Lights at Angel Stadium can be trouble for right fielders

BY foxsports • July 20, 2013

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Josh Hamilton is a five-time all-star and has a career .980 fielding percentage. However his play in right field this season, at times, has been shaky.

In the Angels' 4-1 win over Oakland on Friday night, Hamilton committed his eighth error of the season trying to field a ball hit by Brandon Moss in the top of the ninth inning.

Hamilton’s eight errors this season lead all Major League outfielders. He had seven errors in 2012.

Angels skipper Mike Scioscia says it's a byproduct of playing at Angel Stadium. 

"It's not just Josh,” Scioscia said. "(It's) the way that light bank is in right field. Tim can speak on it more than anybody."

Tim is former Angels outfielder and current FOX Sports West analyst Tim Salmon, who knows the issues of playing right field at Angel Stadium. Before the Angels game against the A’s on Saturday, Scioscia deferred to his former player who spoke on the difficulties faced by Hamilton and other outfielders who visit Angel Stadium.

Salmon says there are challenges playing right field at the "Big A" that aren’t seen in other parks in the league.

"Those light banks are a strand," Salmon said. "Most other ballparks they're broken up in little sections. That's why you have more problems in Anaheim than anywhere with that because (the ball) never comes out (of the lights). It kind of stays in the whole time."

Salmon reflected on his playing days and when balls were hit to right field, especially soft line drives, he "saw lights right away."

Because of that, it makes it tougher to track fly balls. For Scioscia, who was doing some reflecting on his own, suddenly things became clearer from his days managing Salmon.

"So when I thought you were losing a step it was just because you couldn't see the ball," Scioscia said poking fun at his former outfielder.
On a serious note, the Angels skipper isn't concerned about Hamilton and reiterated his outfielder is not alone in battling the lights. 

"It's just part of what it is and Josh has had some balls in right field that have just gotten in the lights where he’s running to an area but waiting for it to come out of the lights. It happens to a lot of right fielders," Scioscia said.

There may only be one alternative.

"So, should we go knock a couple (of light banks) out?" Scioscia joked.