Mar 30, 2008

Park Effects

The 2008 park dimensions are available at the site, but they don't mean a whole lot without context, do they? So in that spirit, let's take a look at the parks most/least favorable to lefties to righties and the parks that have changed most radically from last year.

But first, an oddity unique to our league . . . and quite possibly our league, only. We have one manager, Adam Leickel, who's engineered his park for maximum offense (18's across the board), another two, the Campbell brothers, who are setting the stage for pitcher's havens (2's across the board), and a third, Steve Frediani, who's neutrality is unchallenged (8's across the board). Technically, 8.5 would fall exactly in the middle of the 2-18 scale, but this is as close as we're going to get, folks.

  • Going for that Coors Field, circa 2000, feel, the Bulldogs' The Dog House is the odds-on favorite to feature the league's most shootouts. But with 18's across the board, perhaps the better question is, how many shutouts will the park see? Fifty home runs are easily within reach for Pujols and Fielder.
  • With 2's across the board, Dean's Knights and Eric's Blackhawks are going for that dead ball feel of Dodger Stadium in 1968. As if Verlander, Penny, Smoltz, Zambrano, Hamels, et al., needed the help when pitching at Blackhawk or Kazoo park. In fact, the Knights are almost assured of the league's top ERA, seeing as 61 percent of their schedule will be played in one or the other of these extreme pitchers' parks.
  • What can you say about The Crows Nest? With 8's all around, it's nearly as fair and balanced as, ahem, Fox News. Be sure to visit the No-Spin Zone in the (far) right-field bleachers. [Editor's note: James Bailey correctly points out that 10 is in the middle of 2 and 18, that know-it-all, so what you just read does not apply to the Crows. It applies to the Razorbacks, who are going with 10's all around.]
Now how about those parks with real style? A look at the top-3 most and least favorable parks in the four categories.

Singles (Left)
Most favorable: Bulldogs, Miracle (tied at 18), Roadrunners (14)
Least favorable: Bats, Black Sox, Blackhawks, Bombers, Knights (all tied at 2)

Singles (Right)
Most favorable: Bulldogs, Miracle (tied at 18), Breakers, Razorbacks, Pilots, Dazzlers (tied at 10)
Least favorable: Bats, Black Sox, Blackhawks, Knights (all tied at 2)

Home Runs (Left)
Most favorable: Breakers, Bulldogs (tied at 18), Miracle (16)
Least favorable: Black Sox, Blackhawks, Knights, Bombers (all tied at 2)

Home Runs (Right)
Most favorable: Breakers, Bulldogs (both tied at 18), Miracle (14)
Least favorable: Blackhawks, Knights, Stars, Bats, Beaz (all tied at 2)

Seven teams, the Blackhawks, Dirtnappers, Dobermans, Jive, Pilots, Roadrunners and Stars, are going with park dimensions unchanged from 2007. But for the other 13 teams, things have changed -- in some cases dramatically.

  • The Bulldogs (+16 for both lefties and righties) and Breakers (+8 for both sides) increased the singles factor for their parks by the largest amount. Both played the 2007 season with singles factors of 2 for both sides.
  • On the flip side, the Bats reduced singles in their new digs by (-7) to lefties and (-5) to righties. The Black Sox and Huskies cut singles by (-6) to both sides, compared with last year's factors.
  • The Miracle (+11) sought to make their park more favorable to lefty home run hitters, but righties (+9) will benefit, too. The Breakers (+8 for both sides) and Bulldogs (+6 for both sides) also jacked up their home run factors.
  • Unhappy with the old right-field dimensions in Syracuse, the Black Sox modified their new park in Kiel by reducing home runs to lefties (-12). By the same token, the Knights (-7 to both sides) and Razorbacks (-6 to both sides) slashed the home run factors at their yards.
And if you're still with me, one final category: The best and worst parks overall for lefty and righty batters, considering both single and home-run factors.

Best Parks Overall For Lefthanded Batters
Bulldogs, Miracle, Breakers, Razorbacks, Beaz

Worst Parks Overall For Lefthanded Batters
Knights, Black Sox, Bombers, Bats, Fishermen

Best Parks Overall For Righthanded Batters
Bulldogs, Miracle, Breakers, Razorbacks, Dazzlers

Worst Parks Overall For Righthanded Batters
Knights, Bats, Beaz, Black Sox, Bombers



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