The Tampa Bay Rays opened a chunk of the centerfield wall for fans to experience a new view of the game. But as Tampa Bay Times beat writer Marc Topkin points out, manager Joe Maddon, who had no idea of any changes Monday evening, has some concerns about how this will impact play.
“I’m as surprised as everybody else,” Maddon said. “I’m seeing it for the first time. I didn’t know the utility behind it.”
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) June 16, 2014
Maddon’s primary concern is that the fans may distract left-handed hitters as they look for the ball from right-handed pitchers. This comes as a concern due to the fans behind the wall left of centerfield moving around.
Another issue is that the open area is basically a chain link fence, so outfielders will have to be more cautious when chasing a fly ball. The ball will also come off the wall differently if it hits the fence, rather than the padded walls.
The fans aren’t allowed to use flash photography while behind the wall/chain linked fence. The Rays, who apparently got MLB approval for the change, say the area is open to all fans.