Apr
15

Anticipating a hitters’ park

By

In a day, Yankee Stadium-mania will be in full swing. After sitting through three other home openers, the Yankees will finally make it back to the Bronx to inaugurate the new Yankee Stadium.

Over the last few years, we’ve run the gamut on the stadium. From city politics food options to toilets and my not-so-glowing review, we’ve touched on everything but baseball and how the stadium will play. That ends now.

Courtesy of Keith, a long-time RAB reader, comes the following graphic. Take a look, and click to enlarge.

yscomparison

What you see here is a not-quite-to-scale comparison between the new and old Yankee Stadiums. The dimensions, as the Yanks promised, are identical to the post-Jack Clark layout at old Yankee Stadium. Center field is 408 feet away from the plate; left and right are 318 and 314 feet away, respectively; and the power alleys are 399 to left-center and 385 to right-center.

But if we look at a little closer, there are a few signs indicating that Yankee Stadium may play as a hitter’s park. First, note the decreased foul territory and the reduced space behind home plate. Much has been made about this feature because it draws the people in the lower levels closer to the field. At the same time, it takes away outs from the pitchers and puts those balls in the seat. Down the lines, we see the same thing. There’s less room in the corners and thus less space for outs. Advantage offense.

What I think is the most significant feature though is the shape of the wall. The graphic clearly shows that the walls at old Yankee Stadium featured a gentle curve. The new Stadium displays fewer curves and more straight lines to accommodate the seats that hug the wall and stretch far into the outfield. (You can see that here and here.) The manual scoreboards, seen here, also eliminate some of the curve.

For comparison’s sake, check out this shot from old Yankee Stadium. The curvature of the wall is particularly evident in left-center.

Right now, of course, I’m simply speculating on this feature of the stadium. We won’t know for a few moths — or even a few seasons — how the stadium will play out. Right now, however, if I were a betting man, I’d bet on a hitter’s park. Good thing the Yanks are a strike out-centric pitching team this year.

Categories : Yankee Stadium

49 Comments»

  1. Matt says:

    Maybe the semi-shortened left-center field will help the right-handed power hitters get an extra home run or two at home.

  2. Joe R says:

    Dont the straight walls kinda help the defense in that you can pretty much know the angle the ball will shoot off if its hit against the wall? Im sure it wont make that much of a difference but it might help a little bit.

    • Depends on how the manual scoreboards play really. If they have some sort of protective netting, the balls can ricochet at odd angles.

    • Dont the straight walls kinda help the defense in that you can pretty much know the angle the ball will shoot off if its hit against the wall? Im sure it wont make that much of a difference but it might help a little bit.

      No.

      The curvature of the wall or lack thereof is in no way pronounced enough to alter angles that the ball bounces off the wall.

      The ball only actually touches a tiny section of the wall during impact, a section so small it’s effectively equally flat between all stadiums. The only thing that would cause the ball to ricochet differently would be a different surface in the wall, like that manual scoreboard. If there are non-flat surfaces in that scoreboard (like a jutting corner or something) or differing materials in the wall (like the bullpen cages which are now in both left-center AND right center), that could cause a funny bounce.

  3. Rich says:

    There is also the possible issue with regard to the wind factor being different as a result of the increased size of the wall containing the video screen and the park not facing in the exact same direction as the old one, which may cause the ball to carry more.

    • It certainly seemed that way during the Cubs’ game. Unfortunately for the team, though, they can’t move the walls back like Philadelphia did without sacrificing seating.

      • jeremy says:

        What they could do is move the bullpens to flank the sports bar, move the fences back and extend those “box” seats along the front of the left and right field bleachers. This would allow them to move the fences to where they should be, keep the seating capacity and eliminate that ridiculous obstruction from the sports bar.

      • Short Porch says:

        I was in the right field section 206 for the Cubs exhibition. It was a very windy day, but boy it felt like a jet stream blowing out.

        The new stadium is pitched more E-W than the old one by my reckoning:

        http://www.delawareonline.com/.....723271.JPG

        That means more wind.

        It is also 50% larger, and so the wind is not being blocked as much by the stadium structure I’d say. I was in practically the same seat location last summer in the old stadium. Never felt that kind of right field wind. I have been going to Yankee games since the days of Jake Gibbs and Horace Clarke and never felt anything like it.

        Can’t say what the overall aerodynamics are — way above my paygrade — but the Humongous scoreboard has to help.

        The lefty power tradition continues. Swish hits 35 this year.

      • Yankee1010 says:

        I’m not ruling out the possibility that the wind can play an increased role in the new stadium, but the weekend of the Cubs series was an incredibly windy weekend in the City. There were winds of 40+ mph, so more data is needed.

    • Matt says:

      I’ve always wondered how much the wind factors in to new stadium building.

  4. monkeypants says:

    In general these observations seem accurate, except that there will more MORE foul territory down the lines (though less behind home plate).

    • huuz says:

      damn you, monkeypants!

      • Are you sure there was more foul territory or just a wider warning track? I’m not so sure there’s more room that way.

        • huuz says:

          based on the sketch and looking at the photos, i’m positive there is more room for a fielder to catch a ball in the field of play (without diving into the stands) near 3B and 1B.

          • I’d say (eyeballing it) that there’s a good deal less foul territory on the infield sides of 1B/3B and and slightly more foul territory on the outfield sides of 1B/3B (thanks to those notches.)

            And, generally speaking, there’s probably more playable pop-ups on the outfield sides of the bags than the infield sides. So, my conclusion non-educated guess is that even with far less room behind home plate, thanks to the notched openings (instead of the linear slope) there will be more foulouts caught in this stadium.

        • AMS223 says:

          There is absolutely more foul territory down the lines especially in the infield by the dugouts…I believe Tex and Cano commented on that last week I will try to find the quotes.

          • AMS223 says:

            “There is more room in foul territory near the dugouts, which is good for pitchers who might get an extra out on a foul pop that would have fallen into the stands. But it also might mean a runner can take an extra base after a throwing error in the infield. The backstop is 20 feet closer to home plate than the old Stadium, meaning “I won’t have to run as far if a ball gets behind me,” Posada said.”

            http://www.nydailynews.com/spo....._of-2.html

  5. huuz says:

    i agree that there is less foul territory behind the plate, but along the foul lines by 3B and 1B, there is actually more foul territory in the new stadium…

  6. Keith says:

    I’m the one that sent this in. I was looking for sattelite photos of the new place for a more accurate comparison, but wasn’t able to find any. Anyone know how often google updates that stuff?

    • Sean says:

      Not nearly often enough that you would see it any time soon. If you search thru some of the major NYY blogs I know I remember seeing some pop up in the amount of galleries that were published in the run-up to the season (specifically the newspapers’ and their blogs’ coverage).

    • Short Porch says:

      Google — that seems vintage 2005. Posted a pic earlier. Hope that helps.

  7. Will says:

    I don’t think the dimensions will have any material impact because the overall difference is so minor. Rather, as others have pointed out, the open-air design of the new stadium is much more likely to have an impact. The Cubs games featured a very strong wind, but that likely wont be the case in the summer. Also, there is always the chance of a Wrigley like effect(days with wind blowing out canceling the days with win blowing in).

    • Short Porch says:

      NO Lake Effect in NYC. Prevailing westerlies. The new stadium is pitched more W-E AND is more open air i.e. when the wind blows — and it does often — it will blow into the new stadium stronger.

      And yes, upon review I believe that there was some thought to making the park more A-Rod friendly.

      Joe D. would have traded to hit in this park in a heartbeat.

  8. The house that A-Rod built?

  9. Keith says:

    Found a little more info. Looks like the site I found these diagrams on is estimating a 10 – 15 ft difference in RCF.

    <A href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/8157983@N04/2354184884/sizes/o/

  10. Spaceman.Spiff says:

    Darn those few moths. Haha, not a big deal, just thought it was kinda funny.

  11. Spaceman.Spiff says:

    Jeter might be able to squeeze a couple more homers than in the previous stadium since he loves to drive the ball oppofield so often. Same for Damon and Cano who also have similar power but a lot of their home runs seem to be pulled down the line more than into right centerfield so the short porch won’t be changing anything for them as much.

  12. dkidd says:

    i wouldn’t be surprised if the new stadium ends up being a CRAZY hitter’s park a la citizen’s bank. haven’t read the comments so sorry if this a repeat but watching the cub games there seemed to be a jet stream blowing out to right center. maybe some fluke as to how the stadium is oriented and/or having a huge scoreboard in dead center?

    i’m hoping it plays closer to neutral

  13. [...] But if we look at a little closer, there are a few signs indicating that Yankee Stadium may play as a hitter?s park. First, note the decreased foul territory and the reduced space behind home plate. Much has been made about this feature because it draws the people in the lower levels closer to the field. At the same time, it takes away outs from the pitchers and puts those balls in the seat. Down the lines, we see the same thing. There?s less room in the corners and thus less space for outs. Advantage offense. What I think is the most significant feature though is the shape of the wall. The graphic clearly shows that the walls at old Yankee Stadium featured a gentle curve. The new Stadium displays fewer curves and more straight lines to accommodate the seats that hug the wall and stretch far into the outfield. Anticipating a hitters? park | River Avenue Blues [...]

  14. [...] play. Some of the home run explosion could be a result of the wind; some of it could be due to the hitter-friendly fences we discussed before Opening Day. No matter the cause, Yankee pitchers are growing frustrated with [...]

  15. [...] on the stadium. Using the above graphic, I looked at the walls and the lack of foul territory and proclaimed the park a hitter’s haven. Little did I realize how true my prediction would [...]

  16. [...] the eve of Opening Day at Yankee Stadium, I wrote a piece about the shape of the field at the new park. While team officials had long claimed the new field would have the same dimensions [...]

  17. [...] part of 2009, the main story surrounding the new Yankee Stadium focused on the home runs. While we anticipated a home run-happy stadium, no one expected the ball to sail out of the park as much as it did. Earlier in the year, fans and [...]

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