Why do MLB parks have different dimensions?

Camden Yards
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Earlier today, Major League Baseball announced that its official YouTube channel would be home to a handful of new shows. They are: Quick Question, Stack’d, Fitted, Newlybros, The Tryout, and The Blueprint. Here’s a description of those shows from MLB’s press release:

 

  • Quick Question: Takes a closer look at common customs and situations found in baseball through experts and animation.
  • Stack’d: Players answer personal questions and perform special challenges all while testing their tower-building skills with over-sized wooden blocks. The show is hosted by MLB Youth Ambassador and acclaimed softball player, Lauren Chamberlain.
  • Fitted: The tradition of a veteran player taking a rookie suit shopping is on full display as teammates talk baseball, fashion and life. The debut episode features Oakland’s Marcus Semien and Jesús Luzardo.
  • Newlybros: MLB stars who are close friends, either through childhood, in the Minors or as Major League teammates, are put to the test through this adaptation of the popular game show.
  • The Tryout: Celebrities and athletes who have always wanted to have a shot at the Majors see if they have what it takes with the help and coaching of a current MLB star. The first episode features Cubs superstar Javy Báez and Puerto Rican recording artist and song-writer Residente.
  • The Blueprint: Each championship team is built with a collection of draft picks, trades, and free agent acquisitions that lead to success on the field.  This show explores the moves that made winners out of teams like the 2019 Nationals, 2016 Cubs, and 2010/2012/2014 Giants.

Quick Question released a video today titled, “Why do all MLB ballparks have different dimensions?” Historical information is provided from official MLB historian John Thorn and current Dodgers senior vice president of planning and development Janet Marie Smith. It’s a very interesting and informative video and, if it’s indicative of what’s to come, will be quite valuable to fans looking for something to scratch the baseball itch.

Having grown up in the Philly area, I went to Veteran’s Stadium more than a handful of times. While there’s rarely a dull moment watching a live sporting event in Philadelphia, Veteran’s Stadium was one of those “ashtray” stadiums referred to in the video: multipurpose stadiums with nearly identical dimensions as other “ashtrays.” The field was also covered in Astroturf which was on top of concrete, which led to numerous injuries. Some even surmise that the chemicals used in the turf led to the glioblastomas that claimed the lives of Darren Daulton, John Vukovich, and Tug McGraw, among others. Citizens Bank Park was a necessary upgrade. Surprisingly, only eight teams have gotten new stadiums since Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004. But many of them, like the Phillies’ home park itself, borrowed many concepts from Camden Yards, the first park to truly break the “ashtray” mold back in 1992.

These newer parks, like Camden Yards and CBP hearken back to the ballparks in the early 1900’s. As Thorn said, they were “a breath of fresh air by being a breath of stale air.” Nowadays, though, most of the league’s look the same again. On the macro scale, there are plenty of similarities between Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, PNC Park, Comerica Park, and many others. At some point, another ballpark revolution will take place. One wonders what that might look like. Retractable roofs? A return to domes?

 

Swanson, Olson go deep vs Scherzer, Braves take NL East lead

atlanta braves
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ATLANTA — Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson homered off Max Scherzer, lifting the Atlanta Braves to a crucial 4-2 victory Saturday night over the New York Mets and a one-game lead in the NL East.

The defending World Series champions beat aces Jacob deGrom and Scherzer on consecutive nights to take their biggest lead of the season in the division. New York, which held a 10 1/2-game cushion on June 1, faces its biggest deficit of the year with four games remaining.

Atlanta will try for a three-game sweep Sunday night, with the winner earning the season-series tiebreaker between the teams. Even though both teams are headed to the postseason, that’s important because the NL East champion gets a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Swanson’s 24th homer, a go-ahead, two-run shot in the fifth inning, touched off a frenzy among the sold-out crowd at Truist Park, the ball sailing a few rows up into the seats in left-center to make it 3-2. Olson hit his 32nd homer in the sixth, a solo shot into Chop House seats in right to put Atlanta up 4-2.

Austin Riley led off the fourth with a double and scored on Olson’s single to make it 1-all.

Kyle Wright (21-5) gave up two runs and seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts in five innings as he won his eighth straight decision. The Braves have won 16 of his last 17 starts.

New York went up 2-1 in the fifth when Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil hit consecutive two-out singles.

The Mets led 1-0 in the first when Brandon Nimmo singled, advanced on a walk and a single and scored on Eduardo Escobar‘s groundout. Wright, who threw 30 pitches in the first, stranded two runners in scoring position to prevent further damage.

Scherzer (11-5) allowed a first-inning single to Riley and a third-inning infield single to Ronald Acuna Jr., who advanced to third on a fielding error by Lindor at shortstop but was stranded when Michael Harris II lined out to center. Scherzer patted his glove and pumped his fist as he walked off the mound.

Scherzer was charged with nine hits and four runs with no walks and four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings as the Mets were knocked out of first place for only the third day all season.

The Braves have won five of the last six against New York to tie the season series 9-all, outscoring the Mets 37-16 over that stretch.

Atlanta’s bullpen, which posted a 1.70 ERA in September, got a perfect inning from Dylan Lee in the sixth. Jesse Chavez faced four batters in the seventh, Raisel Iglesias faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for his NL-leading 39th save in 46 chances.

Since the Braves were a season low-tying four games under .500 at 23-27 after play on May 31, they have gone 76-32, tying the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in the majors over that span. They were a season-worst 10 1/2 games behind the first-place Mets on June 1.

Wright, the only 20-game winner in baseball this season, hasn’t officially become the first Braves pitcher to lead the league in wins outright since Russ Ortiz had 21 in 2003, but the Dodgers’ Julio Urias has 17 and can’t reach 20 before the regular season ends.

Wright will become the first Braves pitcher since Hall of Famer Tom Glavine in 2000 to lead the majors in wins. Houston ace Justin Verlander also has 17.

Wright began the game 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA in six career starts and one relief appearance against the Mets.

The Braves, who got homers from Riley, Olson and Swanson off deGrom on Friday, lead the NL with 240 homers.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: All-Star RF Starling Marte (right middle finger fracture) has yet to begin swinging or throwing. Manager Buck Showalter said Marte is experiencing less pain but not enough to take the next step in his recovery. Marte has been sidelined since Sept. 7.

Braves: RHP Spencer Strider still has not thrown as he gets treatment on a sore left oblique. Manager Brian Snitker said there is no timetable for the rookie’s return. Strider has been sidelined since Sept. 21.

NICE GLOVE

Harris ran back and jumped to catch Nimmo’s fly against the wall in center field for the first out of the third.

UP NEXT

Mets RHP Chris Bassitt (15-8, 3.27 ERA) will face RHP Charlie Morton (9-6, 4.29) as the teams conclude a three-game series.