John Wilbur Wood and Bryce Jones
In the first part, we looked at how big the home field advantage (HFA) stats were for the Kansas City Royals and other teams during the regular season of baseball and in other major league sports in the playoffs. It turns out that while home field plays a definite role in the regular season in baseball, it appears to be a lesser factor in the post-season—and not nearly so important as compared to the NBA, NHL, or NFL.
So, first some stats from this year’s regular season relating to home field. Besides games of all 30 teams relating to the HFA, how did particular teams do?
The KC Royals finished this season with an excellent 51 and 30 home record (63%). Their away record was 44 and 37 or 54%. They were good on the road but better at home.
Here are some home field tallies for those still in the playoffs. Toronto was 53 and 28. But they were road dogs at 40 and 41. Houston, the Kansas City Royals’ current opponent, in the best of five, matched Toronto’s home field number at 53 and 28. But they had road woes (bigtime) at 33 and 48.
So at first it appears that it is a good thing for the Kansas City Royals to have the HFA against Houston–a team with a bad away-record and one without playoff experience (except for a few players who came from elsewhere).
Texas was the partial exception to the norm, They did have 43 wins and 38 losses at home. But they had 2 more wins as an away team.
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In the National League, both the Cardinals and Dodgers had a 55 and 26 record at home. The Cards were 9 games better than .500 on the road and Dodgers were 7 games under in away games.
The Cubs had 49 wins at home, 48 on the road. The Mets also had 49 wins at home, but they 41 and 40 on the road.
And so the Kansas City Royals have a slight positive takeaway relating to Houston and Toronto in regard to HFA.
Older research comes from a home field advantage article on the SABR research site from 1989.
There were five game series in the LCS until 1984. During that time the teams with HFA won 9 of 14 times (9 and 5). However, the team with the best record in the league did not necessarily get the HFA; it was done based on alternate–east west (as it was in World Series until recently). Hence, the debate referenced in this article about the rule for which team should get the HFA. The year 1981 was a mess with the split season (first and second half winners, etc).
Of the 44 series in that time frame, 25 winners had HFA and 19 did not.
During that 20 year time span, the team with the HFA (alternating years) won 9 out of 20 World Series. Thus there was not much of an HFA for the MLB champs during this time.
Our next block with available data is for 12 years which includes all post season series. 37 of 72– slightly over 50% with the HFA were victorious. We will not look 1 game series.
(Ten years based on 2013 article: 2001 to 2013: Ranking The Best Home Field Advantages In Baseball. We will do 2013 and 2014 by looking up the records.)
In 2013, the Boston Beards won the World Series, beating Tampa, Detroit, and St. Louis all with HFA. The Cardinals were victorious with the HFA in both National League Series. (5 with HFA, 0 series wins for teams without HFA).
In 2014, the Giants bummed their way through three post-series wins. The Kansas City Royals had two series wins against Angels the O’s–both with HFA They then fell in game 7 of the World Series. (2 with HFA, 3 not).
And so for the twelve most recent years we have: 44 series wins HGA and 28 series without HFA.