Ex-baseball blogger, noted presidential historian, world class librarian, vehement Cleveland-hater, and longtime ShysterBall reader Bob Timmerman left a comment in ATH this morning about Orlando Hudson hitting for the cycle:
You forget that Dodgers fans had almost been like the Jews in the desert traveling to the Promised Land with the cycle.
It had been 39 years.
Guys like Chad Moeller had hit for the cycle in the interim.
Which got me to wondering why it has been so long since a Dodger had done it. Which got me to Googling, which got me to something that pretty much gave me an answer. Not surprisingly, it was an article that a fellow THTer wrote, in this case David Gassko, who last year investigated park effects on various stripes of batted balls. The article is here, with a spreadsheet setting forth all of his data here.
I’ll keep any explanations to a very basic minimum because I don’t understand complicated things like batted ball data, but the upshot is that Dodger Stadium is, by far, the hardest park in which to hit a triple in the Majors. A factor of 1.00 is a league average park for triples. For the years 2003 through 2007, Dodger Stadium clocks in at a cool 0.51 for triples hit on flies to the outfield, and 0.72 for line drives. The former factor is much lower than anyone else’s. The latter is beat by Angels Stadium, but Angels Stadium is much more generous when it comes to fly balls. Maybe Dodger Stadium’s toughness on triples was obvious to many of you, but it’s something that hadn’t occurred to me until today.
So yeah, the Dodgers have been in the cycle desert. But in their case, the desert truly is their home.