Pick Your Seats
Every time I plan a trip to a ballpark I’ve never visited before, I scour the internet for a “best place to sit” website. I want my back to the sun, I want a great view of the action, I want to be close to the field, etc etc. It’s never easy and it’s different for every stadium, but according to the rulebook it shouldn’t be this way.
It is desirable that the line from home base through the pitchers plate to second base shall run East-Northeast.
Alright, I know it’s “desirable” rather than required, but it’s in the rulebook, it has a rule number, how much easier would it be if each new ballpark just adhered to this?
The East-Northeast direction is determined by the fact that most games are played in the afternoon/evening and the sun is setting in the West, so adhering to 1.04 would keep both the offensive and defensive sides from looking in the direction of the sun.
Of the 30 current MLB stadiums only 14 are East-Northeast facing (or close, by either facing NNE or NE).
Of the 16 that do not face ENE, 5 were built in the last 10 years.* I’d think that at least those 5, being so recent, would take the sun direction into consideration.
Then I wondered if there was a “desired location” for the bullpens. Shouldn’t they all be in their own little secluded area of the outfield rather than along the first/third base line?
Well apparently not enough officials agree with me because there is nothing to this effect in the rulebook. With players having to navigate the bullpen mound for a tough popup in foul territory, or bullpen members having to escape the path of a rogue liner, I’d hope that all stadiums, especially the newer ones, would design bullpens into an actual pen. I believe there are only 3 current ballparks** with bullpens in foul territory, but it sure feels like a lot more!
*Great American Ballpark, Yankee Stadium, Target Field, Marlins Park, Citi Field
**Wrigley Field, AT&T Park, Tropicana Field (Wrigley doesn’t bother me. It’s older, it’s historic, it’s great. But AT&T (2000) and Tropicana (1998) are new enough to have left this model behind.)