Despite initial indications that municipal contributions in early 2008 would help fund moving the fences back at Guess Field for KIT League action, a change in plans will leave the power alleys at 340 feet. The turnabout, according to the man for whom the field was named years ago, Bobcats General Manager Gordon Guess, is due to needed upgrades and repairs at other Marion-Crittenden County Park facilities.
Grading and other dirt work has already started along the outfield of Guess Field, but the fences that were taken down to allow the work will be put back up where they stood at the end of the Bobcats' first campaign – 340 in the power alleys, 310 down the left field line, 290 in right and 350 to straight-away center.
The cost to erect the additional fencing it would take to grow the outfield was too much after the funds were allocated for other park facilities in need of repairs, Guess said.
So, at least for the 2009 season, the Bobcats will continue to host opposition in a rather pitcher-friendly park despite the shallow dimensions.
Guess explains that a more expansive outfield forces fielders to play deeper in order to prevent extra bases on long drives, allowing more bloopers and short flies over the infielders' heads to drop in for base hits. Thus, the shorter field keeps outfielders in close, turning would-be hits into outs.
Despite its relatively shallow dimensions, Guess Field was hardly a haven for home runs last season. Only 12 home runs were hit there in 26 games, most over the left field fence along Old Morganfield Road. The shortest part of the field – 290 down the right field line – invited only a couple of home runs.