DESIGNING A QUIRKY STADIUM. I posted here last fall about the Minnesota Twins moving out of the Metrodome, their old stadium, which was considered to provide the biggest home field advantage in baseball. This Sports Illustrated article by Sky Andrecheck, posted at the beginning of the 2010 season, said that “[M]any are wondering whether Target Field [the new Minnesota Twin stadium] can match the advantage that the Metrodome provided the Twins.” Andrecheck pointed out that there is always a home-field advantage in baseball and estimated that it on average an 80 point wing; that is, a .500 team ( a team that wins half its games) will win at a .540 rate at home and a .460 rate on the road. The Twins had a 100 point advantage over the 28-year history of the Metrodome, equal to an estimated additional 1.6 wins a year. Not that big a difference, but Andrecheck points out that it suggests that, except for the Metrodome, the Tigers rather than the Twins would have won the Central Division in 2009. Andrecheck’s research shows that three factors that enter into a park providing a home team advantage are having a dome, being a good doubles park, and being “quirky.” The Metrodome was “quirky” with spongy turf, the unusual “baggy” right field wall, and the white dome ceiling which made it hard to follow fly balls. Quirkiness helps the home team because as Andrecheck says, “The Metrodome’s unusual features helped the Twins at home because Minnesota’s players acclimated to the difficult roof conditions and bouncy turf.” What would the new Target stadium be like? Writing in April, Andrecheck thought that the stadium followed the “same formulaic pattern” of other modern stadiums and praised the Twins for not building “another odd park with bizarre features to give the home team a slight advantage.”

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