From Patrick Dubuque at Baseball Prospectus on February 24, 2020:
Very little of baseball is ours, as fans, anymore. It was never really ours to begin with: We took this thing that we loved, made consumption of it a part of who we were, and cast our money and loyalties at the brands. We have all always been consumers first. But what made sports different wasn’t the laundry, but the name printed on it, the names of our cities. Baseball existed because we observed it, surrounded it and filled it with life, channeled our wills upon our heroes and inspired them to perform their heroism for us.
It was a wonderful lie. Our vitality as chorus was always an overrated element of the transaction. The home team wins 54 percent of the time, the lowest mark of all the major American sports. If anything, that number appears to be trending toward 53.
For such a static and demonstrable effect, the causes of home field advantage have long been a popular source of conjecture. There’s the strategic benefit of batting second, and of having more information at one’s disposal; there’s the familiarity with the field, the walls, and even the air; there’s the comfort of the home-cooked meal and the long night’s rest. But the consensus on a century’s research is that umpiring, and the effect of the crowd on umpiring, dominates all other causes. It’s the primary reason why home in baseball provides so little advantage, because the effects of umpire variability are so limited compared to the foul calls of the NBA ref or the game-changing spot foul of NFL’s pass interference.
Read the full article here: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/57266/cold-takes-making-home-field-more-advantageous/
Originally published: February 24, 2020. Last Updated: February 24, 2020.