Crowdsourcing: Stadium Shadows

A couple days ago, Tom Tango, did a study to show how hitters produced at different times of the day. One possible problem with the data is that shadows from the stadium could be skewing the data. We would like to know if at any time of the day there is a shadow between the pitcher and the hitter and from what time to what time does the shadow stay between the two combatants. Finally, if any one knows the information on any closed stadium, that information would be helpful.

With this information, it can be seen if the shadow has an effect on the hitter-pitcher match-up. I would expect the number of strikeouts to increase as the batter would have a harder time picking up the ball, but it would be nice to put a number to the theory. Thanks for your time and I am sure someone will jump right in for the data on Tropicana Field.




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Jeff writes for FanGraphs, The Hardball Times and Royals Review, as well as his own website, Baseball Heat Maps with his brother Darrell. In tandem with Bill Petti, he won the 2013 SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

19 Responses to “Crowdsourcing: Stadium Shadows”

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  1. Paul Jordan says:

    don’t forget to adjust for time of year

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  2. willghannon says:

    Season goes from April to September, where the sun is out at a progressively different time of day. In fact each day will vary slightly from the next and in order to truly pinpoint the times in which there are shadows between the batter and pitcher, it would take a season’s worth of daily data (if not more). Hopefully someone has already done this research though while considering differing times for each day of the year.

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  3. Dave says:

    You also need to account for cloud cover.

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  4. mcbrown says:

    I think I mentioned this back in the comments of that article, but don’t you also have to account for orientation of the stadium? Shadows could be significant, but probably of greater significance is whether the sun is in front of or behind hitters.

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  5. Tangotiger says:

    All great points guys.

    Now we need people to do work. How about you just qualify what you see. Say:
    “On Sept 20, 2011, at Citizen’s Bank Park, from 13:32 to 14:21, there was a shadow between the hitter and the mound.”

    Basically, watch the game, and just tell us what you see. We’ll worry about interpreting that data after we actually get some data.

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    • jorgath says:

      Honestly, I think that you’re going to need your crowdsourcing to cover every stadium over the course of an entire season (though you don’t have to do any game that starts long enough after sunset that the floodlights are on at the first pitch, nor any game that’s completely overcast). Or consult a meteorologist and do a great many complicated-but-not-hard angular/optical physics calculations.

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  6. Dan says:

    The St. Louis Post Dispatch did several articles about the shadows at Busch Stadium after the Cards lost a 3:15 game a few weeks ago to the Brewers. Here are a few of the articles. I can’t say that I have personally noted when the shadows start or stop, but based on the articles it appears they start sometime between 3:30pm and 4:00 pm and last until sometime between 5 and 6pm.

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/article_47c65f0a-68aa-5e41-8397-07d581d9ba3d.html

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/article_f547558c-8b1a-540b-8381-404e17888996.html

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/article_6047af21-6f37-5852-b4cd-99a1b055d24f.html

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  7. j6takish says:

    I’ve never done any official research on it, but I’ve watched almost every afternoon Tigers game in the last 6 years and I honestly can’t remember Comerica park ever having any issues with shadows between the mound and batters box. Maybe it would be a good park to look at?

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  8. Pat C says:

    This data is can be generated using Google Sketchup. Almost all of the current stadiums have models available for download (http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/), and the program allows for geolocation/shadow generation, with inputs for time of day and date of year.

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  9. Kyle says:

    We’re all Pinky and Google is the Brain!!

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  10. Very interesting concept… I wonder if they play most of the playoff games @ night to avoid and stadium shadows.
    -Jackie

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