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Q: baseball dugouts ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: baseball dugouts
Category: Sports and Recreation > Team Sports
Asked by: astrored-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 25 Aug 2004 11:23 PDT
Expires: 24 Sep 2004 11:23 PDT
Question ID: 392479
Traditionally, in baseball, the home team occupies the dugout seating
area along the first base line and the visiting team occupies the
dugout seating area along the third base line.  I have noticed lately,
when watching Major League Baseball, that for some teams, this
traditional placement is reversed.  Why?  Additionally, I've only
observed this reversal amongst west coast teams...
Subject: Re: baseball dugouts
Answered By: markj-ga on 25 Aug 2004 13:00 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
astrored -- 

Now there's an interesting question, and I am hopeful that I have a
useful answer for you.

First, whether there is a "correct" side for a home team dugout, and
which side that is, apparently depends on who you ask.  Your expressed
view is that the home team belongs on the first base side, and at
least one fan source -- apparently a pretty knowledgeable one --
agrees with you:

"The Brooklyn Dodgers (Ebbets Field) home dugout was located on the
first base side, and always was. The Los Angeles Dodgers (Dodger
Stadium) home dugout is located on the third base side. Traditionally
the home teams? dugout is located on the first base side, although
today I believe a number of teams are now using the third base dugout
for there home games."

However, some fans believe that the third base side is the right place
for the home team:

"Traditionally the home team is on the third base side, visitors on
the first .  .  .    .
Baseball Fever: Archive 

"I have a friend who insists that all home team dugouts nowadays are
on the third base side of major league ballparks." FAQ

The answer apparently is that there is no tradition at all in force
today, and it is unclear whether there ever was a uniform one.   Here
is one aptly named website's take on the subject:

"On which side of the field should the home dugout be located? How
many Major League parks have the home dugout on the first-base side?

"There is no right or wrong answer as to whether the home dugout
should be on the first-base side or the third-base side. The major
League Baseball Rulebook is silent on the subject. Therefore, let's
examine where Major League dugouts are located these days. In the
National League, far more are on the first-base side (11 to 5). In the
American League, though, it's split evenly, with seven on each side of
the field. Even the two oldest parks still in use differ on this
point: the Cubs sit on the third-base side at Wrigley while the Red
Sox inhabit the first-base dugout at Fenway. Can a trend be spotted,
though? I think so: the three parks that have opened most recently
(Cincinnati, San Diego and Philadelphia) all have the home dugouts on
the first-base side." FAQ

The authoritative Baseball Almanac quotes a 1997 book for one take on
why there is no standard practice these days:

"Jonathan Light in The Cultural Encyclopedia of Baseball (1997) wrote,
'It (the [home team dugout's location] is sometimes based on the whim
of the owner, in part depending upon where the owner's executive suite
is and whether the dugout can be seen from that vantage point.'"
Baseball Almanac: Ballpark Orientations In The National League

The Baseball Almanac also confirms the information cited above from

"Some [home team dugouts] are on the first base side and others are on
the third base side and in the National League eleven of the sixteen
teams have them on the first base side."

Baseball Almanac: Ballpark Orientations In The National League

"[I]n the American League seven of the fourteen teams have [home team
dugouts] on the first base side.

Baseball Almanac: Ballpark Orientations in the American League

In sum, there is no rule about the allocation of Major League dugouts.
 If there ever was a tradition about their placement, it has not been
generally observed today or in recent history, and it is not even been
preserved in the oldest continuously occupied stadiums.  Since there
appears not to have been a standard placement for a very long time (if
ever), it is not surprising that considerations such as mundane
facilities design issues and owners whims apparently govern where the
home team gets to sit.

Search Strategy:

I used a variety of Google searches to find the information and to
determine with reasonable confidence that the information provided is
accurate and complete. Here are a couple of the more useful of these
searches, among many others:

major baseball dugout "home team" "third base"

dugout OR dugouts "on the third OR first base side"

I am confident that this information is what you are looking for.  If
anything is unclear, please ask for clarification before rating the
answer.   Oh, and the Baltimore Orioles (my team) have their dugout on
the first base side at Camden Yards.

astrored-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
Thanks for the detailed work.  I must admit that I am a little
disappointed at the lack of rhyme or reason for this “phenomenon” as
now I can’t explain it to my wife when I drag her to ballgames! 
However, I am very pleased with the exhaustive search you performed to
solidify the acceptance of a lack of rationale.

Thanks again and best wishes,

Subject: Re: baseball dugouts
From: markj-ga on 26 Aug 2004 07:49 PDT
astrored --

Thanks much for the kind words, the five stars and the nice tip.


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