Fans Speak / Joe Mock
Web Tour: Ballparks - List of MLB Ballparks and Stadiums: Alphabetically by Team, League and Year of first season. Seating capacities and field dimensions represent a typical season. Complete for 1998, some data as far back as 1884, including disbanded teams.
I have often heard that the reason that left handed pitchers are referred to as "southpaws" is because the direction they throw/pitch to home is out of the south. The direction the ball travels is northeast to southwest, so a righty throws from the northside and the lefty on the south side.
This seems to imply that all stadiums face the same direction, and that home plate is always in the southwest corner of the ballpark. Is this true for every major league park, past and present? (The batter would run from west to east to get to first base, then run from south to north to get to second, then run east to west to go from second base to third base, then run from north to south to go home from third base.)
Is this true? Please advise. Kudos on your nice webpage
Joe Mock's Response
One of the subparagraphs of rule 1.04 of the Official Rules of Major League Baseball says that it is "desirable that the line from home base through the pitchers plate to second base shall run East-Northeast." Note that it doesn't say that it *has to* run that way, just that it is desirable. The reason for this is obvious: to reduce the problem of the sun being in players' - particularly the batter - eyes. Most pro ballparks do follow this directive, or come pretty close. The one current MLB park that doesn't even come close is (I'm sure you can figure out why they didn't bother to have the field face East-Northeast) the dreadful Metrodome in Minneapolis.
If you want to see the variance in the way the parks of the Majors point, go to this site, and then click on Facts & Figures and go to the Ballpark Orientations page: http://www.ballparks.com/baseball/index.htm . Note how many actually face southeast. The one that really bugs me is Enron, because the setting sun is blinding if you're sitting on the firstbase side.
-- Joe Mock, Webmaster of BASEBALLPARKS.COM and the Grand Slam Mall
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