Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

You are here > Home > Primate Studies > Discussion
Primate Studies
— Where BTF's Members Investigate the Grand Old Game

Friday, June 21, 2002

Pac Bell: The Giant Team’s Giant Ball Park

Hitting a shot into McCovey’s Cove isn’t as easy as it looks.

Before Pacific Bell Park opened in April, 2000, I took one of the free public tours that the Giants were offering. Hey, I had nothing better to do. The facility was, of course, mighty impressive: gleaming and new, and compared with Candlestick, it was charming and warm and friendly. Finally, real baseball had arrived at the City by the Bay.

Because it was empty of fans during my tour, it was hard for me to get a strong   sense that day on how large the playing field was. Yet I looked down the left   field line and saw 335 feet and thought, "short," and then down the   right field line, saw 307 feet, and thought, " really, really short.".   When we were walking through the upper deck above home plate with our docent   describing all the food and other merchanidise that fans could buy, the yard   looked puny against the backdrop of the Bay Bridge, McCovey Cove, and San Fransisco   Bay. Even the stevedores’ cranes in Oakland six miles away loomed large. So   I thought I knew one thing for sure: Pac Bell was going to be yet another band-box   ballpark.

As everyone but Tim McCarver seems to have figured out, I was wrong. Pac Bell   is an extreme pitcher’s park. It’s the unCoors. Its Ball Park Factor was miserly   the same in 2000 and in 2001: 91 for batters and 92 for pitchers. I guess that   high wall in right-field and the spacious outfield from straight away right   to the far reaches of center-filed and to the gap in left-center were more than   I realized back when I took that tour.

This year, so far, Pac Bell has continued to suppress offense. The Giants are   scoring 1.14 fewer runs per game at home than they are on the road (4.23 vs.   5.37) and they are giving up 0.91 fewer runs at home than they are on the road   (3.12 vs. 4.03). In other words, a Giants game at Pacific Bell Park averages   2.05 fewer runs than one does elsewhere in the major leagues.

Despite the Bell’s depressive effects, a few Giants on the San Francisco roster   appear to be unaffected by Pac Bell. Barry Bonds is the most notable in this   group. His OPS at home is 128 points higher:

Bonds sleeping in his Estate: .373/.587/.843.
  Bonds living in Motels: .327/.548/.755.

Reggie Sanders is the only other Giant hitter for whom Pacific Bell is not   a hindrance but a help. The Colonel’s OPS is 160 points better in The City:

Reggie eating home cooking: 261/339/486.
  Sanders eating at KFC: 219/323/343.

Among the San Francisco pitchers, only Livan Hernandez and Aaron Fultz have   not benefitted from Pac Bell. Hernandez’s ERA grows from 3.45 on the road to   4.82 at home, while Fultz’s inflates from 5.52 away to 7.00 on the road.

Robb Nen, Jay Witasick, and Russ Ortiz have all been close to even at home   and on the road this season:

Nen 2.20 home ERA, 2.13 road ERA
  Witasick 1.23 home ERA, 1.50 road ERA
  Ortiz 3.19 home ERA, 3.81 road ERA

For the rest of the Giants, Pacific Bell Park appears to have greatly affected   their 2002 seasons so far. Here are the anemic Giants’ hitters playing in the   Publicly Regulated Utility:

Marvin Benard - .163/.250/.186
  Rich Aurilia - .208/.225/.325
  JT Snow - .155/.273/.167
  Jeff Kent - .260/.321/.402
  Benito Santiago - .255/.288/.443
  David Bell - .248/.308/.376
  Tsuyoshi Shinjo - .242/.303/.308

And here is that exact same group on the road looking like an All-Star team   (or not):

Marvin Benard - .354/.380/.542
  Rich Aurilia - .304/.350/.518
  JT Snow - .248/.324/.405
  Jeff Kent - .328/.386/.519
  Benito Santiago - .312/.364/.523
  David Bell - .264/.331/.465
  Tsuyoshi Shinjo - .244/.296/.374

This is how much each of these Giants has lost in OPS at home after 69 games:

Marvin Benard - 486 points
  Rich Aurilia - 318 points
  JT Snow - 289 points
  Jeff Kent - 182 points
  Benito Santiago - 155 points
  David Bell - 112 points
  Tsuyoshi Shinjo - 59 points

Waking up in a familiar bed for San Francisco’s pitchers often means a low   ERA. Here are the Giants’ pitchers who have so far benefitted the most this   season pitching at home:

Felix Rodriguez - 2.87 ERA
  Ryan Jensen - 2.53 ERA
  Jason Schmidt - 2.20 ERA
  Tim Worrell - 1.26 ERA
  Kirk Rueter - 2.76 ERA
  Chad Zerbe - 2.31 ERA

And here is that very same staff on the road:

Felix Rodriguez - 7.62 ERA
  Ryan Jensen - 5.85 ERA
  Jason Schmidt - 4.87 ERA
  Tim Worrell - 3.57 ERA
  Kirk Rueter - 3.86 ERA
  Chad Zerbe - 3.31 ERA

The difference in their road minus home ERA’s?

Felix Rodriguez - 4.75 earned runs per 9 innings
  Ryan Jensen - 3.32
  Jason Schmidt - 2.67
  Tim Worrell - 2.31
  Kirk Rueter - 1.10
  Chad Zerbe - 1.00

Granted, partial season home-road splits can be misleading, particularly for   relief pitchers, as the sample size for any one player is just too small. But   the trend is quite clear. For Giants’ hitters, Pac Bell makes 5’ 7" Marvin   Benard and his mates look like a league of Lilliputians. And for Giants’ pitchers,   the House that Bonds Built makes 6’ 6" Jason Schmidt and his band appear   to be Brobdingnagian.


Rich Rifkin Posted: June 21, 2002 at 06:00 AM | 2 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Related News:

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. fables of the deconstruction Posted: June 22, 2002 at 12:32 AM (#605356)

Sometime, in a continuation of this, could you make a comparison of PBP to other "pitching venues" in the NL (and possibly ML) over its acknowledged short life? Also, how about how it compares on a historic level. I realise the "data set" is rather minimal for PBP just yet, but I think the comparisons would be interestiing as well as informative.

trevise :-) ...
   2. Don Malcolm Posted: June 23, 2002 at 12:32 AM (#605360)
FWIW, Pac Bell is not the lowest-scoring park in its division thus far in 2002, though it's very close:

Park, TR/G
Dodger, 7.22
Pac Bell, 7.35
Qualcomm, 7.40

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.



<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF


Thanks to
for his generous support.


You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.


Page rendered in 0.1247 seconds
41 querie(s) executed