Sullivan: The most difficult homer in baseball

From Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs on February 5, 2016:

It seems to me there are two ways of thinking about things. Baseball, as you know, is the one major sport where the playing dimensions between venues can be wildly different. Given that, I think you can either prefer neutrality and standardization, or you can choose to embrace the differences. There are limits to the latter — I don’t think anyone wants to see a stadium that makes a mockery of the contest, because you don’t have reasonable competition. But we haven’t gotten to the mockery point. So, personally, I like the quirks, even if they seem occasionally unfair.

Focus on that unfairness for a moment. If something were simply too unfair, it wouldn’t work. Fans wouldn’t support it. You couldn’t play a real baseball game with fences right behind the infield because the product wouldn’t be recognizable. I think there are certain features, currently, that approach the threshold without crossing it. Like, left field in Minute Maid Park approaches the line, because it yields a number of pretty weak home runs. It’s true, but without being out of control. On the opposite side of things, there’s straightaway center field in Minute Maid Park. If you want to conquer that, as a hitter, you have to hit the most difficult homer in baseball.

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Originally published: February 5, 2016. Last Updated: February 5, 2016.