Thursday, May 26, 2011

Why hasn’t “Fisk Pole” caught on?

Fenway Park has two foul poles. One is located in right field, and the other in left field. They both have nicknames. Only one, however, seems to have caught on. It’s a little weird to me.

If a flyball is hit to the right field corner, the response from any announcing team is the same. They note that there’s a ball heading towards Pesky’s Pole. It doesn’t matter if it’s a local broadcast team, or a national audience. Everyone, it seems, knows that the pole in right field is Pesky’s. Why is it called Pesky’s Pole? I’ve seen various explanations. But, the gist of it is that Pesky once hit a home run either off, or around that pole. In excited celebration, a teammate exclaimed, “That’s your pole! That’s Pesky’s Pole!” And, the name stuck. I don’t know if the home run was a game winner. But, it certainly wasn’t a World Series winner or anything extremely significant. As a matter of fact, a much more important home run was hit off that pole. But, we still talk about how Mark Bellhorn hit his game winning home run in game 1 of the 2004 World Series off Pesky’s Pole. Bellhorn’s hit help win a World Championship, but the Pesky name has stuck for sixty years.

There is also a pole in left field. It also had a home run associated with it. Maybe you remember it. The home run that ended the greatest World Series game ever played clanged off that pole. In the aftermath of that amazing game, nobody called it “Fisk’s Pole.” In the 30 years following that game, nobody said that a flyball to left was getting close to “Fisk’s Pole.” There was a ceremony not too long ago officially naming that pole as “Fisk’s Pole.” But, still, a flyball is hit in the corner. Not to Fisk’s Pole. Why not?

If a batter uses body English to will a ball fair, or foul, Fisk is brought up. But, not if a ball goes off the pole he used to win the game. I can understand fans not using it just because the ownership gave it a name. If the Sox held a ceremony officially naming home plate the “Jason Varitek Plate, presented by Chinet” I wouldn’t expect that name to be put into everyday use. But, why wasn’t “Fisk’s Pole” already used by fans for years?

Why isn’t it Fisk’s Pole?


  1. I'm guessing it's maybe because the word "Pesky" can not only be someone's name, but it's also an adjective. Fisk doesn't quite work that way. Plus, there's the alliteration to it as well. Does seem strange, though...

  2. The alliteration is a good point. The hard "k" in Fisk isn't softened as it is in "Pesky" either. Harder to say that way.

  3. When the Reds came in in 2005, there was a pre-game ceremony to officially name the LF pole the "Fisk Pole", though it certainly never caught on the same way. (I was in Section 41 that day, though, not 36.) I like to call it the more alliterative "Pudge Pole".

  4. "Pudge Pole" would work with the alliteration angle that Megan mentioned. I say we try that from now on. See if we can get it to become universal.


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