I guess we should have seen this one coming:
The Minnesota Twins will take down the pine trees behind center field wall. Hitters complained the trees made it difficult for them to pick up the ball out of the pitcher's hand.
The 14 trees swaying in the wind, and the shadows they cast, led several hitters from the Twins and other teams to voice their displeasure.
Twins President Dave St. Peter says the team is still trying to determine what to do with the trees. Relocating them inside the ballpark is a possibility. The team will also install a material on the batter's backdrop that cuts down the glare during afternoon games.
I suppose the Twins don't have a choice, but I still find this news disheartening. The Mariners spent years trying to do interesting things with their area beyond the center-field fence, but ultimately just gave up and installed something ugly. Now the Twins are going to do the same; it just didn't take them nearly as long to give up.
I would like to know when they started calling that area "the batter's eye." Because it was probably at roughly the same time that the batters got involved in ballpark design.
Personally, I don't consider this a positive development. I'm all for safety; I'm on record having written, many many times over the years that baseball should be even less dangerous than it is. But were those pine trees really endangering anyone? Must every ballpark be modified to meet the hitters' demands?
There are times when I wish the players would just be players and let the owners be owners.