Apr
20

More homers? Blame the seats

By

Stadium wind pattern
Much has been made of the way balls are flying out of the New Yankee Stadium, with Buster Olney going so far as to call it “a veritable wind tunnel that is rocketing balls over the fences.” In four games the Indians and Yanks combined for twenty homers, and everyone’s wondering why in the hell this is happening. Thankfully, AccuWeather’s Gina Cherundolo took a look at how the Stadium’s layout may be affecting things (h/t THT):

The old Yankee stadium had more stacked tiers and a large upper deck, acting like a solid wall in effect, which would cause the wind to swirl more and be less concentrated. The new Yankee stadium’s tiers are less stacked, making a less sharp slope from the top of the stadium to the field. This shape could enable winds to blow across the field with less restriction. In addition, the slope of the seating would also lead to a “downslope” effect in the field which, depending on wind direction, would tend to cause air to lift up in the right field. Fly balls going into right field during a gusty west wind would be given more of a lift thus carrying the ball farther out into right field.

The pictures above come from the AccuWeather article, and illustrates what they’re trying to say in meteorologist jargon. Ben and I had a good vantage point yesterday, and we noticed how balls hit to right and right-center field just seem to float up there for longer than usual. That certainly fit the “veritable wind tunnel” theory that Olney thinks is a good fit for describing the New Stadium, but the good news is that this problem might not last all year:

If the stadium seating tier shape is indeed the issue, games will only be affected during times with the winds are from a westerly direction and above 10 mph. This typically occurs during the spring and the middle to late fall. The calmer weather during the summer should lead to a smaller number of home runs. In the meantime, the home run derby may continue.

Well that’s welcome news. Of course the cat’s already out of the bag, so every time a homer is hit in The Stadium, it’s  because it’s a bandbox. A-Rod comes back in May and hits 35 homers the rest of the way to lead the Yanks to the postseason? It’s because he plays in a bandbox. Jorge Posada has a bounceback year and hits 23 homers? Bandbox. Austin Jackson hits a homer in his first game? Bandbox. David Ortiz hits two homers off a long reliever? He’s healthy and back in ’03-’07 form.You know how it goes.

Assuming the weather holds up, tonight will be the first night game played in the new digs, so we have yet to see how the place plays under the moon. No matter what the studies show, we need a much bigger sample than four games to see how this place really plays. But what’s life without knee jerk reactions?

Categories : Yankee Stadium

80 Comments»

  1. Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

    Hhhhhhmmmmm. Maybe they knew what they were doing 85 years ago after all?

  2. John S. says:

    That’s very interesting, thank you for the link.

    I agree about the knee jerk reactions, but I also don’t blame Yankee fans for freaking out. It was kind of a shock to see it play the way it has so far.

  3. “David Ortiz hits two homers off a long reliever? He’s healthy and back in ‘03-’07 form.You know how it goes.”

    Well put, sir.

  4. Matt M. says:

    and look at how much shorter the wall is. compare it to the shots they were showing during the jeffrey maier game. they’ve shaved a lot off of that wall

  5. Jake H says:

    It will be interesting to see if this actually does happen.

  6. GG says:

    Buster just loves to make it look like the Yanks do everything wrong, and the sawx do everything right. Guess thats what happens when you spend too much time working with Gammons.

    • Bo says:

      More ESPN conspiracy theorists. Im sure Olney who was a Yankee beat writer and wrote a great book on the dynasty is a deep down Sox fan who hates the Yanks. You cant be serious.

      • Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

        Yeah, we all know that beat writers are all fans of the teams that they report on. According to Olney he grew up a Dodger fan in Vermont.

        • Frank says:

          Yeah, but BTW ESPN really does have a conpsiracy of bias against the Yankees. They feed the national hatred of the team for ratings. That’s not even in question…

          • Whitey14 says:

            Yeeeeaaaaahhhh, everybody is out to get the poor Yankees.
            Funny enough, this is what Red Sox fans used to sound like when we had a complex about the Yankees. I wake up and thank God for 2004 every day ;-)

            For the record, I never liked it when Sox fans were crying all the time either.

  7. TC says:

    According to Tyler Kepner, there was a four game span at Yankee Stadium during July of 06 that saw the Yanks and their opponents hit 26 home runs.

    I would give it a few more games before we start calling this stadium an amusement park.

    http://tiny.cc/8dxYU

  8. Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

    Why dont they let go of some air-filled balloons from the roof and see where they go?

  9. KP says:

    “David Ortiz hits two homers off a long reliever? He’s healthy and back in ‘03-’07 form.”

    That post made me laugh out loud and tell my roommate. Brilliant, Mike.

  10. Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

    bandbox
    Noun
    a lightweight usually cylindrical box for hats; New Yankee Stadium

  11. Kilgore Trout says:

    It would be nice if this analysis was done by someone with credentials, not a girl who graduated from Penn State last year with a degree in communications.

    • Is she hot?

      If so, I respect and trust her analysis.

    • Thomas Gionet says:

      In defense of the article, Gina Cherundolo writes “AccuWeather.com meteorologists also estimate that the angle of the seating in the new stadium could have an effect on wind speed across the field.” In no way does she suggest she did any of the calculations and meteorological work. She may just write articles for the website since she has a degree in communications. Of course, I could be completely wrong and she did do all the calculations.

      Also, Penn State does have a top meteorology program.

    • Jake D says:

      Credentials? Ms. Cherundolo’s job description is to write news stories for AccuWeather’s website. She is graduating Penn State this year with two degrees, one of which is in public relations – a very respectable degree from a very respectable university. She is more than qualified to write about the effects of quickly-moving wind on a small airborne object. Besides, it is not as if she is sitting in front of a computer running models and simulations and cooking up meteorological theories. She is not a meteorologist. It’s not even a question of her credibility. The meteorologists do the research, form the theories, and then have staffers like Ms. Cherundolo write it up in a professional manner suitable for publication.

      Unless, of course, you’re claiming that AccuWeather.com itself has no credibility, in which case your shortsightedness transcends mere ignorance and enters the realm of what could only possibly be intentional idiocy.

    • CAS says:

      Trout-

      You’re a complete idiot. She works for the meteorologists who do the analysis. I think she’s a fantastic writer. Next time don’t be so quick to make your judgments. You just make yourself look dumb.

  12. Tony says:

    “Austin Jackson hits a homer in his first game? Bandbox. David Ortiz hits two homers off a long reliever? He’s healthy and back in ‘03-’07 form.You know how it goes.”

    So true…

  13. Steve B-BALL says:

    By the way , stick a fork in Fat Boy Ortiz…. he looks Well Done

  14. Sweet Dick Willie says:

    What about when the old stadium is torn down. Might that affect the “wind tunnel”?

    Talk about small sample size.

  15. dkidd says:

    i don’t blame people for freaking out. i’m freaking out. i don’t want my team to have spent billions on a stadium that plays like pre-humidor coors. also, i find the empty seats and corporate atmosphere extremely depressing. can they turn up the fan mics or something? i know i’m being a debbie downer, but so far i love the team, hate the stadium

  16. A.D. says:

    I rather have “wind tunnels” instead of having the great hall dedicated to a player that never played for the Yankees, or even in the Bronx.

    That said I’m not worried either this small sample will prove to be just a small sample, the weather will change, or the Yankees will find a way to alter the wind around the stadium.

  17. Paulie says:

    “This typically occurs during the spring and the middle to late fall.”

    Interesting, playoff baseball is played in the fall. If this theory is true does that mean we will be having this conversation about, “how the ball flies out of the stadium”, when a pitcher gets bombed in Yankee Stadium in the playoffs?

  18. Bo says:

    Whatever it is they need to try and fix it.

  19. cult of basebaal says:

    looks like tonite won’t be the first night home game.

    game called.

    http://yankees.mlb.com/nyy/bal.....update.jsp

    • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops says:

      I blame A-Rod.

    • Hmm… hope this doesn’t push CMW back into a start in Boston, I wanted him to get skipped.

      • A.D. says:

        If they want they can always bring Hughes up to make a spot start and push the rotation around.

      • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops says:

        The A’s are flying back to the West Coast after Wednesday’s game. I hope the Yankees can avoid a doubleheader or a game on Thursday.

        After Saturday I thought it couldn’t get worse, but Wang in Boston? I don’t want to even think about it.

    • Joe R says:

      Anyone know if this pushes the starters back? I was supposed to go CC tomorrow. Hope that doesnt change :(

      • 27 this year says:

        i think Andy will pitch tomorrow just because he has been pitching well and there is no reason to skip him. Plus, CC had a pretty tough start last time (not that bad for him) but I don’t think he had any sort of momentum that could be broken right now but Andy has been in a groove in his two starts.

  20. josh says:

    i dont get why everyone is harping on thw wind thing. the big difference is the straight rf wall. with the curve there is a difference of like 5-10 feet. posadas hr would have been a fly out in the old stadium. no big deal. the opposition benefits just the same.
    i dont get why they put the seats right on the wall though. remember after the jefery meyer thing how crazy they got keeping everyone away from the wall. remember the police. to go through such lengths and then construct a trillion dollar stadium with the same issue as before. the fence being shorter in height wont help with this either. just wait until the playoffs and see what happens. i personally like the fans right up against the wall because it gives the stadium some character but the hoopla surrounding posadas hr will be going on all summer repeatedly

  21. [...] up with why so many home runs have been hit in 6 games (2 exhibition) at the new Yankee Stadium, Mike Axisa of  River Ave. Blues has a great post about one [...]

  22. Tom says:

    Does anyone know how much further a ball will travel with a 10 mph tailwind over 350 feet or so?

  23. Gary says:

    I went to the game Sunday. We walked all the way around the park and from the back of the bleachers at about 12 noon Sunday, it was very windy, with the wind blowing across from left field to right and also blowing in, I thought. Anyway, here are my thoughts on the Stadium: it’s magnificent; we have to fix the problem of too many home runs by perhaps raising the height of the outfield walls. It was perhaps one of the best ten days of my life; I was making homemade buttermilk pancakes for a group of eighth grade girls when I received a call at 9:30 from someone who offered me a ticket to the game; Robert Merrill’s rendition of the National Anthem: 10; the public adddress announcer: 6 (not as clear as I thought he should be); Girardi: 9 (he handled the bullpen like a charm, even though I lost about a month off my life when the Indians loaded the bases and were almost ready to put the game out of reach; food: 9; Girls at the park: 10; I am an Italian American and the entire Stadium on the middle level I was on smells like a sausage sandwich, which can never be bad; the entire day was rather perfect. The Yankees put on the best entertainment value in town. After seeing Kerry Wood throw Posada three 99 MPH bee-bees right down Broadway for a punchout to end the bottom of the eighth, I said, what exactly were the Cubs thinking in not re-signing him? And wouldn’t Wood have made a great Yankee pitching the eighth inning and spelling Mariano Rivera? The day was marred by the simple fact that I never did get to eat any of those buttlemilk pancakes!

  24. Brick Tamland says:

    I don’t get two things… 1) why is it the MLB’s rule to prohibit making stadium alterations intra-season? and 2) Are there potential alterations to the stadium that the Yankees could make that could fix the problem? I really don’t believe that this stadium is somehow now doomed to the fate of Coors Field or the Rangers’ stadium…

  25. [...] is attempting to prove that he can hit outside the cozy confines of Coors Field. Yankee Stadium, wind and all, seems like the perfect place for [...]

  26. [...] . . The stadium I bought the other day surprisingly has a little draft heading out to right field.  So I have the receipt right here . . . can I get the $1.5 billion put back on my credit [...]

  27. [...] worth though, numerous factors are at 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 [...]

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