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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Distance to fences. Juice the park, not the players

Official rules:

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/official_rules/objectives_1.jsp

1.04
THE PLAYING FIELD. 


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...

NOTE (a) Any Playing Field constructed by a professional club after June 1, 1958, shall provide a minimum distance of 325 feet from home base to the nearest fence, stand or other obstruction on the right and left field foul lines, and a minimum distance of 400 feet to the center field fence. (b) No existing playing field shall be remodeled after June 1, 1958, in such manner as to reduce the distance from home base to the foul poles and to the center field fence below the minimum specified in paragraph (a) above.
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So by rule the home run distance may vary by 75 feet, 23% longer in center than down the lines.  If we're so concerned with making home run hitting standard, why allow this?  Notice that it's not mandated.  A ball park could have the distance to all fences be 400 feet.

Also, it does not indicate how much of the fence in center must be 400 feet from home plate.  How about 400 feet ten feet across in center and 325 feet for the rest of the fence?

Why are the Red Sox allowed to have center only 390 feet from home?  Why not require them to move home plate back ten feet?  There's room

Fence height does not seem to be addressed.  Seems kind of bush league.  Maybe commissioner Allen Huber "Bud" Selig should be suspended for the remainder of his tenure.  But by whom?  You know, for violating the integrity of the game ... about home runs.  The wall in left, the green monster, is 37 feet high in Fenway, 315 feet down the line.  It's is about 302 down the right field line, 380 in straight away right but 375 in right center.  I measured in Google Earth.

At least Fenway has an excuse.  It opened in 1912.  What about all those new parks opened during the  Selig reign?  I don't think any are symmetrical much less the same distance in all directions with the same height fence.  No, it's not cute.  No, it's not the same for everybody.  For home run hitting, the only thing Selig and his fellow steroid zealots care about, it's only the same for teammates.  The new Yankee Stadium opened in 2009 and preserved the short right field porch.

What the heck?  When will baseball crawl out of the jungle?

Traditionalists, which do you value more: the playing area or the building?  Saturday, September 14, 2013

Our baseball brains have been pummeled since early childhood, in many cases before we have reached the age of reason, to think that this is necessary, logical, fair, charming, etc.  In other words all the things that we would otherwise reject but for that brainwashing.

So I put another uncomfortable question to traditionalists.  If you had to choose between these two alternatives, which would you choose?

1. Uniform playing areas with different buildings.

2. Non-uniform playing areas with the same buildings.


I've been wondering if the entire issue isn't simply about architecture.  We can make the buildings look very different but have the same playing dimensions with the same wall heights.  While this does not directly impact having those distances the same in all directions it takes us a lot closer to a rational understanding of why baseball fans insist on defending something that is inherently unfair and at odds with their fundamental beliefs.
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