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?

While we know (thanks to ML) that the answer to the second question is a “colonnade,” the first question has yet to be answered in any sort of educated way. Until now.

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!

22 thoughts on “Have You Heard the One About…

  1. chop off those rf outfield seats to the right of the scoreboard and the distance from hp to the wall will increase by a good 20-25 ft so instead of it being as of now 345 ft, it’ll go up 360-365 at least and you’d think the hrpr # will decrease in the 120-130 range which would put in line with cin’s park which is still very hitter friendly but not the joke that this model has the rf part of the park being. park would actually look like target field with that huge right field wall you’d have to hit the ball over for a hr.

    lf line, also could cut a chunk of seats out, ml mentioned that’s where a potential exit from the field to the street could be placed down in that corner of the park so you could add another 20 or so ft there.

    i don’t mind a hitter friendly park, actually perfer a pitcher friendly park, but hopefully the wall dimensions which would make cisco field a joke of a park are redone. if it’s in line with cin and the redone us cell, i’ll be alright with that.

    remember too the heat in the summer, the ball jumps out of both at&t and the coliseum so you think that it’d do the same in even a hotter environment in sj in a smaller park. that has to be considered.

  2. I doubt MLB will allow a ballpark with those dimensions. The problem is the PG&E station, but that unfortunately is not going anywhere. So the only solution would have to involve moving the RF wall back. Any chance they might be able to reconfigure Autumn Street? Or, taking a page from Bryan Grunswald’s idea, push the RF wall back and build over Autumn street.

  3. they may go for the down the line dimensions, many parks have short porches down the line. Yankee Stadium and AT&T down the right field line, also Minute Maid down the left field line barely are over 300 ft. rf i think they could live with because of the huge wall that balls would have to go over for a hr bu they could change the lf line easy because that that’s the only part of the park imo at this time that could made into having an exit from the field to the streets. is that really a requirement though? looking at target field and yankee stadium, i don’t see any exit from the field to the outside?

    but what they should have an issue with is the 345 in rf/cf as imo that has to change no matter what. i don’t know how they do it other than take down those seats to the right of the scoreboard unless they wanna redesign the whole rf area all together.

  4. Pingback: Cisco Field, Bandbox? « Shane Higginbotham

  5. This totally stinks!! Won’t win consistently that way. I prefer a pitchers park over a hitters park any day. (that’s why the good success at the Coli for over 40 years with all those great pitching staffs). Well, if Cisco is a reality in SJ, I won’t be going to any games anyway, so why should I really care?
    I have a solution? Victory Court. Bigger footprint, bigger yard, true A’s fans attending. The BRC should factor this in their report too.

  6. jk, what is the solution to paying for it at Victory Court?

  7. @Jeffro–not quite sure–it won’t be cheap and is a big undertaking with all the properties on site. Quan supports it and hope she wins mayor and can pull off a miracle if MLB allows Oak to go forward.. This town needs a fricken break for once.

  8. Victory Court: where newscasters forget that Oakland is in the Bay Area

  9. ml – these dimensional bp factors are ridiculous. would it be possible that sj implement the “yellow line’ hr markers way up high to circumvent this? Basically a mini-version of the green monster?

    fc – there was some talk a while back about reconfiguring Autumn St. anyways. If and when Cisco field becomes a reality, i’m sure they will take this into account.

    jk-usa – “tru a’s fan attending”? wouldn’t true fans attend regardless of location?

  10. Wait, Jk. Your answer to the question of how to pay for it was say that you want a certain politician who supports the site to win, so am I to understand that you want it to be publicly funded then?

  11. @fc – from the ballpark tour last weekend, Dennis did in fact indicate that there is some flexibility with regard to the configuration and location of Autumn st. Since the property across the street is designated for a river park, I don’t think moving it out far enough to make the right field porch reasonable would be a problem. That last part is my only my uneducated opinion though.

  12. Just realize wrigley and fenway are towards the bottom of Hit Tracker’s analysis.

    I’ve ALWAYS heard those are two big hitters parks, what gives?

  13. @grizz, remember this is only “Home Run” not all hitting. Fenway’s Left Field is a relatively easy bomb. The rest of the place, not so much. Which makes sense if you look at an over head shot… Right down the line in Fenway the fence shoots straight back. Going from a foul pole distance of 302 feet to 380feet almost immediately.
    Likewise, Wrigley Field has very deep “corner pockets,” both foul poles are over 350 feet from home plate. But in the gaps they are shorter than one would expect, making Left Center a very easy home run, while right center is about average.

  14. The batting park factor is also different from home run park factor in that a big park can actually lead to higher batting averages (as the OF’ers have to play deeper to cover the larger gaps). The most apparent example of this is Forbes Field, which despite being huge (which would make one think that it favored pitchers) never hosted a no-hitter.

    Coors Field, however, has high averages and HR numbers because not only does the altitude lead to more HR’s but the size of the field leads to more singles, doubles, and triples. Cisco wouldn’t have the same effect on batting average (given that it would be smaller than most, rather than larger), but it would on HR’s given its size.

    Weather, heaviness of the air, etc., are also factors other than just field size and wall height.

  15. Interesting analysis and it uncovers some surprising results like the Rangers stadium being league-average for homers. Who knew?

    Some questions: How confident are you that the dimensions in the renderings are exact to a reasonable degree? Is the site plan defined to the point that the A’s are expecting these to be the final dimensions unless significant changes are made? Basically, do we know that a designer producing the graphics didn’t just pick these numbers (for example)?

  16. @Brian and Grizz, for the record Fenway has a BPF of 106 and Wrigley has a BPF of 108 (so they are both batter friendly).
    @Dude, I am fairly confident that the dimensions are close. ML did a piece where he overlayed the stadium design, to scale (it’s linked in the last sentence of the story), and the dimensions are only slightly different down the lines. The other question, how much the A’s believe this is the final design, is really not a question we can answer. Though, from what I have heard I believe that this is the PoR (Plan of record) and as close to ready to go as it gets.

  17. I can stomach a hitter’s park, but not a launching pad. Maybe I’m paranoid, but I have this fear that the A’s will use the “expansion” of the park dimensions as an excuse to build a park with an unnecessarily small capacity. Are 36K seats in a park that plays fair too much to ask for? Why can’t I have my cake and eat it too?

  18. @Dude – When I did the initial analysis I made sure to post a disclaimer saying that these dimensions are speculative and by no means final. When we talked to Greg from Hit Tracker and discussed HRPF internally, I made the call to go forward despite the topic’s speculative nature. If there were ever a pure agenda post on this blog, this is it. We don’t want a bandbox. That’s what this is if it stands.

    That said, there are endless variations on how the ballpark could be sited and configured that could drastically impact field dimensions. The easiest would be to move home plate north 15 feet and lengthen the LF line. That would make the RF corner 311′ and the LF corner 315-325′. They could also rotate the field 5 degrees clockwise/west. Doing that alone would make the RF corner 320′. Remember that AT&T Park was originally oriented ENE (75 deg.) and early on was rotated clockwise so that it was roughly East.

  19. Thorough as usual, thanks. It’s good to hear that modifying the dimensions is a manageable task because I’m with you guys: don’t want some ridiculous bandbox.

  20. Shouldn’t the average to all of the different fields be 100? Or is it assuming that 20% of all HR’s are hit to each field (which is obviously not correct)?

  21. Lew might be on to something here. Just like the Yankees have it with their short porch. The A’s will take it to the next level and have the next Babe Ruth. It doesn’t matter both teams play on the same field.

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