Decoding Baseball’s Dugout: A Guide to Identifying the Home Team


As a baseball spectator, one of the first things you might notice when you take your seat is the dugout. Fans may wonder which dugout is the home team and which is the away team. While it may seem like a trivial detail, it can have a significant impact on your experience as a spectator. In this article, we will explore the mystery of determining which dugout is the home team, and provide you with the tools to crack the code on your next visit to the ballpark.

The Mystery of the Dugout: How to Determine Which Team is the Home Team

Before we dive into the details, let’s define what a dugout is and its significance in baseball. A dugout is a sheltered area where baseball players can sit when they’re not on the field, store their gear, and communicate with their coaches and teammates. The dugout serves not only as a resting place but also as a strategy hub for the team. It’s where many important decisions, like game tactics and player substitutions, are made.

However, for many spectators, the dugout can be a source of confusion. This is especially true when it comes to identifying which dugout is the home team and which is the away team. As there is no standard protocol or rule among ballparks, the location of the dugout can sometimes vary, leading to confusion among spectators. The home and away team dugouts can switch positions depending on the stadium, but once you know what to look for, it’s easy to identify.

The purpose of this article is to help readers navigate the intricacies of identifying the home team’s dugout. Whether you’re a casual fan or a die-hard baseball enthusiast, decoding the dugout adds another layer of enjoyment to your game day experience.

Navigating Baseball’s Dugout: Identifying The Home Team

Assuming you have a general understanding of a baseball diamond layout, it’s safe to say that the dugouts are usually located along the first and third base lines. Knowing this information can help you decipher which dugout is the home team’s.

Identifying the physical characteristics of home team dugouts is the easiest and most reliable way to distinguish between the two. Home team dugouts typically have the following features:

  • Higher seating area: Home team dugouts usually have a higher seating area compared to the visiting team’s. It provides a more elevated view of the game for coaches and players.
  • Logo or team name: Most dugouts will have the team’s logo or name displayed somewhere (i.e., the front, sides, top).
  • Bullpen location: Home team bullpens are usually located near their dugout, while the visiting team’s bullpen is closer to their dugout. This can be another indicator of which side is the home team.

Visual tools and indicators are also very helpful in determining which dugout is the home team’s. Here are some tips:

  • Scoreboard display: Check the scoreboard, as it usually displays which team is the home team and which is the away team.
  • Uniform colors: Another way to differentiate the home team from the away team is by their uniform colors. The home team usually wears white or light-colored jerseys, while the visiting team wears darker colors.
  • On-deck circles: Look for the on-deck circles (a designated area where the next batter waits), which will only be on the home team’s side of the field.

However, it’s worth noting that not all ballparks follow the same guidelines when it comes to identifying the home team dugout. For instance, some ballparks may have both teams sit on the same side and use a shared dugout. In these cases, you may need to rely on the players themselves to know who is the home and away team during the game.

Taking the Field: Decoding Home Team Dugouts

The dugout has gone through several evolutions over the years since its inception. It started as a basic shelter for players to rest and store their baseball gear. However, as baseball grew in popularity and became more competitive, the dugout evolved into much more than just a simple shelter. Today, the dugout is a critical component of baseball strategy.

In some ballparks, there may be different traditions or superstitions that dictate where the dugouts are located. For example, Wrigley Field in Chicago has opposing dugouts on opposite sides of the field. However, many modern ballparks maintain the traditional home team dugout on the first base side and the visiting team dugout on the third base side.

One ballplayer who had a particular attachment to the home team dugout was Derek Jeter, the legendary former captain of the New York Yankees. Jeter spent most of his career in the home team dugout at Yankee Stadium, and when the team built a new stadium, he even requested that the home team dugout be moved to the exact same spot it was in the previous stadium.

Cracking the Code: Investigating the Home Team Dugout Debate

While most baseball fans don’t give much thought to dugout placement, there is an ongoing debate among baseball enthusiasts regarding which dugout is the home team’s. Some argue that the home team should always be on the first base side, pointing to a tradition that dates back to the early days of baseball. Others argue that having the home team dugout on the third base side is more logical, as it puts them closer to the exit of the dugout and the on-deck circle.

No matter which side you’re on, it’s clear that the debate surrounding the home team dugout has been around for a while and is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon. However, it’s essential to remember that what matters most is simply understanding the distinction between the two.

Behind the Scenes of Baseball: The Truth About Home Team Dugouts

So, what do the people inside the baseball industry think about this debate? We have compiled some insights from players, coaches, and officials to share with you:

  • Mike Scioscia, former manager of the Los Angeles Angels, believes that the tradition of the home team dugout on the first base side should remain because of its historical significance.
  • Tommy Lasorda, former manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, believed that there was no significant advantage to having the home team dugout on either side of the field.
  • Former New York Mets player Keith Hernandez believed that the first base side was the “ninth inning side.” Therefore, since the home team was more likely to be winning in the ninth inning, they should be on the first-base side.

Of course, opinions will always differ, but it’s fascinating to gain an inside perspective on this seemingly insignificant baseball tradition.


In conclusion, identifying which dugout is the home team brings an added dimension of appreciation to the game. Knowing the physical characteristics and visual cues is the best way to identify the home team dugout. However, with different traditions and superstitions associated with dugouts, exploring the origins and debate surrounding this tradition can also add to your overall understanding of the game. We hope this guide has helped you understand the mystery, debate and significance of determining which dugout is the home team.

Next time you visit a ballpark, take a few moments to appreciate the dugout and its importance in baseball. Whether you’re a casual spectator or a seasoned veteran, understanding the distinction between the home and away team dugouts will allow you to better appreciate the game and have some insider knowledge to share with your fellow fans.

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