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Thread: Making ballparks too small

  1. #1
    Party like it's 1990 Blitz Dorsey's Avatar
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    Making ballparks too small

    The Reds were guilty of it, but there are many others. Take Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, built before the Tampa Bay area even had a team in 1990. Camden Yards in Baltimore, built in 1992, is known as the trend-setter for smaller, new parks. But the Trop (originally called the Florida Suncoast Dome... and then the Thunderdome) is even smaller and was built two years earlier. Here are the dimensions:

    Left Field: 315 ft
    Left-Center: 370 ft
    Center Field: 404 ft
    Right-Center: 370 ft
    Right Field: 322 ft

    Wow. I knew it was a bandbox (everyone does) but I didn't know it was quite that small until I looked it up.

    Great American Ball Park (affectionally called Great American Small Park by many, including myself) has similar dimensions to center and the power alleys (in fact, exactly the same in straight-away center). However, down the lines at the Trop is a joke.

    I strongly dislike the "Crawford Boxes" at the Park Formerly Known as Enron. However, at least the Astros tried to make up for it in other ways. I happen to like the hill in deep center that pays homage to Crosley Field (although Crosley didn't have a flagpole in the middle of the field). Minute Maid Park would be great without the Crawford Boxes where you can check swing and hit one into the seats for a HR.

    At least the Padres built a real baseball field. Same for the Mariners. In fact, they might have taken it too far. There is a happy medium. GABP would be perfect IMO if they could find a way to push the outfield seats back and increase the dimensions just a little bit. I'm not asking for much -- exactly what we had at Riverfront/Cinergy would do the trick. It's close now, but there was no need to make it such a bandbox. And it's not even close to being the worst example of bandboxes gone wild. The Phillies' park is pretty bad. The Trop is horrible as I said above (Longoria would've had 7 HRs if he played for the Padres last year... I keed, I keed) as well as Camden Yards. Here are the dimensions for Camden Yards:

    Left Field - 333 ft
    Left-Center - 364 ft
    Left-Center (deep) - 410 ft
    Center Field - 400 ft
    Right-Center - 373 ft
    Right Field - 318 ft

    Again, at least it isn't small all the way around. It's much like Minute Maid in this respect.

    Dimensions at GABP:

    Left Field - 328 ft
    Left-Center - 379 ft
    Center Field - 404 ft
    Right-Center - 370 ft
    Right Field - 325 ft

    Not as bad as everyone makes it out to be, especially compared to other parks. But it's small all the way around, especially all of RF. They should have just stuck with the exact dimensions of Riverfront, IMO. We have such a nice park; it's too bad the first thing everyone outside of Cincinnati thinks about when it's mentioned is that's it's a bandbox.

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    Party like it's 1990 Blitz Dorsey's Avatar
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    Re: Making ballparks too small

    FYI, here were the dimensions of Riverfront:

    Left field - 330 ft
    Left-center field - 375 ft
    Center field - 404 ft
    Right-center field - 375 ft
    Right field - 330 ft

    Still relatively small, but not too small. I thought it was just right.

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    Re: Making ballparks too small

    Wanna make speed important in the game again?

    Make parks bigger.

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    Re: Making ballparks too small

    The popularity of the NFL led to giant stadiums for the most popular league (sic), this left most baseball teams looking for a home as well, no surprise that a city (Baltimore) that lost their NFL team used their resources to build a baseball park that would be the model for the baseball only stadiums that now litter the landscape.

    Once each team got their own home they also were able to eschew turf and that cut into the speed game as well, so now we have smaller fields (often shoe horned by the city in an area to promote regrowth) a propensity for baseball to lean towards power as the ticket draw and players enhanced with daily workouts and the like, it does create a different brand of baseball, that's for sure.

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    So Long Uncle Joe BoydsOfSummer's Avatar
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    Re: Making ballparks too small

    The Trop actually plays fairly neutral, even leaning towards pitcher friendly.
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    SERP deep cover ops WebScorpion's Avatar
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    Re: Making ballparks too small

    Wow! I never realized Tropicana was that close to GABs dimensions. So why do they play so differently? Tropicana is actually smaller in left and identical in right, yet GAB plays as a hitters paradise and Tropicana as neutral to pitcher friendly. Is it the weather? Heat? Humidity? Wind? ...or just the defense?

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    Re: Making ballparks too small

    Quote Originally Posted by WebScorpion View Post
    Wow! I never realized Tropicana was that close to GABs dimensions. So why do they play so differently? Tropicana is actually smaller in left and identical in right, yet GAB plays as a hitters paradise and Tropicana as neutral to pitcher friendly. Is it the weather? Heat? Humidity? Wind? ...or just the defense?
    Well the Trop is domed correct? When the humidity is up the ball jumps out of GABP more so I'd have to think the dome is the biggest difference.
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    Re: Making ballparks too small

    Edit...my argument made little sense. Either way, the Trop plays much bigger than GABP.

    Is there anywhere to find the square footage of each field?? That would truely tell you the distances.
    Last edited by TOBTTReds; 12-22-2008 at 03:14 PM.

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    Party like it's 1990 Blitz Dorsey's Avatar
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    Re: Making ballparks too small

    Someone is going to need to explain to me how the Trop plays "much bigger" than GASmallPark. I know it doesn't take much for a park to play much bigger than our bandbox, but looking at the dimensions, the Trop looks smaller. I'm sure it has something to do with being a dome, but the ball jumps in the Metrodome (OK, that's because they shoot air out from behind home plate when the Twins are up. Haha. But I seriously remember hearing they did that during both of their WS title years.)

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    So Long Uncle Joe BoydsOfSummer's Avatar
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    Re: Making ballparks too small

    The Metrodome is even more pitcher friendly than The Trop.
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    Re: Making ballparks too small

    Quote Originally Posted by Blitz Dorsey View Post
    Someone is going to need to explain to me how the Trop plays "much bigger" than GASmallPark.
    One reason may be that air shoots through the GAP that helps balls hit to RF. They tried to minimize it by putting in that Frontgate Party deck...not sure that did much.

    http://www.ballparksofbaseball.com/nl/gab911.JPG

    Also, just because the five distances you read say that the park is short, doesn't mean that it is shorter than a park with a bit bigger measurements. Although Riverfront was 404 in center, it was not as small as GABP's 404. GABP's centerfield goes to a point, meaning the fence left and right of that point are much shorter than 404. Whereas Riverfront was a cemetrical stadium, so the distance was gradually shorter left and right of the 404 mark.

    Our centerfield is so small because of the angle of the walls.

    http://www.ballparksofbaseball.com/nl/gab907.JPG

    http://www.ballparksofbaseball.com/nl/gab2007900.JPG

    Also, from this pic, you can see that 404 is dead center at the Trop, but to the left of that it is 410, and to the right it is 404, which has to add a ton of square footage to CF. I've personally never thought it was a band box, and this is the first time I've heard it mentioned.

    http://diamondbaseballtours.com/tpim...dium_chart.gif

    That's all I have for now.

  13. #12
    nothing more than a fan Always Red's Avatar
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    Re: Making ballparks too small

    Good thread and discussion.

    Some of the modern day parks which give up so many HR's are very similar in size to the classic parks of yore- no one complained about too many HR's in the 30's-50's, though it was a time of massive HR hitting by some players.

    Other considerations:

    1. More emphasis by managers and FO on scoring by the HR than ever before and less "manufacturing" runs.
    2. More pitchers throwing harder than ever in the past.
    3. Hitters are bigger and stronger than ever before.
    4. Year round training- especially for hitters; most pitchers need to give their arm and shoulder a break during the offseason. of course, the pitchers are working out in other ways as well.

  14. #13
    So Long Uncle Joe BoydsOfSummer's Avatar
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    Re: Making ballparks too small

    Open up those gaps and let's have some fun!
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    SERP Emeritus paintmered's Avatar
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    Re: Making ballparks too small

    Quote Originally Posted by TOBTTReds View Post
    One reason may be that air shoots through the GAP that helps balls hit to RF. They tried to minimize it by putting in that Frontgate Party deck...not sure that did much.

    http://www.ballparksofbaseball.com/nl/gab911.JPG
    I've read a conspiracy theory on The Gap. The reason at the time it was built was so that that the third-base stands could be closer to the field. This is valid but not very conspiracy-ish.

    The conspiracy? The gap will allow for prominent viewing of the new Queen City skyscraper which is being built on the location of the old Western & Southern garage. The major tenant for this building that has been in the works for twenty years? Great American Insurance. Conspiracy or no, there will be some nice views of the building from inside the stadium. However, it probably won't affect the wind patterns much.
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    Pitching is the thing WVRedsFan's Avatar
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    Re: Making ballparks too small

    Having grown up seeing games at Corsley Field, I like GABP a lot for this reason. It's got gret site lines--site lines that larger stadiums do not have. One of the great things about Crosley (and GABP) is the fan experience. It always seemed you were right on the field at Crosley and I see the same at GABP. Yes, both stadiums gave and give up a lot of HR's, but isn't that exciting. It is to me. I look at some of the parks (Petco is one) and I wonder how that could be exciting. Yes, other parts of baseball are exciting, but nothing beats offense and a larger stadium would just have more empty seats and less bang for the buck.

    There is nothing wrong with small stadiums. You just have to build your club to accomodate that stadium for half your games. This season, the Reds were 43-38 at GABP and 31-50 on the road. Apparently (and I have to admit I don't know) the Reds couldn't hit in those so-called "Perfect" stadiums. Or couldn't pitch. Maybe we just need a better club?
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