Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Monday, February 11, 2013

FanGraphs: Sullivan: Moving in the Fences: A History

Fence Busters…and the repairs that go along with it.

hg

Colorado might be the place that most made people aware that baseball works differently in different ballparks. It was pretty hard to deny the fact that, in Colorado, hit baseballs just took off. Since people became aware of Colorado playing in a hitter-friendly stadium, many people have also become aware of San Diego and Seattle playing in pitcher-friendly stadiums. Petco Park and Safeco Field are two of baseball’s newer parks, and to date they’ve played reasonably extreme. Because of their established pitcher-friendliness, both Petco and Safeco are having their dimensions adjusted this offseason. The idea isn’t to make the ballparks hitter-friendly — it’s to make them more hitter-friendly, or basically more neutral. You bring the fences in, and it follows that offense ought to go up.

Yet it’s interesting what we can observe in recent history. I can identify four instances in which fences were moved in somewhere with the idea of helping the hitters. Between 1994-1995, the Royals made adjustments at Kauffman Stadium. Between 2002-2003, the Tigers made adjustments at Comerica Park. Between 2005-2006, the Padres made an adjustment at Petco, which obviously wasn’t enough. And, between 2011-2012, the Mets made adjustments at Citi Field. Though simple park factors are imperfect and while in certain cases we’re working with limited data, the relevant numbers are of interest.

...Evidence that bringing in the fences might have both intuitive and counter-intuitive effects. Park effects are complicated, meaning park adjustments are complicated. It’s easy to understand how nearer fences can mean more home runs — fly balls have to travel less distance. But that can also have other effects, like cutting down on doubles and triples, and there isn’t a perfect correlation between homer rate and run-scoring rate. If you have a pitcher-friendly ballpark, the answer might not be as simple as moving the fences closer to home plate. These things are tough to project.

Of course, what’s happened before after different adjustments might not mean anything for Petco or Safeco in 2013. No ballpark has done exactly what those two ballparks are doing. And the adjustments are being made in large part for psychological reasons — the Padres and Mariners are tired of bumming hitters out — so run-scoring might not be the key. Even if the run-scoring rates don’t change, it could be a psychological success if the home-run rates improve, because hitters want to be rewarded with dingers for their long fly balls. A place where it’s hard to hit homers feels different from a place where it’s average to hit homers, but still hard to score runs. There’s a lot going on here.

Here’s one thing we can say: going forward, it’s probably going to be easier to homer in San Diego and Seattle. Here’s one thing we can’t say: going forward, it’s probably going to be easier to score in San Diego and Seattle. That might well end up being true, but it would be wise to wait for statistical evidence. The historical record is a curious one.

Repoz Posted: February 11, 2013 at 03:11 PM | 6 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. phredbird Posted: February 11, 2013 at 03:41 PM (#4367172)
whoa ... was willie mccovey that much taller than willie mays?
   2. Canker Soriano Posted: February 11, 2013 at 03:44 PM (#4367175)
They didn't call him "Stretch" because he got more out of his paycheck than other guys.
   3. GregD Posted: February 11, 2013 at 03:48 PM (#4367178)
six inches according to bbref. Any chance Mays was actually shorter than 5-10?
   4. phredbird Posted: February 11, 2013 at 03:53 PM (#4367186)
willie mays has a house in the same community that my g.f and i live in in rancho mirage. we walked by the other night, but it looks like he doesn't use it.
   5. Steve Treder Posted: February 11, 2013 at 05:23 PM (#4367263)
Any chance Mays was actually shorter than 5-10?

None. (Well, he probably is now, at the age of 81.) He was 5-11 in his playing days. McCovey was 6-4.
   6. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: February 12, 2013 at 12:54 PM (#4367860)
They didn't just bust fences, but the damn card too!

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
JE (Jason)
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogFan Returns Home Run Ball to Ishikawa; Receives World Series tickets
(15 - 6:56pm, Oct 20)
Last: snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster)

NewsblogCalcaterra: So, if you’re not a fan of the Royals or Giants, who ya got?
(73 - 6:53pm, Oct 20)
Last: A triple short of the cycle

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - October 2014
(271 - 6:52pm, Oct 20)
Last: Jimmy P

NewsblogOT: Politics, October 2014: Sunshine, Baseball, and Etch A Sketch: How Politicians Use Analogies
(2754 - 6:43pm, Oct 20)
Last: zenbitz

NewsblogOT: NFL/NHL thread
(8361 - 6:42pm, Oct 20)
Last: Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee

NewsblogPitch from Zito helped sell Hudson on Giants | MLB.com
(4 - 6:39pm, Oct 20)
Last: Willie Mayspedester

NewsblogMorosi: Could Cain’s story make baseball king of sports world again?
(97 - 6:24pm, Oct 20)
Last: BDC

NewsblogAngell: Gigantic
(36 - 6:22pm, Oct 20)
Last: Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip

NewsblogESPN: Brian Roberts retires
(22 - 6:19pm, Oct 20)
Last: Captain Supporter

NewsblogCould the Yankees ever be Royals? Young and athletic K.C. is everything that Bombers are not - NY Daily News
(23 - 6:13pm, Oct 20)
Last: You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR)

NewsblogOT: NBC.news: Valve isn’t making one gaming console, but multiple ‘Steam machines’
(841 - 6:13pm, Oct 20)
Last: DJS and the Infinite Sadness

NewsblogSielski: A friend fights for ex-Phillie Dick Allen's Hall of Fame induction
(60 - 5:53pm, Oct 20)
Last: RMc is a fine piece of cheese

NewsblogWhy Royals great Frank White no longer associates with the team whose stadium he built - Yahoo Sports
(17 - 5:35pm, Oct 20)
Last: Zach

NewsblogDealing or dueling – what’s a manager to do? | MGL on Baseball
(8 - 5:17pm, Oct 20)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogHitting coaches blamed for lack of offense - Sports - The Boston Globe
(12 - 5:17pm, Oct 20)
Last: RMc is a fine piece of cheese

Page rendered in 0.2103 seconds
54 querie(s) executed