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Dome not suited for baseball

INDIANAPOLIS -- A balcony extending 30 feet over a proposed playing field makes the Hoosier Dome unfit for major league baseball, according to a National League official.

Blake Cullen, public relations director for the NL, said Thursday he researched the problem and the balcony does not allow for a minimum 320 feet dimension required by baseball rules, the Indianapolis Star reported.

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The balcony cuts the effective distance to 295 feet, officials said.

Cullen's statement, based on conversations with other NL officials, disputes a study by the Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum Inc. architectural firm that drew up preliminary plans for converting the domed stadium in downtown Indianapolis for baseball.

The stadium was only intended for football and now is the home for the Indianapolis Colts of the NFL.

The Hellmuth company plans would remove part of the sideline seats now intended for football and replace them with movable bleachers that can be stored for baseball.

Ronald J. Labinski of Hellmuth told the Star Wednesday the overhang would not bother baseball because 'we calculated that anything that would land in the upper deck would have clared the fence anyway. For it not to clear the fence and come straight down, it would have to have hit the (193-foot high) roof and that cannot be done.'

Indianapolis Mayor William H. Hudnut has suggested the domed stadium as a site for a major league team.

One group, the Indianapolis Arrows Inc., currently is trying toobtain an expansion baseball franchise.

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