YOU TALKIN’ TO ME – JULY 17
By ITM Staff

IN WHAT PRO SPORT DOES THE HOME GAME MEAN THE MOST?

 

Group, I’m talkin’ to you and, and I know you will find this hard to believe, but Low Ball has changed his tune in the last couple of years.  Let me explain, ok?

Up until a couple of years ago, I was firmly in the camp of Major League Baseball being the best home field advantage in all professional sports.  Here’s my rationale for that decision.

MLB is the ONLY sport where the dimensions of the playing field vary from stadium to stadium.  A perfect example, and again this was before South Beach and Chowdah Head were born, is Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park.  If Ted Williams would have played for the Pin Stripers and Joe DiMaggio would have worn the BoSox colors, there home run totals would have been off the charts.  The Splendid Splinter would have been depositing baseballs in the short right field porch in the Bronx and The Yankee Clipper would have been clearing The Green Monster in Beantown with regularity.

So, with all that being said, what moved me to go in a different direction.  Well, folks, here goes.

I went over to the dark side after the 2019 World Series contested between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros.  The 115th Fall Classic made history because the visiting team won all of the seven games with the Nats sealing the deal at Minute Maid Park in Game 7.  That’s the ONLY time that has occurred in professional sports history.

So, as you can imagine, I was talkin’ to myself after that scenario.  I questioned how can I say that home field means the most in baseball when I just witnessed the two best teams in baseball were not able to salvage one victory in their home park?

Now, the National Basketball Association is my new choice for two reasons.  First, the fans are almost sitting with the players on the bench and that can be extremely uncomfortable for the visiting team.  Second, and this is the biggest one, the NBA has no barrier the boards in the National Hockey League or the wall with the National Football League to keep fans at bay.  Pro basketball fans are “up close and personal” with no buffer separating them from the players and that usually is extremely intimidating to the guys in the road uniforms.

There you have it.  NBA is the best home court advantage and, so far, the Suns and the Bucks are proving my point with the first four contests going to the home team.

I’m talkin’ to you, Brooklyn and South Beach along with Chowdah Head.  Any disagreement from you?

OK, Low Ball. Good one and strong argument. Hey, every sport owns a home court/home field advantage. The unique parks make MLB, well unique. Even when teams seemingly don’t build their team to suit their park (i.e. Yankees).

The screaming fans on the glass in the NHL is fun, as well. Sitting and watching opposing players get checked to the boards is one of the best seats for fans in any sport!

And, the 12th man in the NFL is a real thing! Ask Seattle fans who wear their #12 jersey to represent. (Of course, the Tampa Bay Bucs fans are representing something else with their #12 jerseys.)

But, Low Ball, you are right. Those NBA court-siders are awesome. It is the veritable “splash-zone” of spectator seats. One could get an errant pass or even get sweat on down there. Low Ball, no nets from batted balls, no glass boards to intervene, no distant seats, not with the NBA court seats. I’ve never been down there, have you, LB? You can have a real “conversation” with an opponent down there, or so it seems from watching Spike Lee for so many years.

So, Low Ball, you are right on this one, buddy.

Adam Sznapstajler

I see you guys are two peas in a pod on this issue and that’s something we cannot have. In fact I’m going to disagree with Leo’s flip flopping and Rob’s agreeing with LB here.

The MLB has the best home field advantage and it’s not even close. Although the fans and the noise affect an NFL, NBA, or NHL game, the MLB home field advantage is totally different.

Those other sports have home field advantages because of the fans but not the field itself.

No other sport allows you to build your team based on the ball park you have. It’s what allows the Marlins to avoid signing hitters and the Rockies to avoid signing pitchers.

I will say however there are some good examples of other sports that take advantage in their home field in other ways. All Denver teams playing in altitude is an advantage and the Miami Dolphins, having 92% of their stadium shaded while the opponents sideline is on the 8% that is unshaded, have a huge environmental advantage.

However these are rare examples and the only sport I truly feel the home field, not the fans, affects the game is MLB.