In today’s sports world fans often like to believe their team has an advantage when playing at home. Whether it is the noise from the crowd or just an increased comfort level, fans can think of numerous reasons that their team should perform better at home. Sadly, after the first homestand of the year, I’d say it’s actually a disadvantage for the Cardinals to play at home.
First of all, I want to bring up the crowd noise. I was at the second home game of the year, on a Wednesday night the Cards took on our rival Houston Astros. After an eventful 1st inning the Cards led 2-1. When the game reached the 8th, the score was the same and I guess fans got bored. That’s right, the “best fans in baseball” were bored and uninterested in a game that turned into a pitchers duel. So with one on and one out and Matt Holliday at the plate, the crowd began to do the wave.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! And it didn’t stop there, you see after the wave went around the ballpark 3 times the crowd started to stand up and cheer for itself. They had accomplished something remarkable…cheering loudly after Matt Holliday flew out to right field. Sadly, this wasn’t the end of the “best fans in baseball” looking the complete opposite. As the game headed into the 9th fans began pouring out of Busch like it was on fire. I realize the Astros were winless at that point in the season, but you’re really going to leave a one run ballgame?! Best fans in baseball? I think not!
But anyways, enough about the crowd. Let’s look at some stats here to validate this disadvantage. Our record at home is 4-2 so far. That would disprove this argument, if not for the fact that we left 103 runners on base in 6 games. That is 17 left on base per game!! Now, I do realize that one of those games was 20 innings long, but that game is the perfect one to look at this in a microcosm. In that 20 inning marathon, we stranded 37 runners! Including, leaving the bases loaded 3 times between the 10th and 14th innings! Do the math, we left almost 2 runners on base per inning in that single game!
If you can’t score at home you can’t say you have an advantage. You also can’t say that you have an advantage if your fans mentally check out of a one run game and cheer louder because of a successful wave than they do if their team is winning. Disregard the record at home right now, because in my opinion we have a homefield disadvantage at Busch right now.