Dear Stadium Doctor:
At a recent ballgame, my friends and I noticed what appears to be an unusual arrangement of the lights. From the upper deck, groups of light bulbs seem to be going in different directions. Also, there are sections on the light-bulb structures where there are no bulbs at all. Could you please shed some light on this question?
Dear Helen Linhard:
Thank you for your excellent question and moderately amusing pun. I'd just like to add that it's observant people, like you and your friends who seem to have a suspiciously keen interest in stadium lights, if you'll allow me that aside, who make this job among the most enjoyable in the medical field.
Now then. It's true that the lights point every which way and that there aren't any lights at all on parts of the standards. The answer to the which-way question is that each bulb is focused on a different part of the field so that the players can see clearly and, more important, so that the TV cameras have a uniformly lighted field. As for there being no lights at all in some places, here's the answer: It's a mistake. The standard on the first-base side could have been smaller. But when it was erected, the lighting plan for the stadium hadn't been completed. Nobody was sure how big the standard had to be. It's not like it was a total waste, though. Secret Service agents used the extra space as a lookout when President Bush was in town.
Dear Stadium Doctor:
A lot has been mentioned pertaining to the way Oriole Park at Camden Yards has incorporated the look and feel of older ballparks. I would like to suggest another look: The sod farm in center field would be the ideal location for monuments similar to the area of enshrinement at Yankee Stadium. The first monument, without question, would be for Brooks Robinson.
Dear Jeffrey Mose:
This is an outstanding idea and you probably would get a personal note of thanks from some important Orioles executive except for one small detail: They've already thought of it.
Even after identifying myself as Boog Powell's podiatrist, the Orioles wouldn't tell me much. But I did find out that when they do their monument or statue or plaque thing, it'll probably be in a place where fans can wander by to pose for a photograph or two. For that reason, the sod farm, off limits to fans, is probably out.
Have a question for the Stadium Doctor? Write: Stadium Doctor, Sun Sports Department, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278-0001. Or fax him at (410) 783-2518.