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The major sports of American football and baseball often get lumped together, despite the very big differences between them in terms of rules and fields of play. For instance, football fields are measured in yards, whereas baseball fields are gauged in feet.
Some of our readers asked, how many yards is a baseball field? The answer is, it depends on a baseball field’s dimensions, mainly how far away the outfield fence is from home plate.
While football fields are the same at 100 yards long, Major League Baseball fields can have outfield fences as close as 302 feet (Boston’s Fenway Park at the right-field foul pole), or as distant as 422 feet (Comerica Park in Detroit, to dead center field).
Additionally, not every part of the outfield fence at stadiums is the same distance from home plate on both sides of centerfield. For example, Fenway Park has “Pesky’s Pole” in right at 302 feet from home plate, but “Fisk’s Pole” down the left-field line is 310 feet from home plate.
To determine how far in yards baseball fences are from home plate, simply divide the length value by 3, since 3 feet equals 1 yard.
Using that equation, Boston’s Pesky Pole is 100.667 yards from home plate. Basically the length of an American football field (not counting the end zones). Comerica Park’s dead centerfield wall is 140.667 yards from the plate.
As you can see, the regular field of American football can be painted inside MLB stadiums (albeit barely). But if you think about how many yards a baseball field is, what about in square yards, a common measurement used for grounds? As in, the square yards of the field of play.
That would take a lot more math.
Not all baseball fields have an outfield fence that’s uniform from one foul pole to the other, e.g. same distance left of center field as right of center field. (They call these fences that are equidistant).
Many modern ballparks have “short porches,” or fences very close, only in one part of the outfield; or vast “alleys” where the fence is very far away from home plate. Most Major League stadium outfield fences are not equidistant; those are commonly called “irregular” outfield fences.
Additionally, clubs often move outfield fences during the off-season. The Baltimore Orioles, for instance, moved its left-field wall back about 30 feet for the start of the 2022 season. Left field is not at 384 feet, and left-center field is 398 feet from home plate.
So, tabulating baseball fields by square feet, square yards, or even acreage, would take careful measurements from every nook and cranny along outfield walls.
Some have done very good estimates, however, with the assistance of satellite images of fields.
For instance, the biggest field in Major League Baseball is at Coors Field, with a fair territory of 115,870 square feet ~ or 12,874.40 square yards.
That’s a full third of an acre larger than the smallest field, at Fenway Park, which has a fair territory of about 8,615 square yards.
The average MLB ballpark field is 2.49 acres, which is about the size of Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. That’s over 12,000 square yards.
It is generally accepted that an area of 400 feet by 400 feet is required to build a baseball field.
Not counting end zones, the playing field for National Football League games is 100 yards long by 53.33 yards wide. So here’s a comparison of NFL fields with some of fair territories of MLB playing fields:
|NFL||1.32 acres||6,388 square yards|
Pitchers vs. Hitters Parks
Note the small difference in the size of fair territory at the stadiums for the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers. Despite this, Yankee Stadium is known as a “hitter’s park,” while Dodger Stadium is considered a “pitcher’s park.”
A hitter’s park means it’s a good place to hit, as batting averages and other hitting statistics tend to be higher there. And vice-versa for the pitcher’s parks. So why is it so much better to hit at Yankee Stadium, with just 49 fewer square yards?
To estimate whether an MLB stadium is good for hitting or pitching, it’s important to note how far away the outfield fences are from home plate. But it’s also important to consider the amount of foul territory ~ that is, land not in fair territory but still playable for fly-ball putouts.
If a stadium has a lot of space for defenders to go catch foul balls, like Oakland-Alameda Stadium, it helps the defense to get outs, and hurts batters. Stadiums with hardly any foul ground, like Fenway, often give batters “second chances” to keep hitting in an at bat because more foul balls sail safely into the grandstands.
We would be remiss not to mention other factors in judging whether a baseball stadium and field are better for hitters and pitchers.
For instance, Coors Field is in very high altitude, which means fewer air molecules causing drag on flying baseballs, and thus longer flights, so they moved the outfield fences way back. This resulted in a lot of grass area in the outfield for hits to fall safely. Those who play in Coors Field a lot will get more “gimme” hits than those who do not.
Regarding Dodger Stadium, besides an outfield fence that is pretty deep in the power alleys (left-center and right-center), there is an atmospheric condition at Chavez Ravine that limits how baseballs carry at night.
So Dodger Stadium might be a pitcher’s park at night (which is when most games are played anyway), but it could be neutral during daylight.
Also, Dodger Stadium built the reputation as a pitcher’s park when the field had a lot of foul territory. During this period the stadium saw 13 no-hitters, with a couple of them being perfect games!
However, during a renovation following the 2004 season, more seats were added on the field level closer to the field, eliminating a considerable amount of foul territory, especially behind home plate and adjacent to the 1st and 3rd ~ where most foul pop-ups are caught for outs.
That renovation leveled the playing field, so to speak, for hitters in Dodger Stadium.
It kind of makes sense to measure a baseball field’s outfield in yards, and maybe even in acres. But baseball infields, being much smaller areas, should not be judged in acres.
For those who wonder how many yards are in a baseball infield, once again let’s discuss what exactly we are measuring:
- Inside of Baselines. Bases on adult baseball fields are 90 feet apart, which means they are 30 yards apart. The inside of infields are 8,100 square feet, or 900 square yards.
- Inside the baselines forms the diamond that baseball is often called, with 2nd base being the top or “keystone” base (named for the keystone in a stone arch, the very top-middle stone that holds 2 sides together), so this part of a baseball field is at least part of the infield.
- Infield Dirt. Some might argue that a baseball infield is the area from home plate down both lines to the bases; and then extending in an arc to connect behind second base, to create a border between the infield and outfield grass. Basically that intersection is the unofficial boundary between the infield and outfield.
- The challenge with measuring the bigger infield area is that the boundary, where the dirt stops and grass starts, is different on most fields. So the answer here is, the square yards of a complete baseball infield depends on how far the infield extends from home plate on that field. According to baseball field construction experts, a basic infield of 90-foot bases covers about 11,550 square feet ~ or 1,283 square yards.