Today’s Enquirer contains the following note:

LONG BALL: Great American Ball Park, so far this season, is the most home run-friendly park in Major League Baseball.

Entering the game Friday night, according to STATS Inc., there were 23.53 at-bats per home run at Great American. Ameriquest Field, home of the Texas Rangers, was second at 23.95.

RFK Stadium, home of the Washington Nationals, has been the most difficult place to homer. There have been 62.36 at-bats per home run.

I couldn’t help but immediately wonder how informative this information actually was. I can only assume that the above numbers include the home team, which means that the home team provides half of the sample for the statistic. It appears obvious that these numbers would be highly skewed to lean towards the makeup of the home team. Which in the Red’s case, we have a power laden offensive team, and a porous pitching staff prone to allowing the gopher ball. So are these numbers the result of the makeup of the Reds ballclub, or are the Reds numbers a result of the park effects? I would tend to believe the former would be the case. I propose that these numbers would be much more informative if they were derived from only the visiting teams numbers.

6 Responses

  1. DevilsAdvocate has a page that tracks park factors for individual types of events – homeruns, doubles, walks, runs, etc. It tracks these things responsibly, because it compares the home team’s numbers at home to their numbers away, and their opponents’ numbers in both locations – comparing apples to apples, instead of the Reds juggernaut offense to the Nationals’ ineptitude.

    Unfortunately the ESPN page has been unreliable for a while now – sorting by different years and categories produces different numbers, which makes the whole thing untrustworthy in terms of accuracy.

    However, it seems to show that GABP has a positive influence on home runs, but is 7th of 30 stadiums – far behind Citizens Bank Park (Phillies), US Cellular Field (White Sox), and Miller Park (Brewers), among others. Ahead of Coors Field (Rockies) and Minute Maid Park (Astros), so far this year anyway.

  2. Chris

    Tom, you’re right – this information is essentially useless (except as it tells us the Reds’ pitchers stink). This is exactly NOT the way to calculate park effects. The version the Advocate describes is the right way.

  3. Jim McCullough

    Did the Reds ever resolve the problem with the pitcher’s mound or did people just get tired of complaining about it?

  4. Tom

    This issue popped up in the Castrovince Mailbag on the MLB site today and contained the following information:

    Reds pitchers have given up 75 home runs over the course of 50 home games, an average of 1.5 per game. On the road, they’ve given up 59 home runs over 42 games, an average of 1.4 per game. Not much of a difference at all.

    But if home runs aren’t your main focus, consider ERA. Reds pitchers have compiled a 6.08 ERA on the road and a 5.16 mark at home.

    The numbers don’t lie. Don’t blame the park. Blame the arms.

    As expected, the pitching just reeks, GAB isn’t as homer friendly as they tried to make it sound.


  5. Pinski

    Don’t look at ERA, look at RA. ERA is flawed by official scorers.
    Second, park effects affect different types of pitchers, differently. Flyball pitchers were markedly worse last year. (about 1 run worse), the others were basically the same (small sample size).
    Now I understand that was last year and there isn’t enough of a sample size to make a strong conclusion. However it is evidence that flyball pitchers are not good for the park as compared to ground ball pitchers or even nuetral pitchers.