The Ole Ball Game

Why is centerfield always the deepest dimension in any ballpark?

Mentally draw a line, from the left field corner to the right, not much field left in center.

Mentally draw a line, from the left field corner to the right, not much field left in center.

Mentally draw a line, from the left field corner to the right, not much field left in center. Interesting little jog out in right center, probably due to construction restrictions, but makes for a handy mental issue for visiting teams Nice easy roll to the outfield.

Anonymous asked: Why is centerfield always the deepest dimension in any ballpark?



Rick answered: Thank you for your question.


Baseball fields are laid out, starting with home plate.

The infield is a 90'X90' square, which creates both foul lines. Those foul lines are carried out to eventually create a left field and right field dimension.

There is no distance requirement, only a suggested minimum for these right field and left field corners.

Looking at the first image above, it provides a good perspective of what an outfield would look like if centerfield had the same, or smaller dimension than the two corners.

A line drawn across from right field to left field leaves little room in center.

The curvature provided by having a larger dimension for centerfield makes it a safer environment for players, is certainly more visually appealing. The most prominent reason is playability. When you create that arc, power alley's are created, greater amounts of fair territory provide for better defensive and offensive interaction.

All that leads to a more exciting fan experience due to the complexities that distance creates within the game.

Most all MLB parks are somewhat similar in basic shape, although they each can have their own quirks.

The second image above shows a bump out in right center, at AT&T. I believe that bump was created based on the amount of available space there was to build. They built right field out to the bay, which was dictating shapes and distances.

Many stadiums have done similar things due to various factors on their site.

Since a team plays half of their season games at home, franchises often believe that if their stadium is a little quirky, it is an advantage for the home team. Any little edge you can create for your team. One of the things that makes baseball just a little bit different.

Field shapes and differences are certainly a factor, at all levels of baseball, from Little League to MLB.

If it gets inside someone's head, then someone else now has an advantage. The game, inside the game!

Yours in baseball,


Rick



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Jun 10, 2016
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Ditto
by: Dean in SF

I was thinking the same thing as Anonymous. It seems that on a windless day, if you hit a flat 95 MPH fastball to left and then hit one to center with the exact same bat speed and lift, the ball driven to center would travel farther because the path is being redirected by 180 degrees instead of 140.

May 19, 2016
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Ask a physicist.
by: Anonymous

It would be interesting to ask a physicist this question. I always thought that center field had the longest dimensions because that's where the batter's most power exists.

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