Solved: The Nationals Park “Mysterious” Ground Rule

The line to the left of the foul pole is not a foul line.  We unlocked the "mystery" behind this line.
The line to the left of the foul pole is not a foul line. We unlocked the “mystery” behind this line on Saturday.

“Why are there two foul lines in left field?”

I’ve been asked that question two or three times over the last five years.  On each occasion, I posited two or three explanations before changing the subject.

The subject was unavoidable yesterday as I walked with my friend Scott along the warning track during the afternoon season plan holder appreciation event.  We were walking toward the corner.

Scott and I went to the Season Plan Holders event Saturday afternoon and asked about the line.
Scott and I went to the Season Plan Holders event Saturday afternoon and asked about the line.

“Why are there two foul lines in left field,” Scott said.

We brainstormed for a few minutes and then an opportunity presented itself.  Besides the umpires, who best knows the rules of the ballpark? A groundskeeper.

Scott and I called over a groundskeeper who smiled as if he had heard our question dozens of times this season and was about to explain a great mystery.

The line on to the left of the foul pole is not actually a foul line.  The line to the left simply demarcates where a gap between the wall and the outfield reserved seating begins.

If a bounding ball bounces to the left of that line, it is in play.  Look for players to try and leg out a triple.  But if a bounding ball bounces to the right of that line, the ball is dead and results in a ground-rule double.

Ground Rules

The groundskeeper said this unique ground rule has not resulted in any confusion this season, but we will be on the lookout and will update this post as soon as something happens.

Mystery solved.

2 thoughts on “Solved: The Nationals Park “Mysterious” Ground Rule

  1. Looking at that outfield corner in a two-dimensional picture makes that ground rule seem arbitrary. Once you actually see the corner or scrutinize the picture closely, you can appreciate that there is a gap area between the pole and the line on the green wall.

    Like

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