The Padres Unveil Their New Big Stick
By Stephanie Wei under Equipment

The San Diego Padres and TaylorMade unveiled the replica 80-foot-tall R11 at PETCO Park on Thursday evening. The structure is nearly nine stories high and serves as the foul pole in right field. If a ball clips the shaft above the fence, it’s considered a home run. So yes, that means hitters can now aim at a really large golf club. Well, there’s not actually a ginormous driver head, but it’s a cleverly designed optical illusion. Here’s a video montage of TaylorMade’s contractors building the club:

Via the press release:

The R11 foul pole structure is the first of its kind in Major League Baseball. The design and construction required significant collaboration between various groups to bring to life the authenticity of the R11 driver. Weighing 950 pounds, the 80-foot all-aluminum structure runs parallel with the existing foul pole structure, while the 14-foot wide by 8-foot tall image of the R11 clubhead is positioned on the fence in the corner of right field. The weather- and impact-resistant grip was custom rolled out of .90” aluminum, welded into a taper shaping and then given a vehicle, textured, bed lining coating to give it a rubber look. The installation, which began Monday morning and was finished Wednesday, required a total 250 man hours to complete.

Pretty clever ad campaign, no?

TaylorMade staffer and LPGA player Natalie Gulbis was on-site for the game and threw out the first pitch. As you can see from a picture posted on her Twitter feed, she also jumped in the cage for batting practice.

Pretty good form, Natalie!