Saturday, November 20, 2010

Kerrzy’s Notebook: One End Zone?

Who’s idea was this?!

The Northwestern Wildcats will face the Illinois Fighting Illini at Wrigley Field a little later on today, one of two college games taking place at baseball stadiums this afternoon. In the other, it’ll be Army vs. Notre Dame at the new Yankee Stadium.

Why is this trend of college football teams playing at MLB stadiums taking off? I’m not sure. What I am sure of though, is that this is probably the last football game we’ll see at Wrigley.

Like trying to fit into that ‘small’ you wore a few years back when you’re now clearly a ‘large,’ the organizers of this game, after 18 months of planning, appear to have waited until the last minute to finally admit “hold on a second, this doesn’t fit!”

If you haven’t already heard – the ‘Cats and the Illini will be playing with one end zone, because it turns out that the home of the Cubs is a baseball diamond and not a football field. I know that the Chicago Bears played at Wrigley for years, but clearly something has changed in the makeup of that ballpark because I’m pretty sure the NFL wouldn’t have been OK with a wall in the end zone either.

I could be wrong though, they were tougher back in them days!

The Big 10 issued a statement this week, saying that all plays will head toward the west end zone, all kickoffs will be sent towards the east end zone, and after each change of possession, the ball will be repositioned so that the offence is going west.

The reason these changes are being made is because the east end zone sits just a few feet away from the right field wall, meaning that a deep pass to the back of that end zone could leave a player with a tough decision: attempt the catch and hit a wall at full speed, or bail.

Actually, now that I think about it, a receiver could also probably climb the wall to make a catch like one of those Japanese outfielders – so I guess it’s not a good idea for a couple of reasons!

I can see the NHL wanting to play outdoor games in different venues, like Wrigley, but I don’t get these events. What’s the big difference between an outdoor football stadium and an outdoor baseball stadium?

Well, besides the size…

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