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Matt700wlw
04-10-2008, 05:53 PM
http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_ylt=AlICdvxuNOHxeiCjb9xxwPIRvLYF?slug=dishmi niatureparkcoulddo&prov=tsn&type=lgns

Dish: Miniature park could doom Reds’ future
By Gerry Fraley - SportingNews
Apr 9, 1:09 pm EDT

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The Cincinnati Reds are justifiably excited about the promise of young righthanded pitchers Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez, who each earned style points in winning his first start of the season. It has been a long time since the Reds have had youthful pitching with the potential of Cueto and Volquez.

The test, though, will be whether they can hold up for an entire season at their home ballyard, the hitters’ paradise that is Great American Ball Park.

The park stayed true to form during the Reds’ season-opening seven-game homestand. Cincinnati won four of seven games despite being outhomered 13-7. That included 10 homers allowed by Reds starting pitchers.

Cueto and Volquez mostly avoided the virus. Cueto gave up one homer while striking out 10 in seven dominant innings against Arizona. Volquez kept the ball in the park for 5 1/3 solid innings during a win against Philadelphia. Their work was noteworthy.


Since opening in 2001, the Reds’ park has been among baseball’s top launching pads. From 2005-07, Great American gave up the most homers (718) in the majors. Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park was second at 675. San Diego’s PETCO Park and Washington’s now-abandoned RFK Stadium allowed the fewest homers, with 402.

The Reds, according to a club official, have not considered changing the dimensions of the field. Unless the Reds want to pull out a huge hunk of seats—as the Philadelphia Phillies did in left field in 2006—there is no wiggle room at Great American Ball Park. The park is hemmed in by US Bank Arena beyond left field and the Ohio River behind right field.

One National League executive referred to games at Great American as “arena baseball.” According to former Cincinnati general manager Jim Bowden, Great American was not supposed to play this way.

“There wasn’t one person that said a little fly ball in right-center was gone, and every fly ball in left and in right down the line were gone,” said Bowden, now Washington’s general manager. “They did all the wind studies. Every single one was wrong.”

The result is a home park that hurts the Reds.

The Reds’ hitters have became homer-happy, running up staggering strikeout totals in the process. Their pitchers have been beaten down by 81 games of watching routine fly balls turn into home runs.

Consider righthander Bronson Arroyo, the Reds’ No. 2 starter. In 2006, his first season with the club, Arroyo went 6-2 with a 2.60 ERA and 16 homers allowed in 121 1/3 innings at Great American. He slipped to 6-5 with a 4.47 ERA for 96 2/3 innings at home last season and went 0-1 with a 5.91 ERA and five homers allowed in 10 2/3 innings in two starts on the season-opening homestand.

Therein lays the challenge for Cueto and Volquez. If Great American does not crush their spirit, the Reds could have a dynamic 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation.

Kris Benson failing again

Righthanded pitcher Kris Benson is about to disappoint another team.

Philadelphia signed Benson shortly before spring training with the full knowledge he still was recovering from shoulder surgery, which forced him to miss last season. The one-year contract, with a maximum value of $5.1 million, removed any chance of the Phillies bringing back righthander Kyle Lohse when his asking price radically fell.

Benson had a setback late in spring training and is unlikely to pitch for the Phillies before June, if ever. How much a healthy Benson could do for the Phillies is debatable. Benson—the first-overall pick in the 1996 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates—has had a winning record only twice in seven major-league seasons.

Lohse took a one-year deal worth $4.25 million with the St. Louis Cardinals and has helped an injury-depleted rotation. Lohse had 12 scoreless innings in his first two starts. The Phillies could use that.

KC’s Gordon finds groove early in ‘08

This is the difference between a rookie and a second-year player.

Kansas City Royals third baseman Alex Gordon, a foundation piece for the franchise, needed two months to make necessary adjustments at the plate last season. This year, he needed only two games.

Gordon opened the season by going 1-for-9 with five strikeouts. In the next 21 at-bats, Gordon went 8-for-21 with only one strikeout. That put Gordon at .300 with an .867 on-base plus slugging percentage along with two homers and six RBIs through 30 at-bats entering Wednesday’s play. As a rookie, Gordon hit .173 with two homers and five RBIs and a .612 OPS for 81 at-bats in April.

“You can’t take a one-year player or two-year player and make him a five-year player,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said in discussing Gordon with reporters. “You’ve got to go through some growing pains with him. He’s a big-time player just waiting to happen. Usually with guys that are talented like him, with a swing like that, it happens a little quicker than it does for other people.”

The next step for Gordon is refining his grasp of the strike zone. He did not have a walk in his first 30 plate appearances. A year ago, Gordon took only 41 walks in 600 plate appearances and finished with a poor .314 on-base percentage.

Free-lance baseball writer Gerry Fraley is a regular contributor to Sporting News.

OnBaseMachine
04-10-2008, 06:03 PM
These writers continue to blow this way out of proportion. The Reds over the last few years have had players like Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr. Naturally they are going to hit a lot of homeruns. In that same time the Reds have run out pitchers like Jimmy Haynes, Paul Wilson, and Eric Milton. Having guy like that on the pitching staff really inflates the homerun totals. Those guys could give up 40+ homeruns a season in Yellowstone Park. Comiskey Park is a big hitters park and it didn't stop the White Sox from winning it all in 2005.

Matt700wlw
04-10-2008, 06:08 PM
Have pitchers who can miss bats, and the dimentions of the park don't matter.

reds44
04-10-2008, 06:27 PM
Didn't the Rockies go to the World Series last year? I'm also pretty sure U.S. Cellular Field plays as a pretty extreme HR ballpark. It's all about the talent. Wehn the Reds play in GABP, the opposing teams pitching has to deal with the same "arena baseball" as the Reds do.

RedsManRick
04-10-2008, 06:43 PM
It's one thing to have atmospheric differences which alter the way pitches move. It can screw up pitchers and have an actual effect on their pitches.

Having a small or large park just isn't that big of a help/hindrance. It affects the home team the same as the visitors. If anything, an extreme park should be helpful because the home team can design a roster capable of taking advantage of it's peculiarities. Reds pitching has stunk not because of a tough home park, but because of a lack of talent.

SMcGavin
04-10-2008, 06:49 PM
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The Reds’ hitters have became homer-happy, running up staggering strikeout totals in the process. Their pitchers have been beaten down by 81 games of watching routine fly balls turn into home runs.

Consider righthander Bronson Arroyo, the Reds’ No. 2 starter. In 2006, his first season with the club, Arroyo went 6-2 with a 2.60 ERA and 16 homers allowed in 121 1/3 innings at Great American. He slipped to 6-5 with a 4.47 ERA for 96 2/3 innings at home last season and went 0-1 with a 5.91 ERA and five homers allowed in 10 2/3 innings in two starts on the season-opening homestand.

Therein lays the challenge for Cueto and Volquez. If Great American does not crush their spirit, the Reds could have a dynamic 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation.


Well that was a terrible article. Just so we get the theories put forth in this article straight, the Reds strike out a lot because the outfield fences are short. And Bronson Arroyo had a worse 2007 than 2006 because his spirit was crushed by thinking about the short fences.

RedEye
04-10-2008, 06:50 PM
I hate this article. I realize not everyone's into stats and stuff, but he could have at least mentioned some of the other variables involved in the equation rather than pronouncing doomsday because of a few HR.

SMcGavin
04-10-2008, 06:54 PM
Just for fun here is Harang's ERA in GABP the past three years.

2005: 3.31
2006: 4.61
2007: 3.41

Clearly the drop in 2006 home stats were due to his spirit being crushed. Apparently he had a spirit recovery in 2007.


And Milton:
2005: 6.22
2006: 5.38

I think 2005 Milton was so bad he actually crushed GABP's spirit, leading to a 2006 improvement.

CrackerJack
04-10-2008, 06:59 PM
So the terms "pitcher friendly" and "hitter friendly" ballpark should be completely thrown out then right? (basing that on the above replies)

Maybe the writer would've been better off mentioning that a small market club like the Reds, who will always be at a disadvantage to larger market clubs when it comes to keeping and acquiring top pitchers, would be better off in a park that keeps balls inside the fence more often?

Agree that it's more of a "blog post" than a well-researched article, but surely there's something to it?

I think he just went overboard on the whole premise, you can win in a small park, just better be smart about it?

princeton
04-10-2008, 07:02 PM
it was dumb for a small market to build a park that requires power pitchers and home run hitters in order to have success. The team would surely have trouble finding those commodities in an affordable way. And Bowden talked about how well the park would hit before it was built.

RedsManRick
04-10-2008, 07:04 PM
So the terms "pitcher friendly" and "hitter friendly" ballpark should be completely thrown out then right? (basing that on the above replies)

I think the point is two fold:

1.) A park that's tough on pitchers is hitter friendly and visa versa. 7-4 wins count just the same as 3-1.

2.) A park affects both teams playing in it. If it's tough on Reds pitchers, it's tough on the pitchers for every NL team. It doesn't hurt the Reds any more or less.

Teams win and lose because of their talent, not their park. Until the Reds have 95 win talent and still can't get to the playoffs, it's really a moot issue.

SMcGavin
04-10-2008, 07:05 PM
So the terms "pitcher friendly" and "hitter friendly" ballpark should be completely thrown out then right? (basing that on the above replies)

No, GABP is hitter friendly for sure. But pitchers do worse in GABP because it is easier to hit the ball over a close fence, not because thinking about those close fences crushes the pitcher's spirits. Showing Arroyo's stats for two consecutive seasons that were both in GABP, and then acting like it is some kind of proof for his theory, is absurd.

Cyclone792
04-10-2008, 07:07 PM
And Bowden talked about how well the park would hit before it was built.

Yep, Bowden's full of crap on this one by now claiming they had no idea the park would be a hitter's park.

With the exception of straight away center field and maybe an area in left center near the Reds bullpen, most of the fences are about 5-10 feet shorter than they likely should be. The outfield is just small because of the short fences; the lack of triples in the park is very telling in how close the wall is in right and right center.

RedEye
04-10-2008, 07:29 PM
the lack of triples in the park is very telling in how close the wall is in right and right center.

Hitters like Curtis Granderson and Jimmy Rollins would never come here. It would crush their spirit.

Caveat Emperor
04-10-2008, 08:01 PM
I wonder what would happen if they closed up (or strung up some windscreens) the "Gap" on the 3rd base side of the park?

That has to play like a jet-stream channeling wind current straight out to right field.

WMR
04-10-2008, 08:12 PM
I do miss there not being any triples in GABP. IMO, the triple is one of the most exciting plays in baseball.

reds44
04-10-2008, 08:19 PM
You could move the fences back in CF (where the batters eye is) and LCF (where the bullpen is) and not lose any seats. The question is, how many runs would it actually save? One of the reasons Coors Field is such a good hitters park is not only because of the altitude, but because how big the outfield is.

Sea Ray
04-10-2008, 08:19 PM
Yep, Bowden's full of crap on this one by now claiming they had no idea the park would be a hitter's park.

With the exception of straight away center field and maybe an area in left center near the Reds bullpen, most of the fences are about 5-10 feet shorter than they likely should be. The outfield is just small because of the short fences; the lack of triples in the park is very telling in how close the wall is in right and right center.

Right on. Bowden planned on a RF "porch" so that guys like Griffey, Dunn and Casey could launch cheap HRs. I can't believe Bowden is being so disingenuous now.

RFS62
04-10-2008, 08:31 PM
The right field porch was designed for Juniors inevitable march towards Aarons record

Spring~Fields
04-10-2008, 08:33 PM
Right on. Bowden planned on a RF "porch" so that guys like Griffey, Dunn and Casey could launch cheap HRs. I can't believe Bowden is being so disingenuous now.

Yeah Bowden, he is right where he belongs with the rest of the politicians blowing smoke and foul air in D.C.

guttle11
04-10-2008, 08:41 PM
The funny thing is that GABP just reeks of leather. It's 5-tool OFer heaven.

redsrule2500
04-10-2008, 11:35 PM
haha this is stupid. First of all....the ballpark might deter pitchers, but it won't deter hitters!!

I think this article just explodes of dumb lol

fearofpopvol1
04-11-2008, 12:30 AM
I remember reading at some point, and I don't know where, but that they built the outfield smaller so Griffey Jr. could hit more home runs. I'm not making it up! I can't seem to remember the article, though.

Way to plan for the future!

Reds/Flyers Fan
04-11-2008, 12:46 AM
Didn't the Rockies go to the World Series last year? I'm also pretty sure U.S. Cellular Field plays as a pretty extreme HR ballpark. It's all about the talent. Wehn the Reds play in GABP, the opposing teams pitching has to deal with the same "arena baseball" as the Reds do.

Rockies play in Coors Field, which plays MUCH different than it did in pre-humidor days. The days of 19-12 Coors Field games are flat-out gone.

As for GABP, what can be done? How realistic, if the Reds ever wanted to, to take out seats or do something else to alter how the park plays? What about a Red Monster wall or something?

fearofpopvol1
04-11-2008, 01:11 AM
Rockies play in Coors Field, which plays MUCH different than it did in pre-humidor days. The days of 19-12 Coors Field games are flat-out gone.

As for GABP, what can be done? How realistic, if the Reds ever wanted to, to take out seats or do something else to alter how the park plays? What about a Red Monster wall or something?

Supposedly won't happen as it would be too expensive to modify the current setup plus a loss of revenue on the seats.

BCubb2003
04-11-2008, 01:13 AM
Bowden in 2005:

"The parameters (for Great American) were we want a short right-field porch and we're going to try to draft and trade for guys who are getting into that. That's what Dmitri Young was, Sean Casey, Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey Jr. We wanted left-handed bats with power for this park."

http://www.redszone.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-35331.html

Reds/Flyers Fan
04-11-2008, 01:38 AM
Bowden in 2005:

"The parameters (for Great American) were we want a short right-field porch and we're going to try to draft and trade for guys who are getting into that. That's what Dmitri Young was, Sean Casey, Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey Jr. We wanted left-handed bats with power for this park."

http://www.redszone.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-35331.html

Sean Casey has power? That guy wouldn't reach double digit home runs if he played an entire season in Williamsport.

fearofpopvol1
04-11-2008, 02:03 AM
He had 1 year with power. Was it 2003 or 2004? I'm too lazy to look it up right now, but I want to say he was close to 20 jacks.

SteelSD
04-11-2008, 02:15 AM
Consider righthander Bronson Arroyo, the Reds’ No. 2 starter. In 2006, his first season with the club, Arroyo went 6-2 with a 2.60 ERA and 16 homers allowed in 121 1/3 innings at Great American. He slipped to 6-5 with a 4.47 ERA for 96 2/3 innings at home last season and went 0-1 with a 5.91 ERA and five homers allowed in 10 2/3 innings in two starts on the season-opening homestand.

Wow. Folks, that's a great example of "How to Lie with Stats 101". Here are Arroyo's actual Home/Road splits for 2006 and 2007:

2007 Home: 1.31 HR/9 IP
2007 Road: 1.11 HR/9 IP

2006 Home: 1.19 HR/9 IP
2006 Road: 1.13 HR/9 IP

Had Arroyo produced the same HR/9 rate at home in 2006 that he did in 2007, he'd have given up 17 or 18 HR versus the 16 he allowed in 2006. It's not like Arroyo's skill allowed him to dramatically suppress the longball in your average NL park over the past two years and then was victimized by the GAB. Arroyo's ERA differential for those two seasons can be entirely explained by the fact that his 2006 BABIP was .274 versus a more normal .317 in 2007.


The Reds’ hitters have became homer-happy, running up staggering strikeout totals in the process.

Mr. Fraley, if that is your real name, I hate to discount your completely unsound reasoning, but I must:

2006 and 2007 K Rates:

2007 AB/K Home: 5.62
2007 AB/K Road: 5.76

2006 AB/K Home: 5.37
2006 AB/K Road: 5.20

Just like the oblivious claim of GAB somehow affecting Arroyo's HR rates, here we find a team that's going to strike out at about the same rate wherever they play. There's not special GAB influence there and had the writer done proper research, he'd know know it.

The real issue with the GAB is that incompetent writers like Gerry Fraley continue to persist that it's an evironment that isn't conducive to good pitchers pitching well. Well, if a pitcher needs a huge park to look good then by all means that pitcher should choose said huge park. I don't want that pitcher on my team. But Arroyo is an absolutely awful example of what this hack is trying to forward. The idea that hitters should be scared that their K rates will somehow increase due to a move to the GAB is a complete non-starter.

The Reds are fortunate to have a park that doesn't hide the shortcomings of non-power pitchers. The GAB forces the Reds to look at high-K rate pitching options in order to limit HR and BIP damage, especially when coupled with below-average defense. Now what they need to do is put together a lineup that's capable of performing away from the GAB. That's where they have the potential to be fooled (see: Hatteberg, Scott).

Ron Madden
04-11-2008, 03:34 AM
The Reds’ hitters have became homer-happy, running up staggering strikeout totals in the process. Their pitchers have been beaten down by 81 games of watching routine fly balls turn into home runs. [/QUOTE]

I've heard and read this nonsense from the Cincinnati media since the opening of GABP, other folks believe this garbage and pass it on as factual information.

Why don't the visiting teams hitters become homer-happy and have staggering strikeout totals?

The Reds have had LOUSY PITCHING since (forever) the opening of GABP.

princeton
04-11-2008, 09:11 AM
Bowden in 2005:

"The parameters (for Great American) were we want a short right-field porch and we're going to try to draft and trade for guys who are getting into that. That's what Dmitri Young was, Sean Casey, Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey Jr. We wanted left-handed bats with power for this park."

http://www.redszone.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-35331.html


you'll note no mention of pitching, nor really in getting on base. You figure that in a park like this, the walks are as important as the homers.

likewise, for pitchers, preventing walks and inducing groundballs is probably a key. DanO then signed Milton, who was ill-suited for this park in particular (or any parks in general) as a fly ball pitcher.

Krivsky has been systematic in obtaining groundball pitchers.

also, there's no mention of defense. If there are a lot of groundballs, you'd better convert them into outs. I've wondered about whether a poor defensive team can win in a little park. Rox won after placing a premium on defense in a hitters' park; LA Dodgers had great success, for years, with poor defensive teams in a pitchers' park. But I'm not positive that you can't get by with merely adequate defense, although you'd probably want to be good in the infield. Krivsky doesn't agree. Thoughts?

Chip R
04-11-2008, 09:23 AM
I can't believe Bowden is being so disingenuous now.


This surprises you?

smith288
04-11-2008, 09:32 AM
The feedback page for this boob

http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn/viewtopic.php?t=397590

Team Clark
04-11-2008, 01:59 PM
Have pitchers who can miss bats, and the dimentions of the park don't matter.

Exactamundo! :thumbup: