Minute Maid Park and the Strangest Stadium Quirks in Sports

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer INovember 30, 2010

Minute Maid Park and the Strangest Stadium Quirks in Sports

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    Throughout the world's history, there have been some very unusual stadiums.

    Some of the quirks in these stadiums were key parts that helped defined the stadium's legacy.

    Some of these quirks helped lead to the downfall of the stadiums.

    And some were said to give an unfair advantage to the home team.

    To celebrate these quirks (and laugh at them) we at Bleacher Report decided to try to find some of the Strangest Stadium Quirks in Sports, past and present, in the history of the world.

15. Munich Olympic Park's Stainless-Steel Cable Nets

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    Located just north of Munich, Germany's city center, Munich Olympic Park is the only stadium in the world to have hosted the Olympics (1972), the World Cup Final, and the European soccer championships final. It was also the home of German soccer's most successful club, Bayern Munich.

    But none of that really matters.

    What made the stadium so intriguing was the architecture, designed by architect and structural engineer Frei Otto, using a combination of stainless-steel cable nets and acrylic glass and supports.

14. Exhibition Stadium's Horseshoe Shape

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    Constructed in 1948, Exhibition Stadium in Toronto was thought up as a multi-purpose facility. It began as a Canadian football facility, but later was reconfigured for the Toronto Blue Jays from 1977-1989.

    But it was doomed from the start as a baseball stadium. Its horseshoe shape not only made it so spectators were facing each other more than the field, it also had seats that extended 820 feet from home plate. No, that's not a misprint.

    Talk about needing some binoculars.

    The stadium was affectionately labeled as, "The Mistake by the Lake."

13. Mmabatho Stadium's Layers

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    Situated in Mafikeng, South Africa, Mmabatho Stadium is currently being used for soccer matches. It holds 59,000 people and was built in 1981 by a Russian construction firm.

    The diagonally-layered levels make you wonder, first, "How do I get up there?" And second, "How do I keep from falling off?"

12. Braga Municipal Stadium's Overhanging Cliff

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    Known as "The Quarry," Braga Municipal Stadium was constructed in Braga, Portugal, for the local soccer team Sporting Clube de Braga and is marked by an overhanging cliff.

    The movement of rocks was a big contributor to the overall $122 million cost.

11. Marina Bay Floating Stadium

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    Made entirely of steel, Marina Bay Floating Stadium in Singapore was host to the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix.

    The floating platform holds 30,000 people and was also the main stadium for the 2010 Youth Summer Olympic Games.

    The fact that it's next to a Ferris Wheel and roller coaster makes it all the more bizarre.

10. Osaka Stadium's Housing Showground

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    Osaka Stadium in Japan was the former home ground of the baseball team Nankai Hawks. Situated in the center of Osaka City, it has a capacity of 31,379 seats.

    In 1988, the Hawks owner sold the team and moved to Fukoka City. As the three remaining teams got their own stadiums, Osaka Stadium was abandoned for baseball and converted to a sample housing showground.

    It was demolished in 1998.

9. Shea Stadium's Big Apple

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    Shea Stadium was the stadium for the New York Mets from 1964 to 2008.

    It had a big apple in right field.

    Strange enough for you?

8. Bronco Stadium's Blue Field

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    If you watch a lot of college football, you probably know this one.

    Bronco Stadium is the home of the Boise State Broncos in Boise, Idaho.

    It's blue turf was installed in 1986 as the first non-green playing surface in football history.

    The field has three widely-known nicknames: "The Blue," "Smurf Turf," and "The Blue Plastic Tundra."

    That last reference is a la Chris Berman, as a reference to the "frozen tundra" of Lambeau Field.

    There are even myths surrounding the blue turf. Another myth is that birds have flown into the field to their deaths mistaking it for a large body of water. Broncos coach Chris Peterson claimed he found a dead duck on the field in 2007.

7. Fenway Park's Pesky's Pole

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    Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, has a lot of quirks as you'll see in the following slides.

    Pesky's Pole is one of them.

    Pesky's Pole is the nickname for right field foul pole at Fenway, and is named after former player Johnny Pesky.

    It was coined by former Red Sox pitcher Mel Parnell, and he thought up the name after Pesky won a game for him with a blooper over the right field fence.

    Many home runs have been known to  wrap around the pole.

    The pole sits at only 302 feet, but Pesky estimated it at 295 feet.

6. Fenway Park's Green Monster

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    At 37 feet tall, this wall towers over Fenway Park's left field.

    But it is only 310 feet from home plate, giving new meaning to routine pop-ups. It's been known to be a target for right-handed hitters.

    Dating back to 1912, the wall was originally made of wood, then tin and concrete in 1934. It wasn't until 1947 that it was actually painted green.

5. Fenway Park's Ladder

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    The only thing stranger than a Green Monster is a ladder on top of it that actually can keep baseballs in fair play.

    The ladder on top of the Green Monster was used for years by ladder crews to fetch balls that landed into a net that prevented them from landing down on Lansdowne Street (coincidental name? I think not).

    The net was removed, but not the ladder. Any ball that hits the ladder is deemed a ground-rule double.

4. Minute Maid Park's Center Field Hill

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    Those who constructed Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros, must have really hated center fielders.

    Not only is the center field wall 436 feet from home plate, it also has a hill right in the middle of it, complete with a pole to run into.

3. Tropicana Field's Catwalks

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    Perhaps more strange than a hill in center field, or a ladder projecting skyward, are Tropicana Field's catwalks.

    Yes, catwalks, suspended above the Tampa Bay Rays' home field.

    There are a total of four catwalks.

    Since the catwalks were constructed, numerous balls have hit them, and then careened back it into play. It got so out of hand, baseball had to institute five actual "catwalk rules."

    Here's one of them:

    "A batted ball that hits a catwalk, lights or suspended objects in fair territory shall be judged fair or foul in relation to the striking point on the ground or where it is touched by the fielder. If the ball hits the catwalk, lights or suspended objects in fair territory and lands in the field in fair territory or is touched by a fielder in fair territory, it shall be judged a fair ball. If the ball strikes the catwalk, lights or suspended objects in fair territory and is caught by a fielder in fair or foul territory, then the batter is out and the base runners run at their own risk."

    Ya, I'm sure the players can think about all that in a couple seconds.

2. Boston Garden's Parquet Floor

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    The floor of the famous Boston Garden not only apparently would deaden basketballs at certain spots, some opponents actually claimed the Boston Celtics knew where these spots were, and even went as far as saying it was a reason the Celtics won so many championships.

    There are numerous floorboards roaming around, including some signed by famous Boston Celtics players.

    The floor was an iconic symbol of the Boston Garden, and will forever be remembered.

1. Veterans Stadium's Jail

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    Veterans Stadium, the former home of the Philadelphia Eagles and Philadelphia Phillies known as simply "The Vet," was around until 2003.

    It was described as a "concrete prison" by many fans, and its jailhouse and actual courtroom underneath the stadium attests to this.

    Nothing like welcoming your fans to watch a game of football by slapping some handcuffs on them and sending them into the cellars.