Interesting observation from Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun in the course of chronicling the Orioles' defensive woes:
Then there is the thing that everybody talks about but nobody in the organization really wants to address. The beautiful new infield, with its cool, checkerboard mow pattern, might be the biggest contributor to the club's erratic defensive performance.
"It's a big adjustment from spring training to here,'' Huff said. "In Florida, the grass was a lot shorter than here. Fielding is about timing, too. The grass is so thick here that a ball is scorched and you think you have to dive for it and you don't because the grass slows the ball down so much. You've just got to remember the grass here is the longest grass in baseball."
I have no idea why a team would think that long grass would help the pitchers in any appreciable way. Back in the 70s and 80s, offense was down pretty substantially, and while I am wildly guessing here, I'll bet that at least some of that had to do with the turf affording truer bounces for fielders and the fact that the ball got to the defense quicker, thereby giving fielders a a couple more split seconds in which to make plays. At the same time, the two parks most notorious for long grass -- Tiger Stadium and Wrigley Field -- routinely played like hitters parks in those years.
Like I said, my gut may be wrong about this -- and if the numbers don't back me up here, please, someone let me know -- but I would not be surprised in the least if the Orioles organization got this sort of thing wrong. They get all kinds of little things wrong. Now the big question is whether they'll listen to their infielders and break out the lawnmowers.