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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Exclusive: Giants acknowledge it’s finally time to explore moving in the fences at Oracle Park – The Athletic

The problem isn’t the park; it’s the players the Giants are playing. .

One of the owners, making casual conversation, asked whether the time has come for the Giants to reconfigure their beauty of a ballpark on the shores of McCovey Cove. Should they remove the hazard of bullpens in foul territory? And if so, should they seize that moment as an opportunity to reassess whether their pitcher-friendly ballpark has shifted from charming and idiosyncratic to disadvantageous and extreme?

Jim Furtado Posted: April 17, 2019 at 08:42 AM | 49 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: giants, pay site

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   1. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: April 17, 2019 at 12:30 PM (#5832850)
Can we at least mention the paywall when posting, to save me the click and subsequent disappointment? I guess I should remember to mouse over first, but still..
   2. bunyon Posted: April 17, 2019 at 12:52 PM (#5832851)
I was just thinking the other day that there aren't enough homers in today's game.
   3. Tin Angel Posted: April 17, 2019 at 01:59 PM (#5832886)
It's so strange to think that teams can simply adjust their field to improve their offense, I can't think of another sport like that. Also, I can't remember where I read it but apparently Harper was hesitant to play in SF because of the bullpens in foul territory, seeing it as an unnecessary injury risk (it happened to Williamson last year with a concussion, he hasn't been the same since).
   4. BrianBrianson Posted: April 17, 2019 at 02:19 PM (#5832908)
It's because baseball is really the only sport without a standardised field size, although you can nibble at the corners in other sports (speed of your ice, dick around with the direct AC blows, what billboards block what sun, etc.)

Really, one of the things I like most about baseball.
   5. phredbird Posted: April 17, 2019 at 03:07 PM (#5832934)

stupid. the rest of MLB needs to push the fences back.

more outfield means less HR and more hitting for average. SF batters aren't doing it because the players are still trying to hit homers all the time. they also aren't that good.

i know this makes me some kind of nutty crank. whatever.
   6. catomi01 Posted: April 17, 2019 at 04:30 PM (#5833032)
Just start with the bullpens...there is no excuse for a field built in the last 50 years to have them on the field itself. Its idiosyncratic for the sake of being idiosyncratic.
   7. Moeball Posted: April 17, 2019 at 04:33 PM (#5833039)
Over the last several years all 6 West Coast parks have favored the pitchers to varying degrees. Not sure why that is, just know the numbers seem to indicate this. The Padres have moved the fences in at Petco multiple times in recent years and at best the park was maybe neutral last year. Is it wind currents that make it so difficult to hit it out of these parks?
   8. akrasian Posted: April 17, 2019 at 05:11 PM (#5833101)
#6 - exactly. We know it's a needless risk, not just to the players out there but players chasing after foul flies. Eliminate that - and maybe it'll require some tinkering with the walls. Add some weird angles to the outfield walls, which I generally like.
   9. Eric L Posted: April 17, 2019 at 05:21 PM (#5833114)
Moe, we know that altitude and aire temp play roles in offensive levels. Petco stands at the left end of both spectrums.
   10. Greg Pope Posted: April 17, 2019 at 05:41 PM (#5833122)
It's because baseball is really the only sport without a standardised field size, although you can nibble at the corners in other sports (speed of your ice, dick around with the direct AC blows, what billboards block what sun, etc.)

Really, one of the things I like most about baseball.


I agree it's a plus for baseball.

But why is it so? How did it happen that baseball has all different field sizes and the other sports are all the same? I assume that at the start, basketball courts were just whatever size the gyms were. Football fields, I don't know how they settled on 100 yards. Hockey I know nothing at all about. Although IIRC, the Blackhawks played on a smaller ice because that's the way Chicago Stadium was configured. But when they moved to the United Center, they had to go regulation. So it wasn't always completely standard. At some point hockey made a decision and grandfathered in existing arenas. But that never happened in baseball.
   11. Sunday silence Posted: April 17, 2019 at 05:55 PM (#5833131)
Didnt BOston Garden have different dimensions for the court?
   12. Sunday silence Posted: April 17, 2019 at 05:57 PM (#5833132)

It's so strange to think that teams can simply adjust their field to improve their offense...


Well it's strange because they cant really. I mean did Colorado's team win more games because their field favors hitters? its not a simple call.
   13. A sad, lost penguin wandering the tundra, dreaming Posted: April 17, 2019 at 05:59 PM (#5833134)
Is it wind currents that make it so difficult to hit it out of these parks?


Damp, cold, heavy air off the ocean at night.
   14. Tin Angel Posted: April 17, 2019 at 05:59 PM (#5833135)
Well, I said improve their offense, not win more games. And in this case even "improve their offense" just means hit a few more home runs. Which obviously means they'd give up more too.
   15. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: April 17, 2019 at 06:56 PM (#5833145)
Bring in the giant mitt, leave the fences.
   16. Zach Posted: April 17, 2019 at 07:27 PM (#5833159)
I imagine it happened like that because the early club teams just started charging admission to whatever field they happened to be playing on at the time. The ball was dead, the home run wasn't a feature of the game, and they would occasionally sit overflow crowds behind ropes in the outfield. I don't think they were all that worried about the precise dimensions of the field.
   17. Hank Gillette Posted: April 17, 2019 at 08:08 PM (#5833171)
Bring in the giant mitt, leave the fences.


That would be awesome, especially if the mitt was closer than the fences.
   18. Hank Gillette Posted: April 17, 2019 at 08:30 PM (#5833175)
But why is it so? How did it happen that baseball has all different field sizes and the other sports are all the same?


I think it was because when the rules were first formalized, baseball was played in open fields. When owners starting building ballparks so that they could charge make more money, they built in the cities, and the ballparks were tailored to the land that the owner could purchase. Sometimes that led to a short outfield in one direction, which was compensated for with higher walls (Fenway, of course, is the only remnant of that situation). By this time it was too late to specify the outfield dimensions without forcing some owners to find new properties and build new stadiums.

They have nibbled at the edges a little:

The distance from home base to the nearest fence, stand or other obstruction on fair territory shall be 250 feet or more. A distance of 320 feet or more along the foul lines, and 400 feet or more to center field is preferable.


I thought the rules specified that the closest the fence could be at the foul line was 300 feet, but apparently, it would still be legal to have a 250-foot foul line. I thought I remembered that the 298-foot right field fence at Yankee Stadium was grandfathered.
   19. manchestermets Posted: April 18, 2019 at 05:18 AM (#5833222)
The dimensions of a soccer pitch aren't fixed. The length is 100-130 yards, the width is 50-100 yards and the pitch must not be square. Most competitions limit the acceptable ranges though - in international matches it's 110-120 x 70-80 yards.
   20. dejarouehg Posted: April 18, 2019 at 10:08 AM (#5833237)
The ice at the old Boston Garden - I think??? - was a about 10' longer than the norm. I happen to love home runs, but not the kind hit at Yankee Stadium3. Watching the last two games showed what a travesty RF is. Check swing by Judge.....and it just sneaks inside the RF foul pole.

I love the diversity among ballpark layouts, but some sanity must prevail.

Haven't been to PacBell yet. Definitely on the bucket list. Watching on TV, the place does look a little unfair to the hitters but a gem of a ballpark. They'll evaluate the plottage of balls hit to OF and see what is in their best interest. Had they gotten Harper, maybe they'd have brought RF in a little?
   21. Nasty Nate Posted: April 18, 2019 at 10:20 AM (#5833240)
The ice at the old Boston Garden - I think??? - was a about 10' longer than the norm.
I think it was shorter than the norm.
   22. Nasty Nate Posted: April 18, 2019 at 10:23 AM (#5833241)
I agree it's a plus for baseball.

But why is it so? How did it happen that baseball has all different field sizes and the other sports are all the same?
A big reason was that the other sports have 2 ends.
   23. SoSH U at work Posted: April 18, 2019 at 10:24 AM (#5833242)
I think it was shorter than the norm.


That's my recollection.

I hate it (and think it's not good for team building) when teams bring in the fences. I hope the proprietors of China Basin resist the urge.

And I think Hank is right. The need to fit ballparks into existing plots of inner city land led to the disparate distances, which was a good thing.

I believe other sports would benefit from having fields/courts/rinks of differing sizes (and basketball seems like it would be well served to simply widen all of the courts already).

   24. Moeball Posted: April 18, 2019 at 10:28 AM (#5833243)
All I know is that the ice in Boston Garden was foggier than the norm!

Thinking on the Giants park and BITD when Barry B. was hitting all those HRs, he may have gotten help from his chemistry set, but he certainly wasn't getting much help from the park. Yes it's shallow down the RF line, but the right center alley is deep and, as others have mentioned, the ball doesn't carry well in cold damp air.
   25. SoSH U at work Posted: April 18, 2019 at 10:39 AM (#5833245)

Thinking on the Giants park and BITD when Barry B. was hitting all those HRs, he may have gotten help from his chemistry set, but he certainly wasn't getting much help from the park.


It looks like he had three more HRs at China Basin than on the road, which strikes me as a little worse than you'd expect, but not meaningfully.
   26. . Posted: April 18, 2019 at 12:52 PM (#5833279)
I hate it (and think it's not good for team building) when teams bring in the fences. I hope the proprietors of China Basin resist the urge.


I agree, but they won't. From a team building perspective, if everyone's TTO-ing, it presents a great Moneyball opportunity and the Giants FO should see it that way instead. A perfect Step One is the big, foggy, chilly, sea-level ballpark.
   27. A triple short of the cycle Posted: April 18, 2019 at 04:52 PM (#5833376)
Brilliant idea. What could go wrong with such a fine plan.
   28. Tim M Posted: April 18, 2019 at 11:01 PM (#5833446)
If I were starting from scratch, I'd make the fences much further out. HRs should be rare, and doubles/triples are a lot more exciting than HRs (unless they are inside the park, which would be more common w/ long fences). Like 425 all around.

It also makes no sense to have CF deeper than the lines. A ball hit to CF is in a way more "perfectly hit" than down a line, why penalize it? Take a 425 foot protractor and make an arc from the plate. Better game.
   29. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: April 19, 2019 at 12:37 AM (#5833461)
I've been to this park for a couple of games...and it's beautifully proportional. That lovely deep section to right centre lends itself to triples and you need a good outfield to make good plays there. Why or why would you mess with a park that is just so ideal as it is now.
Yes, the bullpens need to be moved.
   30. Bote Man Posted: April 19, 2019 at 08:48 AM (#5833471)
Just start with the bullpens...there is no excuse for a field built in the last 50 years to have them on the field itself. Its idiosyncratic for the sake of being idiosyncratic.

The story I heard was that they simply forgot to design the bullpens as an integral part of the concrete structure and the mistake was discovered too late to do anything about it. I find this impossible to believe as there are many eyes on such designs with regular meetings and conference calls. I have to believe that some eagle-eyed eager beaver would have pointed it out early enough to do something about it. Probably apocryphal.
   31. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 19, 2019 at 10:41 AM (#5833483)
Damp, cold, heavy air off the ocean at night.


This gets repeated often, and while I don't know for certain that it is wrong that balls don't carry as well in damp air, I can't think of why it would be true. Because what is true is that damp or humid air is less dense than dry air. Balls carry better at altitude than at sea level because air at altitude is less dense. Balls carry better in the summer than in the spring or late fall because warm air is less dense than cold air. So why would balls carry better in more dense dry air than in less dense humid air?
   32. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: April 19, 2019 at 10:48 AM (#5833485)
Humidity deadens the ball.
   33. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 19, 2019 at 10:57 AM (#5833486)
Ok. I can buy that, I think.
   34. Nasty Nate Posted: April 19, 2019 at 11:01 AM (#5833488)
This gets repeated often, and while I don't know for certain that it is wrong that balls don't carry as well in damp air, I can't think of why it would be true.
I think it's generally just phrased awkwardly. The damp and cold often come at the same time, so while it's the cold that is making the balls carry less, the accompanying dampness also gets mentioned, somewhat misleadingly. It's similar to how the large dimensions of the Coors Field outfield often get lumped in when people talk about the high scoring there.
   35. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 19, 2019 at 11:13 AM (#5833491)
Because what is true is that damp or humid air is less dense than dry air.
No, that can't be, because damp air has, like, stuff in it and stuff.
   36. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 19, 2019 at 11:15 AM (#5833492)
The story I heard was that they simply forgot to design the bullpens as an integral part of the concrete structure and the mistake was discovered too late to do anything about it. I find this impossible to believe as there are many eyes on such designs with regular meetings and conference calls. I have to believe that some eagle-eyed eager beaver would have pointed it out early enough to do something about it. Probably apocryphal.
Much like every college campus tour guide tells you the library is sinking because the designers didn't account for the weight of the books.
   37. Hysterical & Useless Posted: April 19, 2019 at 11:22 AM (#5833496)
OMG, glad I never took a campus tour then. That woulda totally scared me off going to school.
   38. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 19, 2019 at 11:24 AM (#5833497)
Much like every college campus tour guide tells you the library is sinking because the designers didn't account for the weight of the books.


hey, at Illinois, the library is already 2 floors underground
   39. Bote Man Posted: April 19, 2019 at 11:26 AM (#5833498)
Water vapor molecules occupy a finite space just like air molecules, but they are substantially more massive. So the ball experiences more drag to "part the waters" to make its way through damp air than dry air, holding temperature and pressure constant. /MrWizard
   40. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 19, 2019 at 11:32 AM (#5833501)
hey, at Illinois, the library is already 2 floors underground
Oh, I'm aware. My hometown!
   41. BobT Posted: April 19, 2019 at 01:32 PM (#5833532)
All NBA courts are the same size and I doubt any have been a nonstandard size since the very early days of pro basketball. I would even think that all NCAA courts are the same size now, even at D3.

All NHL ice rinks are now the same size. Sometimes teams will do stuff like make the visitor's bench area shorter so the players are more uncomfortable, but that's about it. The old Boston Garden did have a narrower rink.

In the English Premier League, five teams have slightly smaller pitches than standards: Everton, Liverpool, Crystal Palace, Chelsea, and Huddersfield Town. I can't find the dimensions for the new Tottenham stadium, but I would imagine that they built a standard size pitch (which would match Wembley Stadium).
   42. Sunday silence Posted: April 19, 2019 at 03:33 PM (#5833571)
I would have thought cold temps make the ball less resilient and so it jumps off the bat less. Im sure the humidity has some effect but I think the resiliency thing is what's overriding that.


Cold air should be drier than warm air as it holds less mater. Not sure how that helps the ball.
   43. alilisd Posted: April 19, 2019 at 04:08 PM (#5833582)
more outfield means less HR and more hitting for average.


And more triples, which are very exciting, as another post noted; I'd say the most exciting offensive play of all, except a crucially times HR, such as a walk off, because of the way it develops over time, and the actions of both the hitter/runner, and all of the fielders involved. Bigger parks might encourage more athletic OF who might be more inclined to be active on the bases, generating more SB attempts and more attempts to take extra bases, over a plodding slugger parked in a corner OF spot. I think all of these would make for more exciting, interesting baseball. Not a return to a dead ball style game, but more balls in play for extra bases. Still is going to be tough to overcome the trends towards more K's though.
   44. BrianBrianson Posted: April 19, 2019 at 04:08 PM (#5833583)
Water vapor molecules occupy a finite space just like air molecules, but they are substantially more massive.


A water molecule is less massive than any of the common air molecules (H20 = 18, N2 = 28, O2 = 32, Ar = 40).
   45. Hank Gillette Posted: April 20, 2019 at 06:16 AM (#5833693)
A water molecule is less massive than any of the common air molecules (H20 = 18, N2 = 28, O2 = 32, Ar = 40).


Correct. The ball travels farther in humid air, but the effect in minor. Altitude and temperature have much bigger effects. Air gets less dense with increases in altitude, and with higher temperatures. I would imagine that wind would have more effect than any of those, depending on the strength of the wind.
   46. Hank Gillette Posted: April 20, 2019 at 06:27 AM (#5833694)
If I were starting from scratch, I'd make the fences much further out.


The farther you move the fences out, the fewer people who are going to buy tickets in the outfield seats.
   47. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: April 20, 2019 at 01:20 PM (#5833740)
It's time again for me to mention that I would prefer baseball without any outfield fences. The only way to hit a home run would be to round all the bases with the ball still in play. That should put more of a premium on speed both in the outfield and on the bases.

Yes, I realize this will never happen, and no, it wouldn't bother me in the slightest if baseball teams could had fewer tickets to sell, since there would be no seats in the outfield.

   48. jingoist Posted: April 20, 2019 at 01:21 PM (#5833742)

Forbes Field with it’s “lusty” 457 foot dimension to left center.
Zero cheap HRs to straight center either as it was a nifty 436.
We did see a lot of triples back then.
I am sure that was a major factor in Roberto hitting 166 triples and only 240 HRs.
Less home runs and more triples make for a way more exciting game
   49. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 20, 2019 at 01:34 PM (#5833746)
and no, it wouldn't bother me in the slightest if baseball teams could had fewer tickets to sell, since there would be no seats in the outfield.


How much land would you require teams to purchase to build their stadiums on? For example, how much land north and east of Waveland and Sheffield would the Cubs be required to purchase? Would 2 blocks be enough? That would cost, what? A billion dollars? How many square feet of McCovey Cove should the Giants be required to fill?

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