Rule 1.04 And The New Sounds Stadium

The proposed Sounds stadium at Sulphur Dell — more details of which were revealed at numerous presentations Monday — will be designed to provide views of downtown over the outfield wall.

One rendering showed the stadium perfectly parallel to Bicentennial Mall, which would give a south-southeast orientation.

Baseball obsessives noted that this would be fairly unusual — and they are right.

Major League Baseball Rule 1.04 says: "It is desirable that the line from home base through the pitchers plate to second base shall run East Northeast."

This "desire" is born of a need to keep the afternoon sun out of the eyes of batters (and the customers sitting in the pricier seats behind home). It's long been accepted that this layout is why left-handed pitchers are called "southpaws," though that's disputed.

In any event, the Sulphur Dell stadium would not be aligned in the normal way.

Take a look at this graphic from Flip Flop Flyball. It's a little out-of-date (you'll notice the now-defunct Dolphin Stadium and Metrodome are included) but it still gives a great picture of how ballparks are aligned:

 

 
Sulphur Dell's alignment would be almost exactlythe same as Detroit's Comerica Park, the southernmost line on the infographic.

Rather interestingly, among the other extreme southern-aligned parks is Miller Park, home of the Sounds' parent club in Milwaukee (though Miller Park is mostly enclosed and sun is less of an issue).

The original Sulphur Dell, for what it's worth, was aligned in the more traditional way.