Home Field Advantage In Baseball…Does It Exist?

Home field advantage. A term usually reserved for football and basketball. If does not come into play very often in baseball. While some teams tend to play better at home is it often result of comfort level and a matter of routine. Not a result of intimidation, the crowd or the elements.

This might be because most ballparks these days are built to shield away such advantages in favor of providing the creature comforts of home to those in attendance. Warm weather cities such as Houston, Arizona and Tampa play in domes. While other cities like Milwaukee and Philly play in modern day softball parks where on the right day the ball flies out with ease. See game 5 of the NLCS for example.

No, few baseball teams set up there parks to give them and them alone the advantage like the Packers and Lambeau Field, Soldier Field and the Bears or even Cameron Indoor Stadium where the Duke Blue Devils play. The fans are in your face and so are the elements. For the teams playing half of their games in this kind of environment.

For those coming to visit they have to prepare for more than just the team they will be playing, but the where as well. While the physical game is the same the mental game can be vastly different and affect the physical game if not prepared properly.

Back to baseball. While the Texas Rangers played 81 of their regular season games on the road, winning 44 of them and 4 of their playoff games, going 3 &1, the majority of these games were played over the summer and in LA, Oakland, Seattle and Tampa for the most part. The other 85 were played in the hostile confines of Arlington, TX.

The Texas Rangers have yet to play in an environment like St. Louis in October. I am not referring to the wonderful group of fans that make up Cardinal Nation. Nor am I talking about Busch Stadium itself. No, I am talking about 50 degree temperatures at game time. Mist, Rain, hell who knows snow is never out of the possibility here in October.

Last year’s World Series road games took the Rangers to San Francisco, where it can get cold but not October in St. Louis cold. We say just how nasty in can get back in 2006 when Detroit came to town and when the Cardinals ventured up north. But this is different. Texas is not accustomed to playing in rally any kind of elements other than heat. And that will not be in play starting today.

This is the football equivalent of a dome team heading up to Green Bay for a road game in November. The Cardinals play in these conditions in both April (unfortunately) and October. The cold can affect the reflexes, the grip of the bat and ones state of mind. I welcome the cold and so should the Cardinals.

Home field advantage in baseball?….sure, so long as it’s October in St. Louis.

As always these are just my thoughts…keep on reading and you’ll get up to speed.

Derek is on Twitter @SportsbyWeeze and also writes for the Rams at RamsHerd.com

Also on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SportsByWeeze

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