Detroit’s Comerica Park Totally Ignores Baseball’s Critical Rule 1.04 – No One Seems to Care
It must been an important rule for playing baseball, after all, it's a subset of Rule 1. Yet no one must have read the rulebook when constructing Detroit's Comerica Park.
Rule 1.04 covers the orientation of the ballpark. Specifically, "THE PLAYING FIELD: It is desirable that the line from home base through the pitchers plate to second base shall run East Northeast." Call the angle 22 degrees.
However, Baseball Almanac, which charted the orientation of every ballpark in the league states the rule is simply not enforced when stadiums are built, "The location of the owner's boxes, prevailing wind directions, and a multitude of other reasons have caused rule 1.04 to be ignored by Major League baseball teams."
In the summer, the midday sun is in the southern sky and moving toward the west. So, for a game that begins at 1 p.m. and ends about 4 p.m., the sun starts just west of south and moves so that it will eventually set in the northwest. Therefore, a properly aligned ballpark will be oriented northeast-ward to keep the sun out of the batters’ eyes during the game.
They did the math and found that Detroit's Comerica Park is the most out-of-alignment ball park in all of the major leagues. Check out the chart shared to Reddit:
You may think, what about Houston and Toronto on the other end of the spectum, they look just a hair more out of alignment. Maybe, but remember both of those teams play in stadiums with roofs that can close making their alignment less of a 1.04 issue than in a classic outdoor park like the yard in Detroit.
So there it is, though the rule may not be enforced, it is on the books and that must make Detroit the biggest scofflaw in all of baseball.