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View Full Version : Will US Cellular Field be as high-powered as last year?


MRKARNO
03-06-2005, 11:00 PM
One of the biggest stories to emerge from the White Sox in the 2004 season was the emergence of US Cellular Field as one of the top parks in baseball for yielding runs. The split between the home and road stats of White Sox players is exempified in Paul Konerko and Mark Buehrle. Konerko had a 1.079 OPS at home and a .708 OPS on the road. Buehrle, on the other hand, had a 5.02 ERA at home and a 2.63 ERA on the road. Konerko was Albert Pujols at home and Joe Crede on the road. Conversely, Buehrle was Ismael Valdez at home and Johan Santana on the road (yes the splits on these two players were really that big!).

The prevailing theory that has been proposed is that the changes in the Upper Deck changed the wind flow patterns. But correlation dioes not always indicate causation. Is this really the only thing that can explain the increased homers at the Cell last year? Kenny Williams has indicated in the past that the roof was not supposed to change the wind flows at all.

Wrigley Field, our favorite ballpark, has traditionally played as a pitcher's park, but last year, it too played as a hitters park. Moises Alou did the same thing that Konerko did, posting a 1.120 OPS at home and a .716 OPS on the road. I can guarentee everyone here that Wrigley Field did not change at all over the course of the 2003-2004 offseason, but it seemed to do the same thing that US Cellular Field did in 2004, becoming an extreme hitter's park.

I think a better explanation, in light of this evidence, is that the increased number of homers in Chicago in 2004 had more to do with the weather experienced over the course of the season than any changes in the ballpark. Hence, the homers on both sides of town will decrease and the pitching will improve. US Cellular Field will go back to being a reasonable hitter's park instead of the ridiculously extreme park that we had in 2004.

What does everyone think?

BridgePortNative
03-06-2005, 11:08 PM
IMO, with the FUNdementals deck being built, it will bring some wind from the lake, blowing the ball down.

ChiWhiteSox1337
03-06-2005, 11:09 PM
I think it had to do with the weather more than anything. In early June last year, the White Sox and Phillies combined for 13(?) HRs in one game. The weather that night was in the 90s. I know one game doesn't make up a season, but I just remember that game because I was at that specific game. The Cell has always been a hitters ballpark, but I don't think people will be calling it Coors Field of the AL in 2005..

Ol' No. 2
03-06-2005, 11:13 PM
One of the biggest stories to emerge from the White Sox in the 2004 season was the emergence of US Cellular Field as one of the top parks in baseball for yielding runs. The split between the home and road stats of White Sox players is exempified in Paul Konerko and Mark Buehrle. Konerko had a 1.079 OPS at home and a .708 OPS on the road. Buehrle, on the other hand, had a 5.02 ERA at home and a 2.63 ERA on the road. Konerko was Albert Pujols at home and Joe Crede on the road. Conversely, Buehrle was Ismael Valdez at home and Johan Santana on the road (yes the splits on these two players were really that big!).

The prevailing theory that has been proposed is that the changes in the Upper Deck changed the wind flow patterns. But correlation dioes not always indicate causation. Is this really the only thing that can explain the increased homers at the Cell last year? Kenny Williams has indicated in the past that the roof was not supposed to change the wind flows at all.

Wrigley Field, our favorite ballpark, has traditionally played as a pitcher's park, but last year, it too played as a hitters park. Moises Alou did the same thing that Konerko did, posting a 1.120 OPS at home and a .716 OPS on the road. I can guarentee everyone here that Wrigley Field did not change at all over the course of the 2003-2004 offseason, but it seemed to do the same thing that US Cellular Field did in 2004, becoming an extreme hitter's park.

I think a better explanation, in light of this evidence, is that the increased number of homers in Chicago in 2004 had more to do with the weather experienced over the course of the season than any changes in the ballpark. Hence, the homers on both sides of town will decrease and the pitching will improve. US Cellular Field will go back to being a reasonable hitter's park instead of the ridiculously extreme park that we had in 2004.

What does everyone think?
One thing that you could clearly see that was different last year was that there wasn't the swirling winds in the outfield corners that there used to be. Before last year you would see trash accumulate in the corners and swirl around, sometimes coming back almost all the way to 1st or 3rd base. That wasn't happening last year. I think there was definately a difference caused by the new roof. Whether it accounted for ALL the additional HR is anybody's guess. 2003 was a very cold spring and early summer. I recall going to games in mid-June with a heavy coat. One year is obviously not a big enough sample size to draw firm conclusions.

santo=dorf
03-06-2005, 11:39 PM
After seeing some of the cheapest homers hit in the history of the MLB last season, I don't really see why the ballpark wouldn't play the same as it did last year even with the Fundamentals deck.

StillMissOzzie
03-06-2005, 11:43 PM
IMHO, it's not only the new roof, but all the glass blocks that sealed up all of the flow-through ventilation in the upper deck. I think that they helped turn the wind back around- that is incoming from LF turned into outgoing toward RF, and vice-versa. We know that the Sox are expected to be down on HR's for 2005, but it will be interesting to see how the visitors fare.

SMO
:gulp:

FightingBillini
03-06-2005, 11:48 PM
I can guarentee everyone here that Wrigley Field did not change at all over the course of the 2003-2004 offseason, but it seemed to do the same thing that US Cellular Field did in 2004, becoming an extreme hitter's park.
Maybe the rows of seats they added between the dugouts changed the wind directions

MRKARNO
03-06-2005, 11:59 PM
I just want to throw in one more piece of evidence to support my assertion. In April and May, White Sox pitching was doing just fine, but starting in June, it got worse (http://www.baseball-ref.com/teams/CHW/2004_sched.shtml):

April 100
May 111
June 146
July 122
August 179
September 161
October 12

Remember in April/Early-May there was a stretch where we played 15 of 18 at home, so it's not just that we weren't playing as many games at home.

MeanFish
03-07-2005, 12:00 AM
IMHO, it's not only the new roof, but all the glass blocks that sealed up all of the flow-through ventilation in the upper deck. I think that they helped turn the wind back around- that is incoming from LF turned into outgoing toward RF, and vice-versa. We know that the Sox are expected to be down on HR's for 2005, but it will be interesting to see how the visitors fare.

SMO
:gulp:

Equally interesting will be how two former cornerstones of our power-hitting lineup fare in more pitcher friendly ballparks like Miller and Comerica. If our park really does have a profound effect on power numbers, then a logical conclusion would be a decline in their HR count this coming season.

Also, with a lineup more committed to small ball, even if the park were to remain a hitters paradise, the numbers wouldn't register so extremely as such simply because there will be less flyballs to the outfield if we're primarily hitting grounders and bunting with a third of the lineup.

FightingBillini
03-07-2005, 12:12 AM
Equally interesting will be how two former cornerstones of our power-hitting lineup fare in more pitcher friendly ballparks like Miller and Comerica. If our park really does have a profound effect on power numbers, then a logical conclusion would be a decline in their HR count this coming season.


Well, Magglio only hit 9 homers in 52 games, so we couldn't tell anything by his 2004 performance, anyway. As for Lee, last year he only hit 3 more homers at home than on the road.

Cubbiesuck13
03-07-2005, 02:21 AM
The average wind direction (from Midway Airport) last year: April- S, May-NNE, June-SSW, July-SW, Aug-SW, Sept-S

Closest place I could find was Midway. What direction does the park face?


I always thought Wrigley was more of a hitters park. Did anyone else think this?

chisox06
03-07-2005, 02:25 AM
I always thought Wrigley was more of a hitters park. Did anyone else think this?

It always has been, with the exception of last year. Im gonna have to with the roof until Im proven otherwise, which we'll find out this year even though all our power is gone anyways in an attempt to reduce payroll.

MUsoxfan
03-07-2005, 02:26 AM
The average wind direction (from Midway Airport) last year: April- S, May-NNE, June-SSW, July-SW, Aug-SW, Sept-S

Closest place I could find was Midway. What direction does the park face?


I always thought Wrigley was more of a hitters park. Did anyone else think this?

Park faces S-SE. Wrigley is much lower and the wind blows through the building as opposed to over it. Now Wrigley and and the Cell are the same type of park if the wind blows

Parrothead
03-07-2005, 07:31 AM
Total hrs in the park will be down this year due to the makeup of the Sox. The thing to watch is the oppenents hrs. That will be the test of the park.

Cubbiesuck13
03-07-2005, 07:46 AM
Park faces S-SE. Wrigley is much lower and the wind blows through the building as opposed to over it. Now Wrigley and and the Cell are the same type of park if the wind blows

What way does Wrigley face?

Cubbiesuck13
03-07-2005, 07:49 AM
Total hrs in the park will be down this year due to the makeup of the Sox. The thing to watch is the oppenents hrs. That will be the test of the park.

I think homers over all will be down about the league so I guess you have to factor in what percent that it decreases, if it does.

RedHeadPaleHoser
03-07-2005, 01:42 PM
I think it had to do with the weather more than anything. In early June last year, the White Sox and Phillies combined for 13(?) HRs in one game. The weather that night was in the 90s. I know one game doesn't make up a season, but I just remember that game because I was at that specific game. The Cell has always been a hitters ballpark, but I don't think people will be calling it Coors Field of the AL in 2005..

I was at that game also...the air was thick but the ball was flying.

daveeym
03-07-2005, 02:21 PM
What way does Wrigley face? home plate is on the Southwest corner and center is northeast. Wrigley being a true hitter's park is actually somewhat of a myth thanks to Dawson and his "wind's blowing out" commercials. It's true when it's blowing out that the ball flies out of there but they've done the research on it and the wind typically blows in more than it does out over a full season and tends to make it actually a bit of a pitchers park.