The home run that shouldn’t have been

Eric Hinske 'having a great time being a Yankee'
Kennedy tosses from a mound, but '09 return unlikely

It’s no secret that the New Yankee Stadium is a bit … um … hitter friendly, and we’ve certainly seen more than a few balls barely carry over the right field fence for cheap homers. Well, it turns out that Mark Teixeira‘s home run Sunday night against Boston – you know, the one that gave the team the lead in the 8th while simultaneous crushing the heart of the Nation – would have been a home run in exactly zero parks under normal conditions according to Hit Tracker. Apparently the ball hung up so long that it gained an extra 37 feet of distance due to wind, pushing it over the fence. Hey, Boston was playing with the same conditions, so they can’t complain.

Don’t think this is something isolated to the Bronx, because Jason Bay hit a dinger in Fenway last night that also would have been a homer in zero parks under normal conditions. The Monster definitely gives more than it takes away.

Eric Hinske 'having a great time being a Yankee'
Kennedy tosses from a mound, but '09 return unlikely
  • http://www.retire21.org Mike R. – Retire 21

    They should name the seats on the monster after Pedroia. What do you think of “The Keebler Treehouse”?

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      Actually, I kind of like it.

      It’s a name that could be embraced by fans of both teams, Yanks insultingly, Sox defiantly.

  • Chris

    Wasn’t that Tex home run the one that landed in the second deck?

    • JohnnyC

      They’re saying it was so high that wind currents added 37 feet in distance to it. Apparently, certified meteorologists have mapped the wind currents in the new Stadium. Apparently.

      • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

        I’m thinking this is more of an isolated incident than a common one.

        I’m still not sold on the bandbox theory. Any stahead worth his/her salt would tell you that you need to wait three years before reaching anyconclusions. I think there was just this weird one in a million thing where we hit tons of home runs in the first half. I doubt we see the ballpark play like that again.

        • andrew

          The pace hasn’t really slowed down much in the second half.

          • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

            Really, because they said it did on the air more than once.

        • Chris

          Any stahead worth his/her salt would tell you that you need to wait three years before reaching any conclusions.

          No. You need a large sample size to determine accurately the magnitude of the increase. It’s obvious from the data that the stadium give up more home runs, the only question is how many more. Here is the home/away splits for the Yankees the last two years:

          2009:
          Home: 25.4 PA/HR
          Away: 34.1 PA/HR

          2008:
          Home: 38.8 PA/HR
          Away: 38.2 PA/HR

          This counts both HR hit and given up. If there are no more home runs at Yankee stadium for the rest of the year, it would still be ahead of last years home run rate.

          • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

            Understood, but the reason you wait three years is because three years is supposedly a lrge enoguh sample size to determine if this is a lfuke year for HR’s in the ballpark or if it’s more of an average HR Park.

            You need to wait three years to make sure all variables are accounted for as well. What if removing the Old Stadium changes things?

            • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

              Typo fix time:

              Three typos: *large* *enough* *fluke*

              • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

                Also, what if next year for some reaso there is a below average amount of HR’s hit here?

                Unlikely? Very. But it could happen. Which is why you wait three years.

                • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

                  *reason*

                • http://nothingnewunder.... godfather

                  my god, now the statheads are “uncovering” windblown homers? these have been occurring like forever

  • JohnnyC

    “The Monster definitely gives more than it takes away.”

    Marcus Thames says Hi!

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      Bucky Dent too.

  • A.D.

    If I’m understand this right it means the HR was ~350, but 37 was “Yankee stadium wind”, thus it would be ~313 ft HR, assuming there was no wind?

    • whozat

      I think that’s the meaning, yeah.

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      313 should still make it out of this ballpark in RF.

      • A.D.

        Even if there is a “wind tunnel” effect, that means there has to be some wind to begin with, the stadium doesn’t physically create weather, therefore there would have to be some bit of wind…even 5ft worth of wind and its out in YSII

        • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

          I wasn’t making a joke about the stadium. It’s 313 to the RF wall in both ballparks.

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

            314.

            • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

              Oh.

              Never mind then.

  • Salty Buggah

    So Tex did hit a cheapie? WOW, I never thought I’d see the day considering he hits bombs. That HR was a bomb too if you don’t consider the atmospheric conditions.

    Im sure Johnny Damon and Jeter absolutely love playing here.

  • JohnnyC

    Have they also considered local gravity? Those conditions in the new Stadium also contributed to the height of Teixeira’s measly pop up, I’m sure.

    • The Lodge

      Are you inferring that a local gravimetric anomaly caused by the underlying geologic formation (Schist as I recall) may have an impact on the weight of the ball?

      Or that the world shrinks during Yanks-Sox Games?

      • JohnnyC

        This may also explain why Wang and Mitre’s sinkerballs haven’t worked in the new Stadium. You can’t throw a “heavy” sinker in the low gravity conditions of the NYS. I’m sure Cashman has people working up spreadsheets on this as we speak.

      • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

        You mean that all of history isn’t focused on that one point in the world where bat meets ball?

        I thought history was just priming itself for that event?

      • Glen L

        I’m saying the world shrinks during yanks-sox games

  • The Fallen Phoenix

    Hey, Boston was playing with the same conditions, so they can’t complain.

    Which is why this is stupid. I mean, both teams are playing in the same ballpark at the same time – it is not as if the Yankees were awarded some magical advantage that Boston did not have the opportunity to take advantage of.

    It doesn’t matter that Teixeira’s ball would not have been a home run in any other stadium, because the Yankees and Red Sox were not playing in any other stadium. And if they were, well, fallacy of the pre-determined outcome. Maybe the Red Sox and Yankees aren’t tied in the 8th when Teixeira comes to the plate if they’d played the entire game in a different ballpark, under different conditions.

    This sort of thing only really matters if you care about the so-called “sanctity of records,” I suppose.

    • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

      ignant!!!

      you have NO idea of which you speak.

      The only one that controls the timing and velocity of those meteorological conditions is BRIAN $MAN. he turns it on for us, off (and sometimes reverse) for Boston. JUST BRIAN CASHMAN. and Mo.

      They only two people that control the meteorological conditions are Cashman and Mo. And Melvin.

      The THREE…

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      Ding ding ding ding ding! We have a winner!

    • CB

      This sort of thing only really matters if you care about the so-called “sanctity of records,” I suppose.

      No, it also really matters is if your primary analytical concern is to zelously distill down the “innate” talent of the player. The impetus is very similar to what’s done with runs created stats based on linear weights, only this uses additional variables and models only home runs.

      Other models e.g. xFIP implicitly assume models for home runs in which home runs are random events based on fly balls. Hitttracker tries to model this in a completely different way.

      The goal is similar though the models vary – remove context and distill down what is “innate” in the player and the event.

      Eventually we are going to see some sabermatrician merging Hittracker data with something like FIP or xFIP and it will become all the rage.

      • The Fallen Phoenix

        …yes, that’s actually quite true, and is why this information is (actually) valuable/useful.

        • CB

          But in your first post you said it was “stupid” and it didn’t matter. Why should it matter otherwise?

          Why would a model that “controls” for say wind velocity be the “valid” one to assess talent?

          • CB

            And just to clarify my comment above – it wasn’t meant as a criticism of your points in any way. It was more a question on both methods and how value judgements are made in analytic approaches which try to strip away the very context that makes those value judgements explicit.

            • The Fallen Phoenix

              Basically, I was critiquing the use of the data from a results-oriented perspective; specifically, as impacting the game itself.

              A model that controls for, say, wind velocity could be valid in, for example, determining a player’s “pure power:” or how much force a player can apply to a batted ball.

              That’s actually very useful information for the purposes of talent evaluation; it’s why a player like Adam Dunn has power-potential in just about all ballparks, but a player like Johnny Damon does not.

              When I said the information was (actually) valuable/useful, I misspoke. What I should have written was, “that is one of the contexts in which such information could be valuable.”

              Put another way: controlling for wind-currents imparts information, which is more or less valuable depending on how it is applied (any value a datum might have is entirely context-derived, even if that context is an applied one). The context that this post was suggesting, however, was one that I opined to have zero value. Hence, my observing that the exercise was stupid.

              • The Fallen Phoenix

                All that said, I think it’s a relatively simple exercise to control for, say, wind velocity. I think you do it quite well, for example, when you observe that Teixeira was quite capable of applying enough loft to the ball for it to have an increased chance of being caught in the very wind currents this model attributes to luck.

                The home run, as a result, is not important under this view, but what caused the home run to occur as a result. The more that we can attribute to Mark Teixeira’s pure talent/skill, the better. I don’t think the model that Mike introduces in this thread is one that can necessarily do that, but I think there are probably some opportunities it might present, and this subtlety was completely lost in my earlier posts.

                I should think before I type.

          • The Fallen Phoenix

            It’s not the valid one. I’m not sure you can pick a single method or datum and claim that to be the valid one. It might be a valid one. Depending on context.

            …long story short, I think we agree on this matter. I’m just doing a piss-poor job of communicating.

      • Chris

        Before you see Hittracker data used, you’re going to see Hitf/x data, which will be much more accurate than the hittracker data.

        • CB

          I agree with you but the issue of Hit F/x vs. hitttracker is largely besides the point.

          Every model makes value judgements. Every time you “control” for a certain variable or make assumptions on what defines a “context neutral” environment you are making a value judgement for what talent is and how it is validly assessed.

          Too often those fundamental value judgments are made explicit and get lost in the models and the numbers.

          Hittracker is just an example.

    • Klemy

      Yes. And the wind is blowing at that height to soem extent most days, right? How often is there absolutely no breeze in any stadium at that height? Taking the existance of any wind at all out of any equation seems unrealistic to me.

  • mike HC

    What is “normal” conditions. The weather will be different for every single game. I never hear a weatherman predict that it will just be “normal” out. The fun of actually playing the game is that you never know what is going to happen on any given day. Umpires with big strike zones or small zones. The wind is blowing in or out. Its raining, it isn’t rainy. It’s humid, its not etc … The idea that there is a “normal” is flawed to begin with.

    • Just another Yankee fan in Cleveland

      Couldn’t have said it any better. Non issue.

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      + a real, real lot

    • Klemy

      Exactly the point I was trying to make above, before making it to your post. +1

  • A.D.

    Is there any kind of league avg wind?

  • The Lodge

    FWIW, according to this Website, 2 of Papi’s HR’s this year wouldn’t have been out anywhere other than Fenway. I’m just sayin’

  • Ivan

    YSIII is yes hitter friendley, but not outrageously hitter friendley. Tell me rite now that YSIII is more hitter friendley than Fenway, Citizens Bank, Camden Yards, Arlington, and Coors. There not.

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      HR wise apparently it is.

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

      “Tell me rite now that YSIII is more hitter friendley than Fenway, Citizens Bank, Camden Yards, Arlington, and Coors. There not.”

      YS3 has been more homer-friendly in 2009 than Fenway, Citizens Bank, Camden Yards, Arlington, and Coors.

      http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/parkfactor/_/sort/HRFactor

      • Esteban

        Klaw has said he doesn’t trust or use ESPN park factors

        • V

          Exactly. Aren’t ESPN Park Factors something like:

          HRs hit at YS3 / HRs hit in MLB * 30 ?

          That’s a pretty disingenous method of coming up with a stat, given that the Yankees would probably hit more homeruns in Petco Park than the Padres would hit in YS3.

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

          Yeah… But YS3 has also yielded more homers per game than any other park in MLB, by a pretty substantial margin. You’re right, ESPN Park Factors might not be so great, I was just using it as a reference point. I don’t think there’s much disagreement about whether or not YS3 has been pretty homer-friendly this season.

          http://www.hittrackeronline.com/stadiums.php

      • Ivan

        There is more to homers than being considered a “hitter friendley park”

  • Thomas

    Whether it was a homer or not really doesn’t matter, since it would have been a double if it failed to go over the fence. Since Bard and Okajima proceeded to give up a walk followed by another 3 straight hits, Teixeira still would have scored and the Yankees still would have won.

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      You can’t prove that though.

      It makes no difference anyway. The Red Sox played under the same conditions.

      • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

        By you can’t prove that, what I mean is you can’t prove that (A) it would have been a double and not just a deep flyout or (B)that they wouldn’t have gotten another hitter out anyway.

  • wilcymoore

    Pseudo-science! What, does Game Tracker have built-in sensors in the ball?

  • Rod

    According to ESPN Park Factors, NYS is playing neutral right now even with the high number of home runs since doubles and triples are suppressed there.

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      THANK YOU!!!!

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

        But isn’t that likely because a bunch of hits that might be doubles/triples in other ballparks are homers in YS3?

        • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

          Hey dude, I’, just listening to twhat this guy says. And he says that apparently less runs than you think are scored there. Something I like to hear because all the stupid HR talk at the stadium is, as I said, stupid.

          • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

            Typo fix time:

            2 typos, *I’m* and *to what*.

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

            Ok, you need to slow down a bit. First of all, less runs ‘than I think’ are not scored there. You’re assuming I think things that I don’t necessarily think. Secondly, I asked a question, it wasn’t an accusation. That question is, does it not seem likely that we’d see fewer doubles/triples in YS3 because some hits that would be doubles/triples in other stadiums are turning into homers in YS3? It’s a question, meaning that if you or anyone thinks they have an answer, please go ahead and share your thoughts on the matter. I happen to think it makes some sense that we’d see a rise in homers coupled with a drop in doubles/triples, because if a few potential doubles/triples are turning into homers that would inflate the HR numbers and deflate the 2B/3B numbers.

            Also… I wouldn’t be so quick to call all the HR talk about YS3 “stupid.” In 2008, YS2 was middle of the pack (15th) homer-wise, and in 2009 YS3 has been the most homer-friendly venue in MLB. It does seem as though the new stadium is more homer-friendly than the old stadium based on the evidence we have so far. We don’t know why, yet, but it’s unfair and wrong to dismiss theories about the new stadium as “stupid,” off-hand, without actually addressing them.

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

              That’s how you debate.

            • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

              I wasn’t really accusing you, sorry if I woprded it badly to make it sound that way, merely saying that IMO the YSIII HR talk is stupid and that I like the idea that less runs than most peope (sorry for singling you out) think are scored there. It means we’re all overreactng for nothing!

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

                No, it doesn’t mean we’re all “overreacting for nothing.” The stadium still yields an extremely high number of homers. You don’t find that interesting or want to think about why that’s so? Good for you. But that doesn’t mean other people who are interested in the topic are either overreacting or are being stupid. I happen to find it interesting, think it affects the team and the games played in the park, and kinda wish it wasn’t the case, and I don’t think my reasons for feeling that way are unreasonable at all.

                I find this type of reaction very interesting. Some people really seem to despise any discussion that might paint YS3 in a negative light.

                • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

                  No, IMO it’s overreacting for nothing. In YOUR opinion you can do what you want. Hold a meeting, I don’t care. But IMO it doesn’t matter. I just didn’t feel the need to write IMO at the end of my comment.

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

                  So if someone is concerned with the fact that YS3 is homer-friendly, they are overreacting and being stupid… Because you say so.

                  Cool. Now I get it.

                • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

                  No, IMO it’s an overreaction.

                  Choose to be offended if you want to. That doesn’t change my belief that it doesn’t matter.

                • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

                  Not to mention, is that what all debaters are trying to prove? That the other person is wrong?And “wrong in this caseis IN MY OPINION (emphasis here ) an overreaction.

                  If you don’t think so, fine. But I never had an issue with the HR’s.

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

                  Lol. We’re just on very different wavelengths, friend.

                • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

                  I believe there is a new thread.

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

                  Yes, there is. Not sure how that’s relevant.

                • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

                  It’s not. I’m just pointing that out in case anybody reading this hasn’t noticed.

        • Hughes Your Daddy

          Yes and no. Sure there are balls hit that would have been doubles/triples that became homers, but there are others hit that would have been doubles/triples that have become singles/outs. The overall Park Factor as a result is neutral, even though the park is “homer happy”.

          • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

            Someone tell ESPN.

            • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

              …Which is funny since this comes from ESPN park factors.

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

            “Sure there are balls hit that would have been doubles/triples that became homers, but there are others hit that would have been doubles/triples that have become singles/outs.”

            Yeah… That’s a valid point, though I’m not sure it works so cleanly like that. There have definitely been a couple of hard-hit balls into the RF corner that were singles and may have been doubles at other parks, but probably not at YS2, right? Have there been as many of those balls, XBHs that turn into singles, as there have been cheapie-homers? I’m not sure about that. And I’m not sure how potential XBHs turn into outs. Balls that would be doubles in other stadiums are caught in YS3 because of dimensions or wind or something? I don’t know, that part seems off to me. I’m sure you’re right to a certain extent, but I think there are more balls that clear the fences than there are non-homer XBHs that turn into singles or outs.

            • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

              The bottom line is, what are the average number of runs scored, right?? Or how about, the average number of runs scored in the ballpark with all teams that have a top five offense for a better sample size, if you don’t want to compare the Padres offense to the Yankees?

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

                “The bottom line is, what are the average number of runs scored, right??”

                No. That’s what you want the bottom line to be, but that’s not what a lot of us are discussing or are concerned with. I’m concerned that YS3 is a homer-haven, and I wish the Yanks played in a more homer-neutral park.

                • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

                  But the arguemnt is that it’s about average in the runs scored category. It’s a neutral park. That’s what the original poster here brought up.

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

                  I know that’s what the original poster brought up. I concerned myself with the HR vs. non-HR XBH part of that argument and the assertion that non-HR XBHs are suppressed in YS3. My bottom-line is different than yours.

        • Marcus

          Maybe so, but in the end, the only thing that determines the outcome of a game is the amount of runs scored. Whether by HR or otherwise, YSIII is nearly dead on average in terms of runs scored.

          As you can see from the link posted above, the rate of triples is greatly depressed compared with other stadiums (which would go along with what you are saying).

          I’m actually most surprised that Angels Stadium is second in terms of HR rate. I always thought that was a pitcher’s park, and looking at the stats, it looks like that was right.

          • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

            That sounds about right.

  • C Bleak

    I’d like to see how they were measuring the wind speed inside the stadium and at the different altitudes of the ball. Was there a large gust that just so happened to sweep through when he hit the ball? Earlier in the year he apparently hit one that gained an extra 48 ft from the wind.

  • Riddering

    “Under normal conditions”

    There’s no such thing as normal conditions in Yankee Stadium during a Boston series.

  • JohnnyC

    Just like track times, “wind-aided” homeruns should not be sanctioned by MLB,

    • Dela G

      then there would be about 20 HRs hit at wrigley every year

      • JohnnyC

        And what an unfair advantage that’s been for the Cubs. What are they? 26 championships? Or is it 27?

  • CB

    Well, it turns out that Mark Teixeira’s home run Sunday night would have been a home run in exactly zero parks under normal conditions according to Hit Tracker. Apparently the ball hung up so long that it gained an extra 37 feet of distance due to wind, pushing it over the fence.

    I don’t think the data necessarily supports this conclusion. Hittraker’s designations do what statistics often do – they make assumptions related to “neutral conditions” which rarely if ever hold in the real world.

    And what makes this worse – the models they implicitly use often are enormously incomplete and missing variables.

    Hittracker’s methods are analagous to the way the military marks coordinates to fire projectile shells but less complete. Does the army really not take wind into consideration when they start firing?

    Why did the ball hang up so long in the first place when Tex hit it?

    Because Teixeira hit the ball with a great deal of force. Now that force may have been disproportionately translated into more vertical loft than a “normal” home run ball has.

    But I’d imagine it also true that the more loft you put under a ball the more likely it is for the ball to enter a wind stream. The force with which Tex hit the ball increased the probability of the ball leaving the park. Generating that force is a real skill. That’s what home run hitters do.

    That’s why no other player was able to hit that kind of shot to that area in that game.

    Hittracker suggests the only “valid” home runs are the ones hit in a dome or a linear regression model.

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      Let us present winner number two!

    • The Fallen Phoenix

      + Everything.

    • Klemy

      Agreed. Well said.

  • Reggie C.

    mitre doesnt add any value 2 this team. aceves’s value is diminished by having 2 pitch 4 innings backing mitre.

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      OAKTAG this offtopicness.

      -Quoted from TSJC

      • http://www.facebook.com/dougchu Doug

        jsbrendog’s not going to be too happy about this.

        • jsbrendog

          meh, the only thing that bothers me is when someone uses the oaktag on a comment that doesn’t deserve it. On those days I wish I had never created such a monster. but oaktagging an oaktag is just…well….dumb.

          plus, as everyone thinks ben writes every RAB article it seems everyone thinks tjsc creates all the memes lol

  • Ivan

    But don’t you gotta ask urself, What is a friendley hitting barkpark and what does it consist of really?

  • Steve S

    Oh no, no. Too high, it’s too high.

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

      Who gives a shit? It’s gone.

    • jsbrendog

      mom says son you been getting too high
      okayalright
      okayalright
      okayalright okayalright okay…alright

  • Sam P.

    So now, apparently the WIND is on the juice, but only at Yankee Stadium!

    • jsbrendog

      meteoroidologists!!!!!!!

  • Dwnflfan

    To quote “Major League”:

    “Who gives a s***? It’s gone!”