AccuWeather: Expect more Yankee Stadium HRs

With Bruney down, Yanks might seek bullpen help
CC checking out schools; Coke checking out NJ

Over the weekend in New York, the Phillies and Yankees combined for 12 home runs. With that barrage of long balls for two offensive powerhouses, Yankee Stadium has now witnessed 87 home runs through its first 23 games, and everyone and their uncles are calling the new park a bandbox.

Right now, it’s a little too early to say if — let alone why — the new park is truly a home run haven. With just two home months of the season behind us, we’ll have to assess how the stadium plays after its first full season, but the data is building in favor of the home run. According to Yankee officials, even one year won’t be long enough. They claim the wind patterns and home run effects will change when the old stadium is completely deconstructed.

For what it’s 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 the cause, Yankee pitchers are growing frustrated with it.

Andy Pettitte and his fellow pitchers should get used to it though because the weather is expected to produce even more Yankee Stadium home runs. In a piece printed over the weekend and subsequently updated last night, AccuWeather writer Henry Margusity says that the expected summer humidity in the New York City area should increase the stadium home run totals. As he explains it, because humid air is warmer and less dense than cooler, drier air, the balls should continue to travel out of the stadium.

Margusity’s conclusion though warns us not to blame only the weather. “The reason for the number of home runs at the new Yankee Stadium is still out for debate, but one thing is sure, the weather may not be the entire factor,” he writes. “Maybe it is due to the dimensions of the field, the height of the fences in the outfield, the quality of hitters, or the quality of the pitching (or lack thereof).”

In all likelihood, the home run barrage — if one exists — is going to be due to a combination of those factors he and I have listed here. The Yankees will probably have to reassess the stadium after the season and determine if and how they want to push back the flat walls in left and right field. While a home run-friendly home works to the offense’s advantage, if the pitchers aren’t happy, something just might have to give.

With Bruney down, Yanks might seek bullpen help
CC checking out schools; Coke checking out NJ
  • JackC

    I commend everyone who has pointed out that a few homestands is an insufficient sample size to cull anything definitive from, but we’re fast approaching the point where Occam’s Razor starts to apply and the simplest explanation for the truly freakish spate of home runs is indeed the most likely: something about the ballpark is making it absurdly conducive to home runs. If the ballpark isn’t espcially homer friendly, then the frequency of home runs early on in is the result of a remarkable chain of events that seems mathmatically improbable. What I think it’s far too early to say is WHAT is causing it, let alone the best approach to remedying it.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      My response:

      There’s a reason they cite both one year and three year park effects. Sometimes, some crazy, fluky shit happens for no explicable reason.

      The Ballpark at Arlington’s offensive park factors:

      2002 – 6th best hitters park
      2003 – 6th best hitters park
      2004 – 2nd best hitters park
      2005 – 7th best hitters park
      2006 – 5th best hitters park
      2007 – 13th best PITCHERS park
      2008 – #1 best hitters park

      Why did the Ranger’s home field suddenly pull a 180 and become a great pitcher’s park for one anomalous season, then instantly revert back? I haven’t the foggiest.

      Maybe YS3 is truly Coors Field East. Maybe it’s nothing, and come September, we’ll wonder where all the homers went. It remains to be seen.

      • Some call me…tim

        That 8 year list probably has close to a Brazilian variables there, with over 650 games–jitters, pitchers, teh juice–so when you say who knows, the answer is nobody FOR A GIVEN YEAR. the only thing we can really judge is long term trend, and we’re nowhere near that yet. Every trend does have to start somewhere, and a SSS is where it starts.

        We do have a few things in our favor:
        1. We bat last.
        2. Arod and Tex.
        3. A great crew of supporting hitters.
        4. CC sans heating pad.
        5. The games preeminent ground ball pitcher and 2x 19 game winner.

        Color me not concerned…yet.

        • LiveFromNewYork

          These are the reasons I’m not concerned. If your pitchers and offense are doing their job, the bandbox should work in our favor always.

          • Tony

            This is wrong. A bandbox introduces additional randomness to the result, which does not favor the “superior team”

            • LiveFromNewYork

              how?

              • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                If I follow what he’s saying correctly, he’s proposing that the way the stadium’s been playing, it helps lesser hitters and brings them up a level, possibly negating the advantage the Yankees’ power hitters have.

                • Tony

                  Word.

                  When Carlos Ruiz hits a pop fly to left and it goes over the wall, you’ve created an environment where any ball, from anyone, can go out at anytime. It’s like having the umps flip a coin every third inning to award a bonus run (or two, or three)

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  A part of me agrees with you, but at the same time, the Yankees (finally) have a strikeout-centric rotation (Chamberlain-Sabathia-Burnett) so they can miss bats and they do have a lot more HR threats than most teams.

                • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

                  Not so sure if this is true. This assumes that Ruiz hits more “almost” home runs than the Yankee power hitters, does it not? Meaning, I dont see why lesser players will benefit more from this, I would guess that the Yankees superior players will benefit just as much as the lesser players you fear will benefit.

              • JP

                Tony wrote: “Word…When Carlos Ruiz hits a pop fly to left and it goes over the wall, you’ve created an environment where any ball, from anyone, can go out at anytime. It’s like having the umps flip a coin every third inning to award a bonus run (or two, or three)…”

                Yeah, except Alex Rodriguez and Mark Texiera hit their share of pop flies, which will go over the wall.

                I don’t think it’s logical to assume that randomness will benefit any specific subgroup. By definition, anyone can be affected…and will be effected, more or less equally, over time.

                Bill James wrote something about Fenway once…the old Fenway, where runs were cheap. He had a theory that Fenway, being such a hitters’ park, encouraged the development of “hitting stars” there, particularly players who saw themselves as superstar hitters. These kind of players, he opined, may not be the best sorts of guys to anchor a championship team. Pitchers might be shy about wanting to be traded to or sign with a team with a hitters’ park, too, so the pitching stars tend to stay away.

                James’s theory was that Fenway, perhaps, was the reason that the Red Sox seemed to under-achieve in terms of winning.

                I think, historically, you have a better chance of winning a pennant with a dominant pitching team than a dominant hitting team (presuming the opposite is just average in both instances).

                The Yankees definitely don’t want to have a Coors Field, or even a Fenway-ish park. They need a neutral to slightly pitching-friendly stadium, and I’m sure they’ll take steps to ensure this, once everyone is sure what the deal is with NYS.

            • BklynJT

              We should have the advantage unless…
              1) we are facing an equally hr oriented team (Phillies)
              2) have a hr susceptible pitcher on the mound (Burnett, Hughes, Pettite)

              • ChrisS

                1)
                Not really, a 320-foot home run counts just the same as a 450-footer.

      • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        But wouldn’t the evidence you cited also mean that, assuming YS3 continues to yield homers at an increased rate in 2009, it’s more likely that this season is the rule rather than the outlier (a la 2007 in Arlington)? I mean, there’s a chance it’s an outlier, but it’s not likely.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          I don’t know how we could possibly know if 2009 is the rule or the outlier based on 2009 alone. That’s my point.

          In a dataset of one year, that year is both the rule and the outlier. Because you only have the one year in the set. It’s the high and the low, the normal and the anomaly, the mean, median, and mode.

          • jsbrendog

            exactly, in this situation, since this is year 1, this year could be the 2007 of arlington, meaning thisi s the outlier and the next 6 years will be the norm. you won’t know until you see how many hr have flown out at this point next yr

            • JP

              Well, let’s not get carried away with the Ballpark @ Arligton data TSJC cited.

              The data he cited are rankings. They tell us very little about magnitude of effects, they only tell us the order of things.

              To understand the significance of that difference in rankings, you need to know the spread of all the numbers in the field.

              There are 30 ballparks (right? Or 28?) in MLB. So the Rangers’ park averaged about 6th for offense most of the years, and then one season ranked 17th for offense (if it’s 13th best pitchers’ park, and there are 30 teams, it must be the 17th best hitters’ park…).

              So, in that data set, it moved 11 slots down in the rankings. If there are only fractions of runs separating the teams in the middle of the pack, however, the actual magnitude of the difference for that season may be small. Maybe Arlington’s offense allowed changed a wee bit down (colder than average year, or something), and a few other teams moved a wee bit up. No individual team change would have to be significant in order for one team to move quite a bit in the rankings.

              When is Old Yankee supposed to be officially leveled?

          • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            Right… And I stipulated above that there’s a chance it could be an outlier, but isn’t that chance lower than the chance it’s not an outlier? Say, hypothetically, the average stadium will see an “outlier” season only once every 7 years. Wouldn’t it then follow that YS3’s 2009 would be more likely to be the norm than the outlier? Or am I a dumb-dumb?

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Say, hypothetically, the average stadium will see an “outlier” season only once every 7 years. Wouldn’t it then follow that YS3’s 2009 would be more likely to be the norm than the outlier? Or am I a dumb-dumb?

              No, it wouldn’t follow. There’s no statistical reason to think that the initial season cannot possibly be the outlier.

              I just don’t get how you can have the foreknowledge yet to possibly know that this is the norm season as opposed to the outlier. There’s not statistical way to predict that yet that I’m aware of.

              Outliers are utterly random, meaning they can appear at the beginning, middle, or end of a sequence. There’s no way to predict if the initial appearance of something in a data set is the norm or the outlier; you have to wait until the other seasons in the data set emerge to determine what’s the typical data and what is the atypical data.

              • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                “I just don’t get how you can have the foreknowledge yet to possibly know that this is the norm season as opposed to the outlier. There’s not statistical way to predict that yet that I’m aware of.”

                But I’m not saying it is the norm, I’m saying it’s more likely to be the norm. Is that wrong? I think you’re responding to a different issue than the one my comment addressed. Like… If you and I were to make a bet based on my hypothetical, and I say this season will be proven to be the norm and you say this season will be proven to be the outlier, would I not have a better chance to win that bet than you would? I stipulated, a couple of times, that there’s no way to know whether this season will be proven to be the norm or the outlier, but that’s different than talking about the probability that it’s either the norm or the outlier.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  But I’m not saying it is the norm, I’m saying it’s more likely to be the norm. Is that wrong? I

                  Ah, okay. I see where you’re going now.

                  Yes, there is a greater probability that any one season selected from a dataset would tend to be a typical rather than an atypical season. You are correct in that. If you have 10 pies in an oven, 9 apple and 1 cherry, you are more likely to pull an apple pie out of the oven at random than a cherry pie.

                  The problem with the analogy is, we don’t truly know what ratio of pies there are in the oven. We may have 9 apple pies and 1 cherry pie. We may have 5 apple pies and 5 cherry pies. We may have nothing but mincemeat. That’s the rub with YS3: we have nothing but the small sample size, so we have no choice but to rely on it as being the typical production levels of YS3, and we don’t even have reliable minor league numbers to use, because the comparisons to YS2 are flawed since their not truly the same player/stadium.

                • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Ok, now we’re on the same page. Sorry to belabor the point, I knew I wasn’t saying anything groundbreaking but I just didn’t want to be painted like I was saying something else entirely.

                  “The problem with the analogy is, we don’t truly know what ratio of pies there are in the oven. “

                  Agreed, I was just using the Coors dataset that you provided in your comment above and saying that while, yes, fluctuations certainly exist, that dataset, if anything*, shows that it’s probably more likely that 2009 will represent the norm than the outlier (assuming that the homer rate stays high in YS3 throughout 2009, as I also noted in one of my comments above).

                  *Yes, it’s a dataset from Coors and not YS3, but I’m assuming that most stadiums have somewhat similar ratios of “norm” seasons and “outlier” seasons.

      • Chris

        There’s a difference between being a hitters park and giving up a lot of home runs. Coors field is generally considered the best hitters park in baseball, but it doesn’t give up the most home runs. Things like the amount of room in foul ground can affect run scoring, but won’t have a big impact on home runs.

        • ChrisS

          Things like the amount of room in foul ground…

          Or, as in the case of Coors Field, the extra fair ground. That’s a big park where fly-outs can land between fielders.

  • JP

    Yeah, I think we won’t know for sure until old Yankee is down, but I’d be really, really surprised if we didn’t learn it is a homer park, big time. The difference in the number of homers between this season and last – is it 50% more, or even close to twice as many? – that magnitude of difference is unlikely to have been caused by pure random chance. There is something about the new stadium that is causing homers.

    I hope that when the tear down old Yankee, things will calm down. But maybe there are other reasons.

    Someone said something once about the open concourses, and that it may be allowing air currents to accelerate in the stadium. Makes sense….think about it, if you open one window in your house, very little happens. But open two windows, on opposite walls, and air rushes through. Those open concourses behind the grandstand, and then the big open expanse beyond the fences = jet stream.

    Another thing to consider is stadium height. I read that Fenway is now a very homer-sparse park. They think the new height added to the stadium, both the monster seats and the new expanded upper levels in the grandstand, have decreased wind, etc. If new Yankee is below street level, maybe the low height has something to do with it?

    In any case, I think it’s better, overall, to have your park favor pitchers over hitters slightly, rather than the other way around. Which brings up another matter – homers aren’t everything. Although I think homers are probably the single thing affecting offense the most in a park, it’s possible to be offset by other things. Amount of foul territory, the dimensions cutting down on extra base hits, etc. We need to know the total offensive picture, not just the homer data.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Another thing to consider is stadium height. I read that Fenway is now a very homer-sparse park. They think the new height added to the stadium, both the monster seats and the new expanded upper levels in the grandstand, have decreased wind, etc. If new Yankee is below street level, maybe the low height has something to do with it?

      I wonder if the open slots between the end of the wraparound grandstands and the start of the extended centerfield JumboTron ad billboard complex is creating windtunnels into left and right. The homers seem to land in those sections quite a bit. Perhaps extending those billboards so that they connect to the grandstands and turn the stadium into a fully closed circle will help.

      • http://www.twitter.com/MatthewHarris84 Matt H

        then you will take away a cool feature they carried over from the old stadium, seeing the train go by in rf.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          I have never once watched the train go by and thought to myself, “Wow, that’s cool, I’m watching the train go by!”

          To each his own, I suppose.

          Not having a bandbox >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> getting a view of the 4 train beyond RF

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

            I have, but then again, I write this. I might be biased.

          • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            Yeah I disagree with you here, too. I think the view of the 4 train is kind of a signature aspect of Yankee Stadium. I’d imagine many more people will say seeing the train is a “cool feature” that should be preserved than would disagree.

            • Some call me…tim

              Fenway isn’t homer friendly because they lost two large fixtures.
              Manny and David.

  • pat

    Id sure like to hope our dear Yankee braintrust comissioned some sort of scale model wind test for this sort of thing. I’m thinking we really have to wait until the old stadium is dismantled before any sort of definitive conclusion can be drawn. If 2011 rolls around and the dingers are still leaving at an alarming rate due to some unforseen conditions not tested for then somebody got some splainin to do.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      What is this, a stadium for ants??!?!??!

    • LiveFromNewYork

      even if it’s our dingers?

  • http://www.twitter.com/MatthewHarris84 Matt H

    Ok, so what happens if the yanks say decide to push back the fences to the fans with seats in the eliminated rows?

    Push everyone back? Then what happens to the people in the last few rows…?

    I always thought making the park too big was better than too small, cause it’s a million times easier to come in then to push the fences back.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      If those seats have all been sold as renewable season tickets, some fans will be relocated. If not, those tickets will just drop off the map, and the stadium will have an even lower capacity.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I say we eliminate the bullpens. Have the relievers warm up in the dugout.

    • JP

      Agree with making it too big, so you have room to come in. They shoulda done that.

      I was surprised, actually, to see that they were going with the same dimensions as Yankee Stadium ’08 version.

      I thought with the “retro” theme, they might bring back “death valley” at least to a degree. I’m not saying we need 450 in left center, but maybe push it back out to 410 or so. A compromise between the ’76 renovation dimensions and the ’08 dimensions.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

        The 1976 renovations were shorted in 1988 when the Yanks acquired Jack Clark. So while the Yanks claimed the dimensions at the new park were in line with the traditions of the old stadium, that’s not historically true.

        • JP

          Right–I think everyone knows that, or at least anyone over 35 or so.

          I guess it’s a matter of semantics whether you consider the ’88-’08 vintage dimensions (and as I recall, they moved the left field fences in a few times…they didn’t get to the current dimensions in one season)”traditional.”

          Someone like me who’s been watching for 35 years, and knows of the ’50s and ’60s teams, too, would agree that the current dimensions aren’t “traditional” Yankee Stadium dimensions. But there is certainly alot of memory and tradition around the ’90s era team, and to create the new park with those dimensions isn’t exactly newfangled.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          So while the Yanks claimed the dimensions at the new park were in line with the traditions of the old stadium, that’s not historically true.

          Recent history is still part of history, you know.

          If I was to make a G.I. Joe doll and say it was “historically accurate”, I could use the 1950’s 12” action figure or the 1980’s 4” action figure and not only would they both be historically accurate, the opposite doll would seem somewhat historically inaccurate to the opposite generation. The kids of the 1950’s would find 4” G.I. Joe dolls puny and a bastardized version of their favorite toy, and kids from the 1980’s would find the 12” dolls clumsy and a comically large traveshamockery of their favorite toy.

          The problem with history: there’s a lot of it.

  • Usty

    Sitting in NYS on Sunday out in section 406, I was checking out the flags around the roof of the stadium and EVERY SINGLE ONE was blowing out. I have no idea how that occurs naturally to have flags behind home blowing straight out to center, 1st base side straight to right and 3rd base side straight to left. It was the first time in my 4 games there I noticed this, probably because it was first time in the upper deck not under the overhang, but it was pretty amazing to see.

    • Some call me…tim

      Once Joe G gets the hang of these stupid on off switches for the fans and quits leaving them on all the time, it’ll work itself out.

      I went to use THE ATM from my seats in right under the overhang where there was no wind, to behind home plate.

      I was STUNNED at the amount of air movement as I got closer to home. Then Damon got thrown out and I forgot everything.

  • LiveFromNewYork

    I think they need to wait until the old Stadium is down and also to see what else is affecting it. Adjustments will be made. I think that some of the hysteria is premature and a bit stupid. I think that the Yankees recognize some missteps with the new park and they will rectify it. I think they fell too much in love with the things that ARE awesome about the new Stadium and overlooked some of the issues. But they had intended, from the beginning, to make adjustments and see how things played out. I’m sure it’s a process. But SCREAMING “BANDBOX!!!” when opposing hitters are making balls fly out isn’t helping matters at all.

    • JP

      Well…under most circumstances I’d agree with you that the first 20-25 games in a park is a pretty small sample on which to base firm conclusions.

      Rob Neyer et al have gotten everyone hip to the statistical issue of “sample size.”

      But for those of us who use statistics on a daily basis, I can tell you that the stronger a given effect is, the smaller the sample size you need to be able to conclude whether it’s real or not.

      I’m not saying I know for sure that we’ve reached a sufficient sample size, but the magnitude of the homer effect is striking.

      Per this NY Post article (which is a crappy, anti-Yankee laced article, but I assume the stated facts are correct), there were 75 homers hit in 20 games in the new stadium. There were 160 hit in 81 games last year. This means the homer pace is approximately twice what it was last season.

      It’s hard to imagine that this degree of difference is just random.

      Again, I’m not saying I know for a fact that the stadium is a “band box,” but statistically speaking, small sample size and all, it’s a very compelling trend.

      Now, does that mean that it might not go down to “normal,” or even below normal, when Old Yankee is demolished? Sure, it might.

      I hope so, anyway.

      • LiveFromNewYork

        I think that if they were reacting to the small sample size they’d regret it when the wind patterns change and when they haven’t completed a season. I think there’s no cause for alarm even if the small sample size shows NYS to be a home run derby

  • Bo

    As long as we keep winning this won’t be an issue til after the season.

  • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    This point is (1) not confined to a discussion of YS3, but it’s tangentially related to this discussion, and (2) will be wildly unpopular I’m sure, but here goes nothing… I’ve always found it a little strange that baseball does not have standardized field dimensions. The size of the field has a direct effect on the outcome of the competition, and no two stadiums have the same dimensions. I get that the stadiums are all unique little snowflakes and we love that about them… But really, shouldn’t baseball just grow up and pass a standard field-size rule?

    (I apologize if this is too off-topic, I thought it’s relevant, if only tangentially.)

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Definitely not off-topic.

      I’ve been talking about this with various people at games this year. I wonder the same thing but I think it allows for individuality and randomness. Those old cookie cutter ballparks were all “the same,” and they were terrible.

      At YS3, I’ve noticed that the warning tracks are rather large. That, to me, is what MLB could standardize.

      • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        The cookie-cutter, multi-purpose parks were certainly not well-liked, but I really don’t see how that applies to a discussion of field dimensions. Those parks didn’t have identical-sized playing fields, and the size of their playing fields were not among the reasons those parks were not well-liked. Also, there ARE parks that are well-liked that have cookie-cutterish (i.e. same dimensions in left and right) outfields.

        I agree with the idea of regulating the other stuff on the fields, like the warning tracks… Toss the stupid “old-timey” dirt-path from the mound to the plate into that discussion too. And, clearly, things like the hill in CF in Houston HAVE to go. I can’t believe MLB allows that to exist.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          It’s an idea worth merit. Here’s my knee-jerk monkey-wrench in the equation: outdoor sports have a natural expectation of varied play. Even if you standardize the field, you don’t standardize the actual non-human variable nature of gameplay, because you have other geographic variables such as humidity, air density, altitude, air temperature, humidity, etc. And then you add in the fact that some stadiums are indoors and some are outdoors.

          It’s a bit of a red herring to say that since you can’t level the playing field in way X, then you shouldn’t attempt to level it in way Y, but my initial reaction is that the standardization of field dimensions won’t really change much, may even have the converse effect of exacerbating park effect discrepancies. JMHO.

          I agree with the idea of regulating the other stuff on the fields, like the warning tracks… Toss the stupid “old-timey” dirt-path from the mound to the plate into that discussion too. And, clearly, things like the hill in CF in Houston HAVE to go. I can’t believe MLB allows that to exist.

          There, I’ll agree with you. I’m all for distinctive ballpark design elements, but some things go too far. If we had put Monument Park back in play, the league would have thrown a shitfit, and rightly so. The hill in Houston is an oddity for oddity’s sake, and it should be removed.

    • Stephen

      My friends that are not huge baseball friends have been asking me that a lot lately. I like it; it’s unique to baseball and it’s something that’s always been part of the game.

    • The Lodge

      Even if was the case, there would still be variability in elevation, weather, field orientation, proximity to geographic features (oceans, rivers, mountains etc.) or other buildings, sun angles, hours of daylight, and many other things that would have some degree of influence on the way a ball travels through the air.

      • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Yeah, sure, but that’s true of any sport, and baseball’s the only one that allows teams to build their playing surface with whatever dimensions they see fit.

        And, saying that baseball should have some sort of standardized system for determining field dimensions doesn’t necessarily mean every field would be the same shape. They could have some sort of system for determining cities with “special needs,” such as Denver, and then doing periodic studies to determine the appropriate placement of the fences based on park factors like elevation. Whatever, I’m not sure how it would work, but to just let the teams determine what their playing surface will look like and how big it is just always struck me as strange and I think there’s probably a reasonable way to deal with it. (I don’t expect any of this to ever happen, it’s just my insane internal rantings coming out today.)

        • The Lodge

          I see. I think an interesting case is how the Rox started having the ball kept in a humidor. It didn’t erase the problem, but at least it was mitigated to some extent.
          I wonder how much variability there is because of the ball and where the teams store them. You wouldn’t think drying out the ball would make such a drastic difference in how the game plays – but in CO, it did.

    • Chris

      Identical field dimensions does not lead to identical results. Petco park and Coors field have similar dimensions, but wildly different results.

      • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Well of course, but I’m not saying they should have identical results. There are a million different factors that will determine the results of the games. I just think it’s strange that baseball allows the size of the playing surface to be such a random factor. I mean, hockey teams aren’t allowed to build smaller rinks so they can play a more physical, defensive-minded game. Football teams can’t lengthen the field if they have an amazing passing game that they’re sure will play to their advantage on a bigger field the best place-kicker ever on their roster. Of course weather and other factors play a role in the game, they play a role in every sport, but baseball is the ONLY sport that allows the playing-field to be random and to be altered by the teams themselves.

    • JP

      Great question. Well, every team plays the game on the same field with their opponent that day, so it’s “fair” in that sense.

      But you have a point that if fields aren’t identical, there is the possibility that a team could obtain an unfair advantage, whether deliberate or not, based on the parks in which they play their games in a given season.

      Standardizing the ballparks would do a great deal to reduce this possibility, but there is no way to eliminate it.

      Unless you mandated domes everywhere, and standardized temperature, barometric pressure, and wind/air circulation, you could never guarantee equal conditions in every park.

      Even football is subject to huge variations in playing conditions, all due to weather and field composition differences.

      I think there is a distinction to be made between a sport and a game. A game is something you play, such as a board game, where you are creating a miniature reality and are controlling every variable. Sports are leisure activities played outdoors, in nature, and are subject to vagaries of climate, the land, etc.

      It isn’t 100% fair, but it’s definitely more fun and more appealing (to me anyway) to have some variation in how and where the game is played.

      I think some of the surge in baseball popularity in the late 80’s through today has to do with the charming new ballparks which have been built.

      So I vote “no, don’t make standardized dimensions.”

      • whozat

        vagaries of climate, the land, etc.

        What if they weren’t allowed to change anything about the land?

        “Oh…sorry…yeah, there’s a peat bog out in left-center…just try to pitch around that. And the sharp cliff in right that Sheffield’s career took a header off of.”

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          “And the sharp cliff in right that Sheffield’s career took a header off of.”

          http://www.instantrimshot.com

          (I would have went with Ortiz, but that’s me.)

        • JP

          Peat bog…LOL

          Well, in some circumstances, they create artificial differences, like the “ramp” in Enron/Minute Maid…that’s a lousy example because it probably doesn’t affect much.

          Yeah, it would be funny to have a patch of quicksand behind third base or something….my point was that some stadiums have harder ground than others, different grasses, different mowing heights, different warning track material, different dirt, probably different pitches (I assume fields are pitched somewhat for drainage), etc.

          Even the things that look the same in ballparks still vary from park to park, and unless you mandated some standardized dome, field composition, etc., you couldn’t have the “fair” situation that the original poster was asking about.

          • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            “Even the things that look the same in ballparks still vary from park to park, and unless you mandated some standardized dome, field composition, etc., you couldn’t have the “fair” situation that the original poster was asking about.”

            I think I’ve been pretty careful to point out that I don’t think every stadium would ever play the same way due to weather and other “park factors” that will never be standard. My point was, and is, that having standardized field sizes would be more fair, though, not that it would somehow, magically, make every park play exactly the same and thus be completely “fair.”

            Some football teams play in domes, some play outside, Some play on natural grass, some play on Field Turf. Some play in Houston and some play in Seattle. Obviously there are always factors at play other than field-size. But that’s not a good reason to let teams determine their field-size willy-nilly. All football teams play on the same-sized field. Standard field dimensions, or at least some regime attempting to create somewhat standard field-sizes, would make the game more fair.

            Why do all baseball teams play on the same-sized infield? Because to allow teams to create their own infield dimensions would be silly and unfair (and would affect the integrity of the competition), right? Is it not more fair to have standard dimensions in the infield? Then why not in the outfield?

    • A.D.

      I believe that the measurements do need to be approved by MLB, so a team can’t do something too redic, though obviously there are still huge differences between parks.

      I’ve had this same debate with friends/family before and basically felt it came down to character, being able to fit the ball park in the space provided, and maybe what made sense for the team (i.e. in San Fran making so Bonds could hit splash down HR). Personally I like the different parks, and even with standardization the difference between altitudes & weather in different parts of the country would still change things.

      • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        “I believe that the measurements do need to be approved by MLB, so a team can’t do something too redic, though obviously there are still huge differences between parks.”

        I was kind of waiting for someone to make this point. There’s a pretty obvious rebuttal – If MLB has the ability to review/approve plans, but has never done anything other than rubber-stamp plans submitted to it, does MLB’s ability to review/approve plans really matter? I don’t think it does. I mean, the Astros have a f*cking obstacle course in center field. If MLB approved that (or the crazy dimensions and fence-heights in any number of other ballparks), I think it’s pretty tough to argue that MLB’s review/approval process has any meaningful purpose, or any role at all in actually affecting the playing surfaces in the ballparks.

        I understand there are parks that were built with strange dimensions in order to fit into their physical environments, like Fenway and other older parks. Obviously I’d have no problem grandfathering those parks in if some new regime for determining field-size were developed. But I think there’s a big difference between teams building parks to suit the physical environment, like Fenway, and teams building quirky fields just for the hell of it.

        Whatever, sorry to waste everyone’s time with this silly discussion. It’s not like this is ever going to change, so it doesn’t really matter and it’s not really worth anyone’s time.

        • A.D.

          Its not silly discussion it’s an interesting point, and I mainly brought the approval point, because, while obviously we’ve seen a ton of new parks that aren’t the same at all and I’ve never heard of MLB denying something (though I believe SF might have wanted the RF wall closer for Bonds and then didn’t do it, but that could have been a rumor) it still should be noted that some approval process does exist.

          Otherwise I think the teams & MLB like the different parks, it add to fans desire to go see Fenway, or Citizens Bank, or PetCo, etc.

          • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            Yeah, I hear you, people definitely like the fact that the parks are different. I, of all people, get that (I made the pilgrimage to all the stadiums). I know I’m fighting a losing fight in this discussion, I just think it’s interesting. I mean… I think, when looking at this as a purely theoretical discussion in a vacuum, that the fields should be somewhat standardized, but I get why they’re not and that they never will be.

        • JP

          It’s not silly or stupid. Not trying to flame you or anything, it’s just a really interesting topic that people like to talk about.

          I think one of the problems with your question is that it’s sort of a straw man argument. Like I said in my first reply, it’s possible that a team might get an unfair advantage due to where they play their games…but whether in fact this actually happens is another story.

          Given the degree of charm and variety we get from having 30 different stadiums, I think you have to first prove that there is a definite element of unfairness before you can argue for standardized dimensions.

          A knowledgable baseball friend told me that all the nooks and crannies of Citi Field (which he calls “Debits Field” LOL) will probably encourage triples. Building a stadium that encourages running on the basepaths is, I think, a good thing. Maybe there will be more triples at Citi, which would be exciting. Then again, maybe people will be tempted to run more, and there will be more outfield assists, which is also more exciting.

  • BklynJT

    I’m sorry but small sample size or NOT, once a broken bat ball clears the right field wall, YS3 officially became a bandbox.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      Except it cleared the left field wall.

      • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        And travelled over 400 feet.

    • Chris

      No, to be officially called a bandbox the broken BAT needs to clear the right field wall.

    • A.D.

      Manny hit a broken bat HR into LF/LF Center in YS2, therefore I guess it’s a bandbox too.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Physics fail! A bat can break and the resultant force can still be strong enough to power a baseball over the outfield wall. Teixeira’s broken-bat home run isn’t the first of its kind, and it certainly won’t be the last.

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        It was still awesome.

    • UWS

      I’m pretty sure it was mentioned about 1,000 times over the weekend that Andruw Jones did the same thing with Atlanta a couple of years back. Is Turner Field a bandbox*?

      *Actually, I have no idea. Is it?

    • JP

      Yeah–you hear alot about “broken bat” hits and how a player had to be “so strong to muscle it out of the infield.”

      Well, sorry, but this is just more BS.

      Yes, most, in fact nearly all the time a baseball bat breaks as a result of striking the ball, the energy transfer to the ball will be weak.

      But not all the time. Texiera’s homer may have received a little help from YS’s tendencies, but if you think stadium effects can transform a weak, broken bat flare to the SS, like you see with a pitcher like Rivera, into a homer, you are mistaken. And if you think it’s impossible to break your bat and still hit a ball 400 feet, you’re mistaken as well.

      I don’t know the physics of broken bat/ball collisions, but I’m sure it’s possible in some circumstances for the ball to still get plenty of energy even when the bat breaks. Maybe it depends where the bat broke. Maybe most broken bats are on collisions on the trademark, handle, or very tip of the bat, but in this instance, for some reason, the bat broke on a flush barrell collision. Maybe the bat had a hairline flaw that was finally torn open by that swing.

      I had a fairway wood (metal wood) once that I hit and cracked the face. The golf pro was on the range with me and I gave it to him and he striped two really, really long fairway wood shots with this club which clearly had a broken face before it deteriorated so much that it didn’t hit the ball anywhere. Not sure what this has to do with Tex’s homer, but it’s interesting….

    • jsbrendog

      that’s the maple bat’s fault and teixeira’s large biceps and triceps and overall manliness, not the park.

      • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Lol… Calm down there, slugger.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Bernie Williams, the most feared hitter of his generation, once hit a broken bat homer in an exhibition game.

          Unspectacular, you say? The bat he was using was aluminum.

          • JP

            No, he used a Gibson Les Paul to hit that homer, and it broke at the 16th fret.

        • jsbrendog

          he squeezes orange juice just by looking at the oranges. ha..

          maybe i should sit the next couple plays out…

    • Rich

      Jack Howell cleared the RF wall with a broken bat homer back in 1987, Teixeira’s was to LF.

      The ball was juiced in 1987

  • anonymous

    The Yankees wont play in a bandbox. If this keeps up all year you have to believe in the offseason they will adjust the stadium. Either try closing up some of the open air walls in the stands or even extending the wall back and removing some seats.

  • Some call me…tim

    just quit, Cash-man isn’t LEGALLY allowed to change anything.

    Boras negotiated it this way to gah-ron-tee Arod hits 1,000 homers.

  • kSturnz

    I wonder how it will play without YSII next door. it has to be responsible for some wind swirling if that is the case

    • Tony

      I’m 85% sure the YS2 thing is a lame excuse to cover their asses for the time being. They apparently didn’t know how the most basic winds would travel through YS3… what makes anyone think they knew YS2 would cause X to happen to YS3, but Y would happen 10 months later when YS2 is finally demolished?

  • Brendo

    I could care less how the staduium plays if the wins are coming like they are. There’s nothing they or anyone can do now anyway so get over it.