The World Baseball Classic and Spring Training are now upon us! Time seems to be moving slower the closer we get, and we could not be more excited to receive our final product. I’m sure many of you have looked through the cards on our database. Recently we added stadium cards to the database as well. This week we take a closer look at what went into the creation of these “home field advantage” cards.
I’ll start with Boston Park. Let’s make it clear that “stadium cards” apply to both teams. We have done everything we can to balance our game both both players. Now, we all know about the famous 35+ foot left-field wall. Some players complain they lose extra-base hits off the wall, and others complain that some of these fly balls could have been caught at larger stadium elsewhere. Here at Clutch Baseball we are passionate statistic freaks. Are we sabermetricians? No, but we wouldn’t be able to construct a simple and fun game using such advanced statistics. Did you know that Boston Park had the highest rate of doubles in 2016? Actually, Boston Park has lead all major league stadiums in doubles in 10 of the last 14 years (the other 4 years it usually finished 2nd to Colorado). This stadium card only works when right-handed batters are up, or when switch-hitters are facing a lefty. The “2B 1 number lower” means if Mookie Betts normally doubles on a 16, now he will double on a 15. Boston Batters: 1 additional number lower, means Betts will now double on a 14. I’ll repeat again, this applies for Boston batters from each team. So this home field advantage doesn’t necessarily give you a powerful advantage over an opponent, but it gives you a chance to build your team around it.
What about the stadiums that don’t really lead in any category? This is where we got creative. Let’s take Oakland Stadium for example. The first obvious thing that comes to mind, besides doubling as a football field, is the large foul territory this stadium has. Oakland was tied for the 4th worst record last year, and the stadium was the 3rd lowest in runs scored. You could argue the poor team is why so little runs were scored, but I’m sure any major leaguer will tell you that they had a few at bats taken from them (balls caught in play that would have been foul elsewhere). There may not be any Oakland batters you want now (Rajai Davis is their highest valued player at 290 salary), but expansion sets, and future plans for legendary players may change your mind. If you’re asking yourself “why anyone would ever play this stadium?”, try shuffling all your stadium cards and randomly selecting one before a game. These unique factors make for interesting gameplay!
Lastly, look no further than New York (A) Stadium if you’re looking for home runs. This is an obvious one. Every year “the house that the boss built” always ranks as one of the top home run hitting stadiums. Last year it led the entire league. New York Stadium is known for its short porch in right field, which is exactly why lefties (and switch against righties) home run one lowe
r. When creating one of my first teams, I used nearly an entire lineup alternating between lefties and switch hitters. Additionally, I stacked 4 lefties in my starting rotation. Yes, this brought my newfound rival Chris Sale to the Bronx with me. I’ll just have to remember to avoid the retro-jersey nights.
We realize there are many different unique factors to all stadiums/parks, which gives us the opportunity to keep the stadium cards somewhat fresh from year to year. Check out our stadium cards in the database, and see if you can guess how each stadium card was created.