Have You Heard the One About…
Way back, all those eons ago, when Baseball San Jose released the renderings of the potential Cisco Field, I noted that there were two questions that seemed to be on every A’s fan’s mind. The first was, would the park be hitter, or pitcher, friendly. The second was, What the heck is that thing in Right Field?
A fellow named Greg Rybarczyk runs a very cool website called Hit Tracker. On the site, he tracks things like the actual distances of Home Runs across the league, the atmospheric conditions when the home runs are hit, the angle that the ball left the bat and the speed at which it traveled. The best part of all of this is that he can take this data and, through a highly scientific method, derive a HRPF (Home Run Park Factor) for each of the Major League stadiums.
Long time reader, gojohn10, reached out to Mr. Rybarczyk and he graciously agreed to build a model for the potential Cisco Field using some assumptions about field dimensions and fence heights combined with actual data based on the positioning of the field and it’s geographical coordinates. Using this model, we can safely say the answer to the first question can be phrased something like this, “Did you hear the one about the ballpark in San Jose?”
The punch line would then be, “150/101/100/168/142.”
HRPF works a lot like BPF (Batting Park Factor). The Park Factor is calculated such that 100 means “MLB average.” A number below 100 indicates a park where home runs are less likely. A park with numbers above 100 indicates “Band Box” designation. The further a number is from 100, above or below, the more/less likely it is that bombs will be droppin’ like rain in Seattle. The aggregate HRPF for Cisco Field, as rendered, would likely be something around 132. The highest HRPF presently is Coors Field with a whopping 118.
What’s worse? The easiest Left Field HR, presently, is at the erstwhile Enron Field, 132. The easiest Right Center Field is at Coors Field, 145. The easiest Right Field is at Miller Park, 137. Cisco Field would best all of them. Today, only one park is the most easiest place to hit a Home Run to more than one field, Coors Field is the easiest to CF and RCF. Cisco Field wouldn’t only be the easiest, it’d be the easiest by a landslide and to 3 different parts of the park.
The numbers in the punchline are the projected HRPF at the potential Cisco Field starting in the Left Field corner and moving around the outfield to the Right Field corner. Left Center and Center Field would play fair… Everywhere else would resemble Slow Pitch Softball. Greg theorizes that Bay Area weather conditions could bring that number down by about 10 points. Even so, Cisco Field would still be an easier place go yard than Coors Field. Start signing sinker ballers, and guys who fly out to the warning track 20 times a year, now Billy!
Some important things to note:
- The Right Field line fence height in the model is 24 ft. There was some debate amongst the three of us (ML, gj10, me) as to what the real height would be. I estimated 35 ft. gj10 estimated 30 ft. ML, the brains of the operation, estimated 24ft. So this is sort of a worst case scenario in the Right Field corner.
- Similarly, we all had different guesses for the rest of the fences. Though, the differences in our estimates were pretty insignificant. The model is based on 9 ft. fences in Left and 12 ft. fences in Center and Right Center.
- The upshot is, while the Right Field corner could be moved considerably closer to the magic “100″ with a fence as much as 10 ft. taller, Left Field and Right Center would need to be moved back quite a bit to be closer to average.
Uncle Lew, if you are reading this… Please consider changes similar to what ML suggested here. Thank you!