Yanks mum on new stadium HR fixes

T-Kep on A-Jax
It's June: Let the trade talks commence

As the Yankees return home today, attention once again turns to the home run haven that is the new Yankee Stadium. While overall offensive numbers are not showing a marked increase at the new home, the total number of balls leaving the yard has skyrocketed.

A few days ago, Yanks GM Brian Cashman danced around the issue, and today, Anthony McCarron revisits the case of the home run-happy stadium. The gist of McCarron’s piece is basically that the Yankees are aware of the problem and are looking into it. They will not, however, comment publicly on any studies or solutions, and the team has told Populous, the new name for HOK Sports, to say nothing about it.

For his part, Brian Cashman again denied knowing much about the potential for change at the new stadium. While admitting that the ball is “clearly flying here more than it used to,” he could not tell McCarron why. “It’s not something I’m even thinking about,” Cashman said of any potential renovations to the new home. “Most of the home runs are launched, so I don’t know. We can’t move the subway line.”

Meanwhile, baseball insiders are blaming everything but the stadium. “I think we have a juiced-ball issue that can randomly happen year-to-year,” Cashman said. As home runs are up by nearly 90 percent at new Yankee Stadium and not nearly as much across the league, I find the ball theory hard to believe.

“I think the ball is wound tighter,” added Bowa. “I don’t have documentation to verify it. But the game is cleaner now — the steroids got guys more distance. Fans love home runs and now maybe you can keep homers in the game this way.”

On the flip side of the issue, meteorologists and architects have questioned the Yankees’ claims that the presence of the old stadium has impacted wind patterns in unexpected ways. “Anytime you have large buildings next to each other, you create wind conditions. But these are great, great big buildings. It really takes a lot to effect changes in wind patterns,” Ron Labinski, one of the architects who helped plan the new stadium, said to McCarron. Labinski suggested, albeit tongue-in-cheek, a big fan for right field.

Tom Kines at Accuweather, though, had more to say on the wind issue:

Added Tom Kines, a senior meteorologist for AccuWeather.com: “It’s not like the old Stadium is 500 feet higher or anything like that. I wouldn’t have thought of that as a solution.”

Kines believes the angle of the new Stadium’s stands — they are not as steep as the old park — causes westerly winds to push balls toward the outfield. Some have speculated that the open concourse — something the new Stadium shares with Citizens Bank Park — contributes to the wind, but Kines was unsure whether enclosing the concourses would change anything.

“Other than raising the fences or moving them back, which would both obviously affect seating, I don’t know what their options are, other than finding the best pitching you can get,” Kines said.

I’m currently working on a piece that will look at how many of the home runs hit at new Yankee Stadium would have been out across the street, and the numbers show a significant and meaningful change brought about by the straight wall at the new park. While the wind is a contributing factor, and while it sounds as though the Yankees will address this issue after the season, the simple fix may just be to curve the right field wall. After all, the stadium is supposed to have the same dimensions as the one across the street did. Right now, it does not.

T-Kep on A-Jax
It's June: Let the trade talks commence
  • thebusiness

    Curving the wall might help some of the HRs that just get out, but not the overall problem. If you check hittracker, there are a lot of balls aided by wind, but it isn’t anything outrageous. I’d see how things play out over the season.

    • homers4homer

      its like everyone is overlooking one major point…The exterior of the stadium. The old yankee stadium had almost solid walls with relatively small windows where there is no visual sight of the field from outside the ball park. Even when buying food you were pretty much blocked off from the field of play. The new stadium walls consist of large arch ways which air from outside the stadium can enter freely (if your confused look at pictures of the great hall). Now add the fact that you can pretty much see the field of play from the concession areas and rotundas this causes air blowing at the level of the stadium, toward the outfield. There is also the idea that the upper levels of the stadium have a solid wall encircling them and you have wind from lower levels moving toward the outfield as well as moving up and you have almost the opposite effect as the old stadium which had wind circling and mainly blowing from the open outfield toward the infield…I dont know if this makes sense to anyone else but figured Id through some other explaination rather than moving the wall back…Mainly cause most of the home runs that are hit are clearing the wall by 10-15 seats not just making it over

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

        “its like everyone is overlooking one major point…The exterior of the stadium.”

        Seriously? The exterior of the building and the concourses and their effects on wind–flow have been discussed ad nauseum, and were even mentioned in the post you’re responding to.

        • andrew

          Ah my bad, you beat me to it Mondesi

      • andrew

        its like everyone is overlooking one major point…The exterior of the stadium.

        Some have speculated that the open concourse — something the new Stadium shares with Citizens Bank Park — contributes to the wind, but Kines was unsure whether enclosing the concourses would change anything.

        Who is overlooking the concourse issue? it was clearly stated in the article.

  • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

    Ben, I’m curious to see the piece you mention in the last paragraph.

    Based on the games I’ve been to, it seems to me that the straight and shorter wall in right field is really to blame, more than any weather/wind factor. Of course, that’s just my anecdotal impression. I would love to see documentation that backs up my suspicion.

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

      How much does the straight wall vs. the curved wall really change the dimensions, though?

      We’re talking about, what, one or two rows of seats, tops, right? Or am I under-eyeballing it?

      My anecdotal recollections tell me most of these homers are 3-10 rows deep, or in the second deck. I think somehow re-curving the wall would shave of a tiny fraction of these homers.


      • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

        I’d say 3 rows at the biggest point, but, again, just guessing.

        It’s also the height of the wall.

        I feel like in the games I’ve been to, I’ve seen some homers disappear over the little fence. It’s felt like they’d be outs or doubles across the street.

        But, and I can’t stress this enough (obviously), it’s just my feeling. I’d love to see a breakdown of the measurements to see.

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

        I think you have to take the height of the wall into account, too. I know it’s not a HUGE difference, but the combo of the wall being, in some places, close to 10 feet closer as well as being shorter makes it easier to poke one over that right field wall. I think you might have to add a row or two of seats to that analysis to account for the height of the wall.

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


          However, I don’t know how you fix that without radically changing the seating arrangement. The low wall and proximity to the field is precisely what makes those seats desirable.

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

            This is above my pay grade… But I actually think the height of the wall is something they could play with in the offseason relatively easily. Raise the height of the wall, remove the seats in RF temporarily while you pour some concrete and raise the whole section up a foot or two, and you’re there (with some other alterations to make it work, I’m sure). Now, pushing the fence back further and dealing with ticket-holders… that’s another issue altogether.

            Actually… Sorry this comment is all over the place, thinking as I type… But if the Yankees were to remove, say, 3 or 4 rows from the front of that RF section and push the wall back into the new space created, wouldn’t the wall be taller already, without having to deal with raising the floor-level of that seating area? The third row is a couple of feet above the first row, so the wall would automatically be taller to reach the new front-row in that section.

      • andrew

        This article is fairly comprehensive: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/21/sports/baseball/21homeruns.html

        The biggest difference is exactly at the center of Section 103 (the one closest to the right-field bullpen), where the new park is nine feet shorter (359 feet in the new, 368 feet in the old)

        “On average, along the straight section of the right-field fence, the new park is five and a half feet closer than the old park. Once you go past the end of the straight segment of the wall towards center field, that’s where the new park becomes deeper.”


        Greg Rybarczyk, who runs the Web site hittrackeronline.com, said 6 of the 14 homers hit to right field would not have been out at the old Stadium. (written after the first series against the Indians)

        Hope this helps.

  • Whizzo The Wize

    Whizzo finds the straight-wall-theory to be credible.

    Whizzo is also quite cognizant of the fact that the Yankees have yet to play a single game past May 24 in their new home.

    Give it time, give it time.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Amen Whizzo, amen.

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

      Hey Whizzo, did you see me name-drop you in the previous thread?


      • Whizzo The Wize

        Whizzo has never played cards with Ricky Henderson.

        Whizzo did once bring Ricky Whizzo’s finest, second cheapest, bottle of champale in the midst of a 16-0 drubbing at the hands of the Atlanta Braves. Whizzo believes it was July 2, 1999.

        Ricky still owes Whizzo $1.97 for that champale.

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

          Martini and Rossi, Asti Spumante/
          When you’ve got good taste, it shoooooooows!

  • Melissa Cole

    I remember wayyy back in Nov/Jan or Feb I asked one you guys if there would be a different wind factor in the new stadium in one of the 2pm Friday chats. Although you guys answered the question it was disregarded with a “well its only across the street, so how could it change that much?” answer. Whose the smart guy now huh?

    • Corey

      if you had all the answers why didn’t you go to the yanks then? so the answer is still : Them > you

    • Mike HC

      Yes, the RAB writers should have looked into their crystal balls and told you exactly what was going to happen. How stupid could they be for not blindly assuming the new stadium would be a homerun haven for the first 1/3 of the season.

  • JP

    It’s an interesting math problem….how much do you have to move a wall in order to have an effect on homeruns? It would seem like you’d have to move the fences ALOT to have a big effect, but you never know until you study it.

    Personally, I think there has to be a wind issue. Whether it’s the old stadium, the shape of the grandstand, or the open concourses, I think there must be more favorable winds in the new stadium.

    If it were rabbit baseballs, wouldn’t it be happening league-wide? From what I’ve read, homers are the same as last year, league wide.

    • SouthernYankeeFan

      I dunno there were what? 4 Home runs hit in PETCO last night.

    • donttradecano

      Ive read the opposite, that HRs are up league wide.

  • JP

    If Chuck Knoblauch hits a fly ball down the right field line in NYS, and nobody is in the stands, does it clear the fence?

  • MikeD

    The Yankees need to see to what level this continues over the season, especially after the old Stadium is removed. It may have no impact, but they’ll need to see.

    Curving the walls and making them as high as the old Stadium will reduce the HRs partially, but I’m not sure by how much. I suggest not worrying about it since there is nothing that can be done in season. Sit back and enjoy the season of the HR at the new Stadium!

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

    Re: The wall height.

    Does anyone know the change in wall height? I was under the impression the walls were the same height as at the old park. I can’t find info to confirm or deny.

    • Mike HC

      This from Waswatching.com:

      “The fence distances are not the only difference: in a few places, the fence is shorter (particularly the right field corner). A typical conversion factor for fence height to distance is that lowering a fence by 1 foot is roughly equal to moving it 0.84 feet closer to home plate. So, with the right field fence being a couple feet shorter in the new park, this is like moving it in a foot and a half or so. Minor, but I thought I’d mention it.”

  • Kered Retej

    My question in all of this is with the amount of money that went into the stadium, why weren’t wind effects, etc. modeled during the design phase?

    I don’t know what state of the art computer modeling technology is right now, but I would have thought you could build up a reasonable physics model for how the new stadium would behave, and in particular, the expected HR rate. In a sport like baseball where the wind can have dramatic effects, it seems like this should be standard practice? Or am I wrong, and computers are still not up to the task?

    • Clayton

      I can guarantee that Populous (HOK Sports) would have created an aerodynamic model of the field during the development stage of the stadium. It is not something beyond the ability of computers to model. I think that is why the Yankees are being so quiet on the issue; either they know it will change when the old stadium comes down or someone made a mistake in the modeling.

  • Jaysun

    Can we stop making such a big deal about the Homers at the stadium. Surely if the team is winning we should not be worrying about it. Also per MLB rules, A Stadium can not be modifyed during the season, it would have to wait. So put it at rest until October after a Yankees WS win(Hopefully)

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

      No. Apparently some People think it’s an interesting Topic.

  • MikeD

    It’s sort of an interesting topic, but not that interesting (at least to me), since there is nothing that can be done in seasons. So, at least for 2009, it is what it is.

    Question: Let’s say the new Yankee Stadium sets a record for HRs, at least in the AL this year, yet they win the World Series. Will anyone, including the Yankees, want to change anything?

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

      Yes. If the Yankees win the WS in 2009 it will not be because there were a record number of HRs hit in Yankee Stadium.

  • tim randle

    This is JoeG’s fault…if he hadn’t bent his Wang early in the season, many MANY of this little dingers never would have made it…

  • Brendo

    This is almost as annoying to read and listen to as Joba/Pen crap.

  • dark1p

    I think all of these home runs are disgraceful. The Yanks should push the walls back and make them higher so only the average amount of HRs are hit.

    Then, the media should get on the Red Sox for that piece of crap in left field–grossly distorting BAs and number of doubles hit. And that Pesky pole! Certainly, too pesky in terms of the possible abuse by lefthanded hitters. Fix it, guys!

    And what’s with that goofy niche in Baltimore? Let’s go, Birds, straighten out the walls. No more extra bases on weird bounces!

    For that matter, why not run atmospheric tests at EVERY ballpark and change the field dimensions accordingly so only an ‘average’ number of home runs and other extra-base hits will be hit at each park! Furthermore, we should use statistical analysis to add HRs to Joe DiMaggio’s total given the old Death Valley, and take away from Ted Williams’ BA for playing in that statistically distorting bandbox up there.

    Babe Ruth? You must be kidding me. That short porch in the original stadium was completely unfair. Dock the sucker a hundred homers!

    Let’s make everything the same and no longer have parks that are easier or harder to go long in. Start testing the d$@##ed infields, too. That hard dirt is a no-no! So is that artificial turf!!

    …Cripes, this new stadium HR discussion has got to be one of the dumbest things I’ve seen the Sox-friendly members of the media cook up yet…and people fall for it–sadly, even Yankee fans…

  • Thom Madura

    Did it ever occur to anyone that they might actually want to take back all the home run records?

  • nilnil

    Another article gave more detail:

    “On average, Rybarczyk said, 30 percent of home runs make it by 10 feet or fewer. ”

    “Right field, such a flashpoint for the new Yankee Stadium complainants, has seen eight home runs travel 350 feet or less. The total for the other 29 stadiums: 36. Which means 19 percent of piddling homers this year took place in one part of one stadium”

    “there could be some [mostly unquantifiable] psychological factors at work as well,” Rybarczyk wrote. “Hitters are probably more relaxed about just putting the bat on the ball and hitting it where it’s pitched, while pitchers are probably tense about not leaving a pitch up toward right field.”

  • Gary

    1. Make the walls five feet deeper; two feet higher.

    2. Raise the mound one inch.

    • Gary

      1. Make the walls five feet deeper; two feet higher.

      2. Raise the mound one inch across baseball.