Bases empty, two outs, a 3-1 game, #8 hitter up. Nothing comes down to this.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Foul Poles in Dubai Baseball Stadium Now Tallest Structures in World

DUBAI (Bottom of the Fourth) - It was only a year and a half ago that the Burj Khalifa in Dubai officially opened and became the tallest structure in the world at 828 metres. But its reign was short-lived, as Dubai has already bettered itself.

On Wednesday morning, the ribbon was cut on the new Dubai Stadium of Base Balls, a massive project years in the making. The stadium is enormous: it will seat over 150,000 fans, roughly triple what most MLB stadiums can handle, and significantly more than even NFL stadiums. But what stood out at the ribbon cutting were the foul poles, which stand many times the height of the stadium itself.

The poles are 905 metres tall, with the left-field pole about 8 mm taller (a grievous error that resulted in the imprisonment of several labourers), according to stadium architect Farank al-Lloyd Wright. But while this may seem to be an act of pure indulgence, Wright says there is practicality behind the poles' extreme height. "The height of the poles is a safeguard in case José Bautista ever plays in our stadium," said Wright, "how will we be able to judge his home runs if he keeps hitting them over the foul poles?"

(Bautista famously hit the first ball to ever leave the Rogers Centre, the Toronto stadium that is, coincidentally, right next to the former tallest building in the world, the CN Tower. It is believed that Bautista's foul ball actually entered the CN Tower through the glass floor on the observation deck.)

In addition to breaking records for height and seating capacity, the Dubai Stadium of Base Balls has many other record-breaking directives in the pipeline. Namely, it plans to host the world's longest baseball games at 50 innings (though it hasn't specified which teams will play, since Dubai has no baseball teams), record the world's fastest pitch with their custom-built pitching robot, and serve the world's longest stadium hot dogs (2 feet).

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