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The Rays are 12-1 at home this season. Where does their home-field advantage come from?

While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audiencesend us your suggestion.

What is it about Tropicana Field that makes the Rays so successful at home? Nate looked at the origins of home-field advantage and made some interesting discoveries about domes in the article reproduced below, which originally ran as a "Lies, Damned Lies" column on June 29, 2008
 


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December 3, 2010 9:00 am

Ahead in the Count: Home Sweet Home Advantage

22

Matt Swartz

Why are home teams winning more now than in previous eras?

When I wrote my five-part series on home-field advantage in 2009, I noticed that it had been steady at about 54 percent for over half a century. It was 53.9 percent in the 1950s, 54.0 percent in the ‘60s, 53.8 percent in the ‘70s, 54.1 percent in the ’80s, 53.5 percent in the ‘90s, and 54.2 percent in the 2000s. However, in the last three years, we have seen home teams win 55.5 percent of the 7,288 games played, a very statistically significant difference. Does this suggest that a large change has actually taken place, or is it just a coincidence? If a change has taken place, what is causing it?

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October 6, 2010 8:00 am

On the Beat: Coming Full Circle

1

John Perrotto

Josh Hamilton makes his post-season debut today in a place he once thought he would call home.

Josh Hamilton's comeback story has landed him in the postseason. He will be in the starting lineup this afternoon in center field for the Rangers as they open their American League Division Series against the Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.

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September 20, 2010 8:00 am

Prospectus Perspective: How Important is the AL East Title?

9

Ben Lindbergh

Should the Yankees and Rays pull out all the stops in order to win the division and potentially gain home-field advantage in the ALDS and ALCS?

Over the next four nights, the battle for the American League East will rage in the Bronx, as the Yankees host the Rays for the teams’ final head-to-head confrontations of the regular season. Scant daylight separates the two clubs in the standings, as the Rays enter the (Evil) Empire State trailing the division-leading Bombers by just a half-game, and tied in the loss column. That may sound like a pressure-packed scenario, but at this point in the season, it’s safe to say that each team has become accustomed to hearing the other’s footsteps:

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February 7, 2010 12:10 pm

On the Beat: Righting The Ship

15

John Perrotto

The Pirates believe the beginning stages of their latest youth movement have the woebegone franchise heading in the right direction.

Manager John Russell was chatting with a fan during the Pirates' annual winter promotional caravan recently when he was asked a rather simple question that still gave him reason to pause.

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The new Yankeee Stadium has received a lot of press this spring for the large number of homeruns hit there so far. On April 21, 2009, Buster Olney wrote at ESPN http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4080195 "The New York Yankees might have a serious problem on their hands: Beautiful new Yankee Stadium appears to be a veritable wind tunnel that is rocketing balls over the fences...including 17 in the first three games in the Yankees' first home series against the Indians. That's an average of five home runs per game and, at this pace, there would be about 400 homers hit in the park this year -- or an increase of about 250 percent. In the last year of old Yankee Stadium, in 2008, there were a total of 160 homers."

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October 18, 2008 1:04 pm

On the Beat: Home-Field Advantage

3

John Perrotto

Maybe the Rays have the Red Sox right where they want them.

ST. PETERSBURG-Just down I-275 from Tropicana Field is the Sunshine State Skyway, a 5½-mile stretch that connects St. Petersburg and Palmetto that includes causeways, a bridge that reaches a height of 193 feet, and a spectacular view of the Gulf of Mexico. There were no Rays leaping off of the bridge early Friday morning after their charter flight arrived from Boston. The thought never even crossed their minds, despite blowing a 7-0 seventh-inning lead and a chance to wrap up the American League Championship Series on Thursday night when the Red Sox rallied for a memorable 8-7 victory in Game Five at Fenway Park. It was the second-largest comeback in post-season history, behind the Cubs' 10-8 victory over the Athletics in Game Four of the 1929 World Series after trailing 8-0.

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August 31, 2008 11:55 am

Every Given Sunday: Moving Forward to Rewind

3

John Perrotto

Enter instant replay, bad blood between the Mets and Phillies (and Brewers and Cards), plus news and notes from around the game.

Instant replay is here, although it's yet to be used after the first three days of being available to help umpires on home-run calls. While video may have killed the radio star, it is not expected to kill off the men in blue. Commissioner Bud Selig has made it clear that replay will not extend beyond boundary calls on homers, but even in its limited form, replay is stirring debate around the major leagues. Everyone has an opinion; people either love it or hate it, with seemingly no one standing on middle ground.

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March 13, 2008 12:00 am

Prospectus Hit and Run: Running Afoul

0

Jay Jaffe

Has the perceived decrease in foul territory brought by the new stadium boom contributed to the surge in home runs over the past two decades?

Last time around, after discussing how the baseball itself may have changed in a manner that helped to boost home run rates over the past two decades, I took a look at the myth of the shrinking ballpark. To recap, the notion that the stadium construction boom that's taken place over the past 20 years has left us with a game full of bandboxes is actually a false one, at least when it comes to fence distances:

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Ranging across a couple of old and new themes, explaining that there's something about the weather, and Pythagoras can rock steady.

"All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism."
--Unknown


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April 13, 2007 12:00 am

Prospectus Matchups: The Masses Rejoice!

0

Jim Baker

Jim has the results of his reader architecture poll, with a few surprising results, and a few not-so-surprising ones.

Today we're presenting the results of the sports venue architecture poll that was introduced in my column of March 16. I asked would-be participants to rank--from an architectural standpoint--their favorite existing sports venues (not just baseball), their favorite defunct or no-longer-extant venues, as well as their least favorite. For the favorite poll, points were given on a 7-5-3-2-1 basis. For the other two, it was 5-3-1. The point totals are in parentheses after the venue's name. Thanks to all of you who took the time to fill out a ballot.

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August 16, 2004 12:00 am

How Parks Affect Baserunning

0

James Click

Baseball teams show a consistent home-field advantage each season, with homer teams playing about .540 ball. Is that edge due to home teams doing a better job of taking the extra base thanks to familiarity with their environment? James Click breaks it down.

The source of this advantage is unknown. It's been suggested that local knowledge, how to hit or pitch better in a team's more familiar home park, is the key. Perhaps some of the home team's advantage lies in knowing the nuances of their particular ballpark, but applied in a different area. It's possible that home teams may be better baserunners, knowing better than their opponents which balls will allow them to take the extra base.

Before getting into whether or not a baserunning advantage is the result of a particular park, it's important to first establish that parks do affect the baserunning in a consistent manner from year to year. To determine if park factors for baserunning do exist, I'll look at three typical baserunning situations where the runner is faced with the choice to take the extra base or not: a runner on first during a single, a runner on first during a double, and a runner on second during a single. There are three possible outcomes to each baserunning event: the runner can take the base he's supposed to, the runner can take the extra base or the runner can be thrown out.

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