I’ve mentioned before that baseball prides itself on its symmetry and lack of rule changes over the years – the game 100 years ago is roughly the same game it is today.
However, the very surface upon which the game is played is completely non-standardized and lacks a whole lot of symmetry. Check out this infographic from Craig Robinson at Flip Flop Flyin (er, when it comes to baseball, Flip Flop Fly Ball) about the many different layouts of baseball fields used by Major League Baseball teams. (It’s also shown above, but his site has a bigger version.)
It’s hockey, basketball, and football that play their games on the same size fields/rinks from high school through the pros – not baseball.
The oddly-shaped ballparks across all levels of the game mean that different strategies must be employed to have higher chances of success. Fenway Park has the Green Monster in left field, which means a hitter can’t just hit the ball hard, he has to hit it high to get it over the wall. There is a short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium which means left handers could find success in trying to pull the ball.
Plug: I first saw this infographic many years ago via Rob Neyer when he was at ESPN and I’ve enjoyed Craig’s work with sports-related infographics and graphical arts over the years – give his blog a look. Highly recommended.