Homefield Advantage

DC Sports Nexus ---- Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Fans, sportscasters, players, and Vegas all talk about "home field advantage".  After the recent stretch of games the Nationals have played on the road, I started to think about different ball parks around the league that actually gave some sort of advantage.

Lets take a little tour through the parks I feel provide an unfair edge:

Fenway Park, Boston:
The oldest park in baseball may also be the most unfair.  Besides being ridiculously short to the outfield corners and having next to no foul ball territory, there's a huge freaking wall in left field that transforms lazy fly ball outs into base hits on a nightly basis.

Oakland Coliseum, Oakland:
This football stadium should not host baseball games.  It's not even the distance to the outfield fences that bothers me, its all the foul ball territory.  I think if you took all of the foul territory here and mashed it together you'd could have another full infield.  Foul outs here sail several rows deep anywhere else.

Coors Field, Colorado:
High altitude equals super high ERA for pitchers here.  I read once that MLB requires the Rockies to store their baseballs in a humidity chamber to fix the altitude issue, but I don't think it actually works.  There's a reason this is the #1 hitters park in baseball. 

AT & T Park, San Francisco:  
I've heard this place is a pitchers park because of the wind or something.  I'm not sure about that.  All I know is, if you show me a right field wall that backs right up to the bay, I'm going to try really hard to hit a ball into the water.  I sense a plot to make people over swing...

Rogers Center, Toronto:
Astroturf everywhere.  Another multipurpose venue that has no business hosting ball games.  Fly balls are difficult to see against the roof when it's closed, but my biggest issue with this place is the lack of infield dirt.  Dirt won't dying on you like grass, so it would it kill the Jay's to have a dirt infield so ground balls didn't rocket out of the diamond?

Marlins Park, Miami:
This is the park the inspired me to write this post.  It's a canyon of the ballpark and, unless your name is Giancarlo Stanton, you aren't going to hit the ball out on a regular basis.  The ridiculous amount of outfield space also causes routine fly balls to drop in for hits.

Then there's the "decorations".  If the giant technicolor water statue in center field doesn't distract you maybe the live fish swimming in the backstop will.  Add in the outfield pool-area and this place is more resort/carnival than ballpark, which is probably what the Marlins were going for.

Nationals Park, Washington DC:  
What do we got going for us?  It's pretty, but the dimensions are pretty standard.  There isn't anything ridiculous going on in the architecture, though I hear you can see the Capital Building from the right seats.

We got...metro access, which makes people leave late games early to catch the last train. I guess we got that stone backstop.  Wild pitches bounce like crazy off of that stuff.

What could have been... 

RFK Stadium, Washington DC:
You will never catch me saying RFK was a great place for baseball.  In fact, you will never catch me saying it's a great place for anything.  However, when the Nat's played ball there I had a dream....

Get rid of that artificial outfield wall and make the tall green wall the outfield stands sit atop into fair territory.  Basically, a mini-green monster running the length of the outfield.  Only the highest of deep fly balls would have been able to clear that outfield fence.

Sadly, it never happened.  Thankfully, the Nat's got a beautiful brand new ball park. 

I could basically write something like this about every park in baseball, but these were the ones that stood out in my mind.  Comment or let me know on twitter (@dru90) what parks you think give an unfair advantage!

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