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Venturing into Foul Territory
2005-03-16
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

In the Baseball Analysts National League West roundtable today, I said the following:

I don't expect a significant jump in runs per game because of the shrunken foul territory in Dodger Stadium. This is very oversimplified reasoning, but...I would guess that a given Dodger Stadium game will lose no more than three outs per game on average because of the foul territory. I haven't checked how many foul popouts per game have been recorded at Dodger Stadium, but I can't imagine it's much more than this. The percentage of those outs becoming baserunners should be what, maybe 30 percent (keeping in mind that the batter will have at least one strike on him when he returns to the plate). So one extra baserunner a game? Even if it's sometimes a home run, what impact is that really going to have over the long haul?

At The Fourth Outfielder, Tom Meagher took this foul ball and ran with it - all the way to some actual statistical analysis, as opposed to off-the-cuff musing. (And when you think about it, where else would you position a fourth outfielder but foul ground?)

You can follow the link to see how he gets to this conclusion: The decreased foul territory in Dodger Stadium will yield an estimated extra run every six games, and only two extra pitches per game. In other words, not much.

Comments
2005-03-16 16:27:20
1.   Marty
I agree with all the analysis that over time, it won't make much difference. But you know, as a true Dodger-paranoid, that there will come a time in a crucial game that someone will foul off a pitch that would have been caught last year, then drill the next one to beat us.
2005-03-16 17:10:34
2.   Jim Hitchcock
At least we can finally say we survived the rubber foulball era with no broken legs and/or ruined careers.
2005-03-17 07:40:59
3.   Colorado Blue
C'mon Marty... drink the kool-aid; it tastes fine!
2005-03-17 10:05:14
4.   Mark
(And when you think about it, where else would you position a fourth outfielder but foul ground?)

Please let this be sarcasm.

2005-03-17 11:53:52
5.   scareduck
That's 82/6 = 13.6 runs per season, or about a win per year.
2005-03-18 02:16:29
6.   Tom Meagher
No, a difference of 13 runs is ~a win. There is no run difference here! Both teams get to bat! Aaaaagh!

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