How Do Baseball Stadium Dimensions Affect Batting Statistics? *
|Areas of Science||
|Time Required||Short (2-5 days)|
|Prerequisites||Basic knowledge of Microsoft Excel, statistics, and baseball|
|Material Availability||Readily Available|
|Cost||Very Low (under $20)|
Have you ever wondered how playing in a certain stadium affects how well the athletes perform? Major League Baseball (MLB) is played in ballparks that have their own individual quirks when it comes to the exact layout of the field. How an individual ballpark affects player performance, which is known as ballpark effects, is heavily investigated in the field of baseball. To name just a few parks and their different traits, Fenway Park (the long-time home ballpark for the Boston Red Sox in Boston, Massachusetts) has the famous "Green Monster" in left field, the original Yankee Stadium (located in the Bronx in New York City) was notorious for the "short porch" down the right field line, and Coors Field (in Denver, Colorado) is at a much higher altitude than any other ballpark. How do differences likes these and others affect batting statistics?
One characteristic of a ballpark that you can use to compare it to others is the ballpark's dimensions. Figure 1 below shows a general baseball field layout. But even in modern baseball not all stadiums are the same size, and this can affect batting statistics. For example, a player who hits .300 with 30 home runs in one stadium may be a .250 hitter with 15 home runs in another ballpark.
In this mathematics science project, you will determine how the dimensions of a baseball stadium affect batting statistics. You will need to do a little digging to pull the numbers together, but a nice thing about this project is that the experiments are already done, and the data is out there waiting for you. (See the Bibliography in the Background tab for some resources to help you find this data.) For each ballpark that you are interested in investigating, find out what its dimensions are. Then look up the team's batting statistics at the home ballpark and at road ballparks over the time that they have been playing in that particular home ballpark. (Do this for their opponents as well.) After you have collected the relevant data, average the batting statistics for each team for when they played in the home ballpark or in a road ballpark. Since the average road ballpark is nearly the same as the league's average ballpark, the difference between home and road performance should be the home ballpark's effect on offense. How do the dimensions of a ballpark affect which ones are good hitter's ballparks, and which are not?
You could also investigate how other factors, such as altitude, weather, and remodeling a stadium, affect how the athletes play. While altitude is easy to quantify since it does not change, matching weather data with batting statistics may be a bit harder and may require some programming. How does changing the dimensions of an existing ballpark, which sometimes happens when a stadium is remodeled, affect the players' batting statistics? For example, the Oakland Athletics' home ballpark used to have a lot more foul ground around home plate. How do you think doing something such as shrinking foul territory around home plate affects batting statistics? To investigate an effect such as this, you could select a group of players and analyze their batting statistics before and after the remodeling. You could even look at individual players to see if there are individual variations by hitting style. To investigate this, you will have to do some research to find out when changes were made, and what the ballpark dimensions were before and after remodeling.
Cite This PageGeneral citation information is provided here. Be sure to check the formatting, including capitalization, for the method you are using and update your citation, as needed.
Last edit date: 2018-03-19
BibliographyHere are a few websites that will help you start gathering data on baseball parks, teams, and players for this science project:
- ESPN. (n.d.). MLB Statistics - 2012. Retrieved November 9, 2012, from http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/statistics
- Mock, J. (n.d.). Major League Ballparks since 1900, sorted chronologically by franchise. BaseballGuru.com. Retrieved November 9, 2012, from http://baseballguru.com/joemock/ballparkchart.htm
Looking for more big data science projects? Explore the World of Big Data with Your Science Project!
News Feed on This Topic
Ask an ExpertThe Ask an Expert Forum is intended to be a place where students can go to find answers to science questions that they have been unable to find using other resources. If you have specific questions about your science fair project or science fair, our team of volunteer scientists can help. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions, offer guidance, and help you troubleshoot.
Ask an Expert
If you like this project, you might enjoy exploring these related careers:
StatisticianStatisticians use the power of math and probability theory to answer questions that affect the lives of millions of people. They tell educators which teaching method works best, tell policy-makers what levels of pesticides are acceptable in fresh fruit, tell doctors which treatment works best, and tell builders which type of paint is the most durable. They are employed in virtually every type of industry imaginable, from engineering, manufacturing, and medicine to animal science, food production, transportation, and education. Everybody needs a statistician! Read more
ActuaryLife is full of risks to both people and property. Actuaries predict the chances that future negative events will occur in a person's life, and then think of ways to reduce those chances, or reduce the impact of those negative events. Actuaries help bring peace of mind to both families and to businesses. Read more
Math TeacherMath teachers love mathematics and understand it well, but much more than that, they enjoy sharing their enthusiasm for the language of numbers with students. They use a variety of tools and techniques to help students grasp abstract concepts and show them that math describes the world around them. By helping students conquer fears and anxieties about math, teachers can open up many science and technology career possibilities for students. Teachers make a difference that lasts a lifetime! Read more
News Feed on This Topic
Looking for more science fun?
Try one of our science activities for quick, anytime science explorations. The perfect thing to liven up a rainy day, school vacation, or moment of boredom.Find an Activity
Explore Our Science Videos
Slippery Slopes - STEM activity
Stretchy Balloons! Fun STEM Activity
Paper Roller Coasters - Fun STEM Activity!