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There's Still No Place Like Home

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There's Still No Place Like Home

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The Rangers showed no ill effects from their losing road trip during Monday's rout of the Angels.

The bats were lively, C.J. Wilson's pitches had some extra pop and first place is back to being in sole possession of the Rangers. None of that should have come as any surprise to longtime followers of the Rangers.

For the Rangers, there really is no place like home. The last 10 years have made it clear that the Rangers are a much different team when playing in Arlington than they are in any of the other ballparks strewn across the country. Based on the start to this year -- 7-0 at home, 4-5 on the road -- things aren't going to be any different.

Over the last 10 seasons, the Rangers have won just under 55 percent of their home games and just over 43 percent of their road games. That averages out to nearly nine more wins per season at the home ballpark and there have only been two years without a spread that wide between the home and road record. The 2006 Rangers were the only team in that run to have a winning road record and a better road record than home mark. 

Even though baseball is the only sport that allows you to design your own playing field, home field advantages are rarely that pronounced in the major leagues. The Rockies are the only other team that has shown this kind of overwhelming preference for playing in their own ballpark.

Offensive advantages have been credited for the big differences in both Arlington and Denver, but the Rangers are putting that idea to rest. Their pitching has been better at home than on the road in each of the last two seasons, which means that the home field advantage is taking root well beyond lineups filled with sluggers.

The reasons for the advantage can be debated. Maybe it is the weather or the dimensions or the occasional presence of a certain former president, but the reason doesn't really matter as much as the results. The Rangers are very hard to beat on their own field and everyone knows it.

That's a nice thing to have in the back pocket when you're a team with designs on making the playoffs. You want teams to feel a bit off balance when they step onto your field and the Rangers have been able to create that kind of unwelcoming atmosphere.

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