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Homemlb

Ranking each MLB ballpark by distance to center field

Profile Picture: Ashley Anderson

February 28th, 2022

Home-field advantage carries a different kind of meaning in Major League Baseball, where no two stadiums are built the same. Unlike football and basketball, where every field or floor measures identical length, baseball stadiums come in all shapes and sizes — some advantageous to the hitter, others to the hurler.

From the towering "Green Monster" at Fenway Park to the open water looming over the right field wall at Oracle Park, baseball outfields boast a variety of unique features and differing dimensions to keep players and fans on their toes.

While the infield and pitcher's mound follow a fairly rigid set of guidelines, the outfield requires only a minimum distance from home plate. Ballparks constructed by professional teams after June 1, 1958 must extend at least 325 feet from home plate to the nearest fence or obstruction on the right- and left-field foul lines, and 400 feet from home plate to the nearest fence or obstruction in center field. Although, some franchises — like the San Diego Padres and the Baltimore Orioles — have been permitted to build shorter parks, so long as they don't egregiously violate the rule.

Let's explore the differences among the homes of all 30 MLB franchises, as we rank each ballpark by distance to center field.

Team
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Stadium
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Distance to center field (feet)
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Arizona Diamondbacks
Chase Field
407
Atlanta Braves
Truist Park
400
Baltimore Orioles
Oriole Park at Camden Yards
410
Boston Red Sox
Fenway Park
390
Chicago Cubs
Wrigley Field
400
Chicago White Sox
Guaranteed Rate Field
400
Cincinnati Reds
Great American Ball Park
404
Cleveland Guardians
Progressive Field
410
Colorado Rockies
Coors Field
415
Detroit Tigers
Comerica Park
420
Houston Astros
Minute Maid Park
409
Kansas City Royals
Kauffman Stadium
410
Los Angeles Angels
Angel Stadium
396
Los Angeles Dodgers
Dodger Stadium
395
Miami Marlins
LoanDepot Park
407
Milwaukee Brewers
American Family Field
400
Minnesota Twins
Target Field
404
New York Mets
Citi Field
408
New York Yankees
Yankee Stadium
408
Oakland Athletics
Oakland Coliseum
400
Philadelphia Phillies
Citizens Bank Park
401
Pittsburgh Pirates
PNC Park
399
San Diego Padres
Petco Park
396
San Francisco Giants
Oracle Park
391
Seattle Mariners
T-Mobile Park
401
St. Louis Cardinals
Busch Stadium
400
Tampa Bay Rays
Tropicana Field
404
Texas Rangers
Globe Life Field
407
Toronto Blue Jays
Rogers Centre
400
Washington Nationals
Nationals Park
402

MLB's longest ballpark, based on distance to center field

When Detroit's MLB team decided to replace historic Tiger Stadium with Comerica Park in 2000, then-Tigers president John McHale hoped to address the team's pitching issues with the new design.

The old Tiger Stadium was fairly long, with its 440-foot distance to center, but an enclosed outfield and upper-deck seating over the right field fence favored hitters who faced a less-than-stellar Detroit bullpen.

"We thought it might be interesting to design a park where there was a dimension that would allow a pitcher — if he threw it in the appropriate place and could induce the batter to hit it — to be reasonably sure of a long, relatively harmless fly ball," McHale told The Detroit Free Press.

When Comerica Park first opened, the current bullpen location was part of left field, where a hitter had to launch a ball 395 or more feet to clear the fence. Today, that distance is 370.

Ironically, all distances from home plate are deeper than those at Tiger Stadium, except for center field. But at 420 feet, Comerica Park still ranks as the longest field, based on distance to center.

MLB's shortest ballpark, based on distance to center field

One of the most iconic properties in all of baseball, Fenway Park measures 310 feet down the left field line, 302 feet down the right field line, and just 390 feet to center field — though, deep center field stretches to 420 feet.

Home of the famed "Green Monster," Fenway features some of the most peculiar angles of any baseball stadium. While center field is short, its 18-foot tall fence barricades many would-be home runs.

Baseball's oldest stadium was once a hitters' paradise and is still somewhat homer-friendly for right-handers, but for lefties, it's one of the toughest places to bat.

The ballpark has the smallest foul territory in MLB and is considered a great doubles park, because of the large amount of space in right field and the idiosyncrasies of The Green Monster.

The tall center field wall also creates an advantageous hitting background, as pitchers' release points are more clearly seen against the solid green wall.

Hitter-friendly ballparks

The Colorado Rockies' home of Coors Field is a high-altitude haven for hitters. In data analyzed by Baseball Savant's Statcast from 2019-21, the 27-year-old stadium generated 14% more offense, compared to fellow MLB ballparks, including 19% more hits, 16% more home runs, and the second most triples (behind Comerica Park) in that three-year span, due to Coors Field's enormous outfield.

The expansive playing field isn't the only benefit to hitters at Coors. Breaking balls don't work the same in Denver's thin atmosphere, so pitchers are often forced to rely on their fastball. The result is far fewer strikeouts at Rockies home games, and the potential for massive moonshots when a hitter makes contact with the ball.

While most batters relish the environment at Coors Field, the Cincinnati Reds' Great American Ball Park is a home run hitter's true oasis.

Opened in 2003, Great American Ball Park has regularly witnessed an above-average number of home runs flung over its fences. From its opening to 2020, more than 3,700 homers were hit in Reds games, while 3,003 homers were recorded in Reds away games.

The reason long bombers perform so well here is simple. The total square footage of the outfield is the fourth smallest in MLB, and unlike, Fenway — which is smaller — the Reds' stadium doesn't have a giant wall to protect itself.

While Great American Ball Park may be the most home-run friendly, it's a good, but not great, hitters' park. Reds home games actually see one of the highest rates of strikeouts in MLB — possibly because so many players are tempted to go for broke and swing for the fences.

Pitcher-friendly ballparks

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the San Diego Padres' Petco Park saw the lowest percentage of hits, among all stadiums, from 2019-2021.

Interestingly, two more California-based stadiums — Oracle Park and the Oakland Athletics' Oakland Coliseum — are also two of the more pitcher-friendly venues in the league.

Petco Park actually brought its fences in before the 2013 season to help increase the number of home runs, but San Diego's marine layer and heavy coastal wind still make life difficult for hitters.

Such environmental factors mitigate the risk of a center field fence that stands just 396 feet from home plate — the fourth shortest distance in the league. The Seattle Mariners' T-Mobile Park experiences the same type of benefit from its climate.

Interestingly, Oracle Park's center field fence is the second shortest in all of baseball, but Giants home games produced the fourth-lowest percentage of runs and lowest percentage of home runs from 2019-2021.

Thus, the stadiums with the smallest distance to center field don't necessarily manufacture a greater number of hits or home runs. It's a combination of elements that determine whether a stadium is hitter- or pitcher-friendly, which makes the concept of home-field advantage all the more unique in baseball.

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