© Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
Right here, in this very Jock Blog space, just two weeks ago, I penned an ode to Oracle Park.
Being the 20th year of baseball in China Basin, I listed 20 things I loved about the place.
Astute readers noted that I did not include ‘Triples Alley’ in the list. That’s because it’s not one of the 20 things I love about Oracle Park.
I know, I know. Peter Magowan, rest his soul, wanted it that way. I know it’s an homage to the Polo Grounds. I know it’s something that makes the park unique.
I’m here to tell you: I’m OK with eradicating Triples Alley.
Is it as simple as just wanting to see the Giants hit more home runs?
Well, pretty much. Yes.
And I understand: Buyer beware. If you’re going to love a Brandon Belt gapper now turning into a four-bagger, you better be ready for a Cody Bellinger gapper now turning into a four-bagger.
To paraphrase the old sports line about the opposition: The other team drives Cadillacs, too.
The way I see it, there are only two good arguments against eradicating Triples Alley and moving in the fences:
- The park was pristine the day it opened; to change it now, is to ruin a pristine piece of art.
- The Giants won three World Series championships the way the park is currently configured.
Take Argument Number One.
I will grant this. I hear you. I am a traditionalist at heart. I am the kind of guy who is OK with KC Royals pitcher drilling White Sox Tim Anderson in the gluteus for a bat flip. I like Sinatra and old movies and have yet to figure out how to hide text messages on my MacBook Air without the help of Copes or Medium Impact Brian.
But I also understand that things change. Hairstyles change. Interest rates fluctuate. If fans are staying away from the park because not as many home runs are being hit, it’s worth looking at. If low-scoring Giants seasons don’t end in parades, I get that the product could use a little pizzazz. I get that Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron and Willie Mays are famous because they hit lots and lots and lots of home runs.
And it’s not like Oracle Park is some kind of historic monument, like the White House. I’m not looking to add a social media lounge to the Lincoln Memorial, or paint the Golden Gate Bridge banana yellow. I’m looking at a park that is only 20 years old, and making an adjustment.
The epic parts of the park remain. All those 20 things I listed in the April 4 Jock Blog. If you don’t remember, go read it.
As for Argument Number Two.
I understand, pitching and pitching and pitching brought you three parades down Market Street. That meant Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner pitching to the ballpark.
But here’s a bit of a startling statistic for those who think Triples Alley and the home field played the key role in the Giants winning World Series titles.
I did a little chicken scratch research on the Giants’ home/road splits in those three championship campaigns.
Record at AT&T Park in 2010/2012/2014 post-season runs: 16-7.
Record away from AT&T Park in 2010/2012/2014 post-season runs: 16-7.
Remember those huge wins in Atlanta in 2010? In Philly in 2010? Clinching in Texas in 2010? Those three wins in Cincy in 2012? Clinching in Detroit in 2012? Those Washington DC road wins in 2014? Clinching in Kansas City in 2014?
Yep. Of course you do.
So while the Giants surely appreciated your support and the smell of garlic fries in those runs, they played IDENTICAL BASEBALL away from Triples Alley to get you down Market Street.
In other words, it wasn’t Triples Alley that got them the confetti. It was the team playing Bochy baseball.
The idea of more home runs is more fun. It’s more fair, to be honest. When your park is, as statistically analyzed by Andy Baggarly in The Athletic, an outlier in MLB, perhaps it’s time to adjust.
You guys know me. I’m a ‘Brady Bunch’ guy. When Peter’s voice changed, the Bradys re-arranged their vocal harmonies. And by the way, you are welcome in advance for the following link: