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This Week at Rogers Centre

April 4, 2011

The Toronto Blue Jays are known as being a home run hitting team, paced by Jose Bautista, they also happen to hit in a park favorable to home runs. This week the A’s travel to the frozen tundra of Canada and given that it is early April the retractable roof in Toronto will be firmly in the closed position. Sadly, no resource out there (or at least no resource I could locate) accounts for the difference between the Skydome being open or being closed. One would think this would create a sizable difference in the way the park plays with potentially swirling winds either aiding or hindering the ability for those long balls to pass the 121.9m mark in “centre” field. So which is it?

Fully admitting I likely have a sample size problem (and a significant one), however not wanting to pore over the home run data from the Skydome/Rogers Centre from 1989 through present day, here are my findings. Now baseball-reference.com does have a “dome” or “open” option however “open” is any open-aired stadium, and domed could include numerous fields, so again you have a monumental task of acquiring data. So I opted to be lazy and look at A’s-Blue Jays contests from the last five seasons (2006-2010).

Here is what I found. The Blue Jays and Athletics have participated in twenty-three contests under the eyes of watchful eyes of Dudley Dooright and his compatriots.

Dome Position

Total HR

Total Games

HR/G

Open

28

10

2.8

Closed

21

13

1.6

So it’d seem that home runs fly out of the park when the dome is open, but are stifled somewhat when the dome is closed. This would be good news for the A’s as this is a classic battle of pitching versus offense (or offence for the Blue Jays). If the home runs are tamed down a bit that bodes well for Dallas Braden, Brandon McCarthy and Trevor Cahill when they take the mound. Of course my study was far from scientific and far from statistically accurate, and one can easily make arguments both ways for whether or not the dome’s being open would aid or not aid in home runs but at least in the last five years for the A’s, it being closed looks to be a good thing.

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