been around for 111 years.

But on Wednesday night, something happened at Fenway Park that even the 40-year veteran Red Sox radio broadcaster Joe Castiglione had never seen before.

With two outs in the top of the 2nd inning of the Red Sox's 4-3 win, Royals center fielder hit a 96.6 mph rocket off the Monster. Well, into the Monster. Red Sox left fielder raced back and crashed into the wall. When he stood up, Yoshida looked left, right and behind, but realized the ball was nowhere to be found.

“I realized I missed catching the ball, but after that I tried to find the ball, but it was nowhere,” Yoshida said through interpreter Keiichiro Wakabayashi. “So that was a surprise.”

A broken red light bulb used to signify the number of outs on Fenway’s manual scoreboard revealed the ball had struck and gotten stuck inside the bulb.

“I’ve never seen that, not even in BP,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “We go over the rules and they always talk about if the ball gets stuck in the Monster and I’m like, ‘That’s not gonna happen.’ But it did.”

The hit was ruled a ground-rule double and Royals third baseman Matt Duffy, who had come all the way home from first amid the confusion, was sent back to third to take away a run from Kansas City.

“That’s a first for me,” said Royals manager Matt Quatraro. “Especially a metal wall, you figure the ball’s going to bounce back. I don’t know what’s going to happen if it bounced, if it rolls far enough away to score a run or if bounces right back to him. Who knows. But it hurt us right there to at least have a chance.”

The rest of Fenway, including every player on the field, joined Yoshida in his confusion until it became apparent what had happened.

“I thought that maybe it hit off him and then got stuck underneath the Monster or something,” said Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta. “I didn’t realize that it went through the light. … I thought it was a kind of a lucky break to be honest with you. [Isbel] put a good swing on a good fastball.”

Pivetta, who threw the pitch that Isbel lodged into the Monster, said the play reminded him of a ball hit by Kevin Kiermaier in Game 3 of the 2021 ALDS between the Rays and Red Sox. In that game, Kiermaier hit a ball off Pivetta that ricocheted off the wall in right-center, off outfielder Hunter Renfroe and into Boston’s bullpen. The hit was ruled a ground-rule double, preventing Yandy Díaz from scoring the go-ahead run in the top of the 13th inning.

Though the stakes weren’t as high in Wednesday’s game, it was another night where Fenway Park’s quirks stole the show.

"It was a weird situation,” Royals starter Jordan Lyles said. “I've never seen that. No one's seen it, I don't think. Luckily, the outfielder trying to go get that ball didn't hurt himself. Just a little weird Fenway quirky thing."