Indians On Avista Stadium: "It's Tough To Hit Here" - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Indians On Avista Stadium: "It's Tough To Hit Here"

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SPOKANE, Wash. -- If you think the Spokane Indians have been a Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde act when playing at Avista Stadium, you might be on to something.  Anyone who's gone to watch the Indians during a home game will notice the team's propensity for scoring most of its runs late in a game.  Some might like to call this a flair for the dramatic.  But it might have more to do with lighting than timing.

"It's tough to hit here," said Ryan Cordell.  The Spokane Indian outfielder is one of the few on the team who has managed to hit better at home (.260) than on the road (.204).  His strategy: bide your time.  With the sun glaring off the outfield wall and the batter's eye -- that spot where a batter trains his eye on the pitcher's release point -- it's nearly impossible to discern a fastball from a curveball.

"The ball just gets on you real fast," said Cordell.  "You can't really see spin when guys throw breaking balls.  We talk about during our first couple of at-bats, just trying a two-strike approach: get the ball in play."

But as the sun starts to set and the field is covered in shade, Cordell says it's much easier to get aggressive at the plate.

"As the game goes on, then maybe you can try to hit homeruns, doubles, than kind of thing."

Cordell managed to hit a 3-run homerun in Wednesday's 10-4 win against Tri-City.  That homerun came in a 5-run first inning, an anomaly at Avista Stadium this season.  In a recent four-game home series with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, the Indians managed a total of just two runs in the first five innings.  After the fifth inning?  The Indians scored a total of ten runs.

The numbers tell the story.  In sports, there is a thing called "homefield advantage."  Gabe Roa would disagree.  The Indians infielder has hit just .135 at Avista Stadium this season, but .289 outside of Spokane.  Joe Jackson? .175 at Avista Stadium, .264 away.

So the next time you make it out to a Spokane Indians game, you might be better served spending the first few innings in the team shop buying souvenirs or in line buying a hot dog and beverage.  Chances are, you won't miss much.