One of the most unusual aspects of a Star Island Week is the traditional Softball game between the weekly Conferees and the Pelicans (who work together as a team all summer long - and exercise their young muscles all day at hard work). The Pels usually win, but during LOAS (last 2 weeks of August) conferences, many Pels leave to go back to school, giving the Visitors an advantage. Either way, it's lots of fun for everyone - considering the most obstacle-ridden field in the world. It was even documented in Yankee Magazine. Here are some of the oddities and idiosyncrasies of the field...
The strangest feature is the centuries-old Graveyard in
left field. Any ball hit into the graveyard is a ground-rule double, BUT you have to make
it to second base safely. Same with the large, bushy tree next to it.
Playing left field is playing "Graveyard" and you have to be
very careful not to trip the tombstones.
The largest problem is the gravel road that runs from short left field all the way to the far right field corner. The game pauses for the occasional runner or tractor, and the ball ALWAYS seems to find the largest rock to rebound off in an unexpected direction.
The right fielder need to be extra careful chasing fly balls. The most prominent obstacle is the large flag pole smack-dab in the middle of the field - at the top of a small rise, of course. There is another rocky rise next to the flag pole towards right-center (don't forget the gravel road, too). And lastly, there is a beautiful flower bed encircled by rocks towards the right foul line. Yup, it's all in fair territory.
If you over-run first base, be careful that you don't run right into the small tree that straddles the foul line. Or to step to hard into the small pit that IS first base. This is where sprained ankles are born.
Work Weekend of 99, a few Pels decided to re-sod the base areas so that they were closer to normal. (I got to help - thanx AJ) Before this, the field hardly resembled a diamond (see the map on the right). To complicate matters, First base was about 7 feet closer to sea level than Third base. The work done on Work Weekend fixed the shape, but the it's still weird and the differences in altitude still remains (Click the image at left).
In Center and Center-Right fields, the ground slopes upward to the course rose-bushes that semi-represent the home-run fence. There are no automatic home runs, so a hurried crawl through the rose bushes is often the result of a long fly ball - And many Pels and Conferees will proudly show you their scars. There are MANY lost balls in those bushes from years gone past.
If you're powerful enough, you can hit a pulled foul ball either right or left long enough to end up in the ocean. In a game played August 1999, Toby Dills pulled two consecutive foul balls down the left field side that ended up in the drink (He finished the game with 3 home runs and 6 RBIs). In 2001, Toby hit a home run down the right field line and it ended up in the ocean, too. I'm sure that Pels have done it through the years, but I can only report what I saw.
Here are some photos to show the ballfield in the most accurate light possible (an arial view will happen when I charter an aircraft).