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For many baseball fans, heading to a stadium to watch a Major League Baseball game is a dream come true. Aside from sharing the joy of the gameplay with fans like you, watching a game unfold on a baseball field allows you to take note of the little things in the game.
For instance, you may notice that many baseball fields seem to appear similar, yet there are occasional variations in the shape of the field that catches your eyes. But while they all look the same at a glance, are all baseball fields the same size?
Well, the answer is no, baseball fields are usually not of the same size. The sizing of baseball fields has a lot to do with its historical structures and has remained irregular for more practical reasons across the years. They must, however, adhere to certain MLB guidelines.
Let’s look at some of these dimensions and find out why baseball fields don’t always have to be the same size.
A history of baseball fields
So, why are baseball fields not standardized? Well, a lot of this ties back to how baseball fields and stadiums were historically built. You see, when baseball first became popular, there were no fences or outfield areas for the players to follow.
As such, baseball fields were built on any available open spaces so players could maximize their playing areas. However, this also meant that many fields would follow the shape of the streets or adjacent buildings, making the stadium as non-disruptive as possible.
When baseball became more popular, fences eventually became a requirement for standardization purposes. This posed difficulties for older baseball fields, as some stadiums like Fenway Park would have to make major renovations to accommodate the changes.
Eventually, the MLB saw how it was not feasible for mandatory field standardizing and instead allowed irregularly shaped fields and the differently sized baseball fields to stay.
Although stadiums were allowed to retain different sized fields, the owners of MLB found the need to create guidelines of how the field should be used. This was to ensure fairness for all teams and allowed for more standardized gameplays despite the irregular field.
The guidelines on baseball field dimensions
As mentioned, despite being allowed to have irregular sizes, baseball fields of today must adhere to certain dimensions and guidelines that are set by the MLB. Here’s a look at some of the dimensions that have been standardized for all the fields around the USA.
Infield and outfield
As a rule of thumb, all infields measure 90 feet on each side and be squared. The outfield areas are regarded as the areas set between the foul lines. The construction of the field must be done in a way that the bases are leveled with the home plate.
Although most stadiums did not feature fences in the past, the MLB rulebook has stated that all fields built after 1958 must adhere to basic fencing guidelines. Some clubs may receive leeway on these guidelines, but it’s subject to approval by the MLB.
This includes a rule that requires the home plate to be measured a minimum of 325 feet from the nearest fence or other obstructions to the right or left-field foul lines. Subsequently, the home plate should also measure 400 feet away from the closest fence in center field.
The pitcher’s plate
For standardizing purposes, the pitcher’s plate is usually made of a slab of whitened rubber. It will usually measure 6 inches by 24 inches. The pitcher’s plate is then set higher than the home plate and measures approximately 60 feet from each other.
The pitcher’s plate is usually placed 18 inches off the center of the mount and with a surrounding level of 5 feet and 34 inches. The mount in question must also be erected in a circle that measures 18 feet in diameter. Finally, the mount must feature a slope that is set 6 inches ahead of the pitcher’s plate.
Like the pitcher’s plate, home plates for baseball is usually made of whitened rubber. They are made of a square, 17-inch rubber before 2 corners are removed, so the adjacent sides become approximately 8 1/2 inches each. The remaining sides are then made to be 12 inches and set at a pointed angle.
When setting down the home plate, field owners must ensure that the tip at the back is set approximately 127 feet away from the second base. The 17-inch side of the home-plate must face the pitcher and the 12-inch edges will be parallel to the lines of the first and third base.
Which is the biggest baseball stadium in Major League Baseball?
The biggest baseball field in Major League Baseball to date is the Dodger Stadium that is located in Los Angeles. It was established in 1962 and is the 3rd oldest baseball stadium in the USA.
The Dodger Stadium has a seating capacity of 56,000, although the construction could allow up to 85,000 seats should there be a need for expansion in the future.
Where is the smallest baseball field in Major League Baseball?
Fenway Park, the home of the Boston Red Sox, has the smallest field in Major League Baseball. Built in 1912, Fenway Park is also the oldest Major League Baseball stadium that still hosts games periodically.
The field measures at 310 feet to the left-field and 302 feet to the right-field, making it the shortest distance of any fields in the USA.
Are major and minor league baseball fields of the same size?
Yes and no. Like how no two baseball fields are of the same size, the major and minor league baseball fields are also usually presented in different sizes. Many believe that this is to accommodate the young players of the minor league games.
In general, it’s common to see Low A and Double A stadiums to be smaller or shorter than major league stadiums. Triple A stadiums do, however, have a similarly sized outfield than those of the major league games.