Considering Steve Balboni holds the record for Kansas City with 36 home runs, it’s always been assumed and argued that Kauffman is a non-home run hitter’s park. I’ve discussed this in great detail (three part series) earlier this season. I don’t believe the reason 36 is the HR record is because of Kauffman. I believe it is because KC has never had a tremendous HR hitter. In fact, as far as I’m concerned, it’s not an opinion, it’s a fact.
If you just read one of these, read Part III
Is the K the hardest place to hit homers? Part I
Is the K the hardest place to hit homers? Part II
Is the K the hardest place to hit homers? Part III
Even so, that doesn’t mean Kauffman doesn’t contribute to fewer home runs. I’d say 25% of the reason is the stadium, 75% is the lack of powerful HR hitters.
Since the All-Star game is tonight at Kauffman, I thought it would be interesting to look at something I’ve never looked at before. And, I had to dig to get this.
For a long time, I’ve wondered how many square feet there are in fair territory at Kauffman Stadium or any other stadium for that matter. Nobody ever talks about that, but that’s the holy grail as far as I’m concerned. Sure, some parks have higher fences and are tailor-made for certain hitters and are in hotter climates or indoors or whatever. That’s another issue entirely. I just wanted to know the single most important issue (less Colorado). What is the square footage of the field in play?
I discovered a list done by a very good researcher named Greg Rybarczyk. He calculated all the square footage for each park. Tom Tango, who wrote The Book – Playing the Percentages in Baseball, took Rybarczyk’s square footages and converted them into a consistent radius – meaning how far the fence would be from home plate if it were the same throughout the outfield.
As it turns out, Kauffman Stadium is the second largest. Ironically, the largest is Coors Field where home runs fly out like they were golf balls. That shows what thin air will do.
The only thing that would be better than this list would be to calculate what the average minimum length of a home run would be. That would require factoring in height of fences as well. But, that would be vastly more complicated math. This is good enough for today.
The average distance is 373’ for all stadiums to all fences. I added the percentage above and below (+/-) 373’ for each park. Note: You can’t figure +/- based upon square feet or it will be misleading, but I won’t go into why.
|Feet||+/-||Sq. Feet||Field||Home Team|
|385||+3%||116,473||Kauffman Stadium||Kansas City|
|382||+2%||114,655||Citi Field||N.Y. Mets|
|380||+2%||113,246||Angels Stadium||LA Angels|
|377||+1%||111,741||Busch Stadium||St. Louis|
|376||+1%||110,895||PETCO Park||San Diego|
|375||+1%||110,681||AT&T Park||San Francisco|
|371||-1%||108,160||Wrigley Field||Chicago Cubs|
|370||-1%||107,233||New Yankee Stadium||N.Y. Yankees|
|369||-1%||106,988||Dodger Stadium||LA Dodgers|
|368||-1%||106,430||Minute Maid Park||Houston|
|368||-1%||106,080||Sun Life Stadium||Miami Marlins|
|367||-2%||105,600||Tropicana Field||Tampa Bay|
|366||-2%||105,495||U.S. Cellular Field||Chicago WS|
|365||-2%||104,724||Great American Park||Cincinnati|
|365||-2%||104,644||Citizen’s Bank Park||Philadelphia|
In conjunction with this is a very interesting ESPN Home Run Tracker site which is produced by none other than Greg Rybarczyk. When you go to it, click on “Park Overlays” on the top menu. You can actually overlay one park onto another. If you choose your primary ballpark to be Kauffman, you can overlay any other ball park. It’s quite interesting.
As you can see, the only one that is equivalent to Kauffman is Coor’s Field. On the other hand, if you overlay Progressive Field, it’s 10.4% smaller and that’s significant. But, if you are thinking in terms of how easy it is to hit a home run in Progressive Field versus Kauffman Stadium, you have to factor in that Progressive Field has a 19’ left field wall. The walls in center and right are 8’ – the same as Kauffman in all three fields.
Sports In Review