This is the second part of a series about the disjointedness of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team and organization. This part details how Busch Stadium plays a part in how disjointed I believe the Cardinals team is at the major league level.
The Stadium Let’s start with the home ballpark - Busch Stadium III. It is a lovely, beautiful, state-of-the-art facility that is, in my humble opinion, one of the nicest places to watch a ball game in which I have ever had the pleasure of taking one in.
Busch is definitely a pitcher’s park. As of 2014, the latest data I can find, the Cardinals’ home venue had the 5th largest field of play in the majors, trailing only Coors Field, Kauffman Stadium, Citi Field, and Turner Field. Turner Field is no longer in use, so the Cardinals might actually have the 4th largest field of play in the majors. With every infield in baseball being the exact same dimensions, that means that there is much more outfield grass to cover than most stadiums. Busch is also a symmetrical park that has an approximately equal amount acreage in each half of the outfield, unlike Fenway Park or AT&T Park, for instance.
Typically, if you have that case, you would want to assemble an outfield of fleet-footed players that can go get a ball. You would also want players with good arms, as the gaps in left- and right-center fields are quite large. You would obviously want the player with the best arm in right field - to help with the long throw to third base.
Busch also plays strange in that despite it’s symmetry, it has a 5-year regressed park factor showing it’s the 5th toughest place in the majors to hit a home run for right-handed hitters, but is the 10th toughest place in the majors to hit a home run for left-handed hitters. While the difference is less pronounced for doubles, it runs true again that it’s easier for lefties to double at Busch as well. There is some sort of wind tunnel that keeps balls from going out to left field as well as right field.
How does this pertain to the disjointedness of the current Cardinals’ squad? Great question. Read on for more.
*I’d like to thank Business Insider for their look at MLB ballpark sizes and Fangraphs for the use of their 5-year regressed park factors. Much appreciation to those great sources.