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The Morning According To Us: A-Rod's Home Field Advantage

2/12/2009 - Texas Rangers
"The Friendly Confines," indeed. Getty Images

At first glance, the stats seem indisputable: A-Rod hit way more home runs in his three years on the juice than in the three preceding or subsequent seasons. But what if A-Rod benefited more from the hitter-friendly confines of the old Ballpark in Arlington than the Primobolan and testosterone he took?

It's an interesting theory. It's based on the work of ESPN's Rob Neyer, who says that the true gauge of a hitter's power is his ability to hit on the road. Home fields usually "inflate or deflate" stats, depending on how easy it is to knock one out.

In 1998-2000, A-Rod was a Mariner, and he hit 51 dingers at home and 74 on the road.

From 2001-2003, by contrast, A-Rod was a banned-substance-using Texas Ranger. And, yes, while he hit 86 home runs at home, he only hit 70 on the road. If he's juicing for more power, how come the juice doesn't help him anywhere but suburban Dallas?

The three seasons afterward bear this out: A-Rod hit 63 at Yankee Stadium and 56 everywhere else. So that means, in those six years, first as a Ranger, then as a Yankee, the hitters' parks at home are beneficial to A-Rod. In Texas, he hit 18 percent more dingers at homeā€”in New York, 11 percent more.

The point may be, as Allen Barra notes in the link above, that whoever gave A-Rod the PEDs might have been better served slipping him placebos.

The wild, hairy creature in all this is A-Rod's 2007 season. The man hit 54 homers, 29 of them on the road. In other words, he hit more on the road than at home. Now that's some power hitting. But now you have to consider something else: What, if anything, was A-Rod on that year?