One can argue that home-field advantage has about as little an impact in baseball as in any other sport. Granted, it is the only sport that has different dimensions on the playing field, but that seems to play more into a pitcher’s or hitter’s benefit than a true home-field advantage. That said, the Boston Red Sox need to secure home-field advantage if they want to advance to the World Series.
The need for home field is not to ensure they play up to four games a series in Fenway Park, but instead to ensure they avoid having to travel to O.co Colosseum in Oakland. For the playoff run, the Oakland Athletics will remove the tarp that typically covers the third deck in Oakland, making it one of the highest capacity stadiums in baseball, and arguably the rowdiest.
The field in Oakland is a very difficult place to play in, beyond the crowd noise. It is the worst-kept stadium in baseball. While being the only venue that still hosts both MLB and NFL games, the visitors’ clubhouse and dugout often start to overflow with backed up waste from the sewage system within the ballpark.
The Oakland pitching staff pitches significantly better at home than on the road, taking advantage of the vast foul territory to record outs that would otherwise be foul balls, and an outfield where home runs seem to die. All this adds up to a significant home-field advantage in Oakland, making the A’s the biggest threat the the Red Sox’ quest to make it to the World Series.