Apr
19

So far, the bandbox is gone

By

Prior to the start of the 2010 season, Joe pondered if the new Yankee Stadium would still be as home run-friendly as it was last April. Noting that “perception of Yankee Stadium as a bandbox started in April and was based mostly on a game where Cleveland hit six home runs,” he wondered if the stadium would play truer to its late-2009 trends or its early-season long-ball tendencies.

Well, with the first homestand of the season behind us, the Yanks and their opponents hit 13 home runs or just over two round-trippers a game. Opponents hit four of those in 210 plate appearances, good for a home run rate of one long ball every 52.5 plate appearances. The Yankees hit nine of those or one every 24.89 plate appearances. If those figures look awfully similar to the 2009 rates, well, that’s because they are. The Yanks are still very good at hitting home runs at home, and through six games, the team’s pitchers have been even stingier with the long ball than they were last year.

This long-standing home run reality, though, hasn’t stopped writers from proclaiming a slow-down in the home run rate. Take a peek at this AP article from Ronald Blum. He alleges that the stadium “no longer is playing like a bandbox.” Never mind the fact that it hasn’t since last May. It’s time to play Let’s Create a Meme, and this year’s winner is the opposite of a bandbox.

In the article, Blum alleges that because there were two homerless games already this season, something must be different, but the Yankees are having none of it. “Guys have been making good pitches and going about their business the right way. I don’t think I’ve noticed any difference at all,” Joba Chamberlain said. “I guess at the end of the season we’ll see how everything compares, but I don’t think it’s any different.”

Andy Pettitte was one of the stadium’s early critics, and he had trouble at the start of 2009 trusting his stuff in the new park. Since then, he’s grown accustomed to it. “Last year it was just early, we had winds that were ripping straight out, and now what we’ve got is we’ve got winds that are going dead in.” Pettitte said. “So it’s definitely to left field I believe has played a lot different on this homestand than it did on the first couple of homestands last year. Toward the end of the season last year, I felt like it really started playing pretty fair. Right field is short. That’s all there is to it. But the rest of the ballpark plays actually pretty big.”

Therein lies the rub. The stadium was slightly home run-happy last year, but that’s because the Yankees had a home run-happy lineup of left-handed sluggers. The team is primed to exploit that advantage again this year, but otherwise, the stadium has suppressed non-home run extra-base hits. It plays, in other words, like a fair baseball stadium, and those who criticized its home runs have been notably silent since early last spring.

Categories : Yankee Stadium

27 Comments»

  1. Kevin M. says:

    But….but….but…..Peter Gammons told me it was a “joke of a ballpark” and HE’S IN THE HALL OF FAME! Now you guys are telling me it’s almost as fair as Fenway Park.

    I’m sooo confused.

  2. Dirty Pena says:

    Yeah, but balls are gonna FLY out of there when it warms up!

  3. Gio says:

    Wait til Arod/Tex/Johnson start to heat up. Wayyyyy to early to make a determination.

  4. king of fruitless hypotheticals says:

    damn. we should have re-signed matsui and damon. especially with wait what? how many wins you say? oh, well, carry on then!

    we need a few more games at home before we go attacking the idiots who called it a bandbox Peter Gammons so they can’t use the accurate SSS as a defense.

    • We have a few more games. We have all of last season after May.

      • Brad Toughy says:

        To be fair though, while better than a month of data, I still believe that a ballpark’s playability can’t be truly judged until it’s had several years and several types of teams rotate through it.

        This particular Yankee team and last year’s version played extremely well in the new Yankee Stadium. What happens if the Stadium yields 3 homers a night throughout the summer? Then the “bandbox critics” will be back all over again.

        I find it amusing when I see articles that are prefaced with a warning about the inaccurate science that is a small sample size, and then go on to analyze that small sample size.

        Just like one season doesn’t properly evaluate a player’s ability, it also isn’t enough for anyone to truly evaluate a ballpark either.

  5. A.D. says:

    Can’t believe I didn’t realize that there was basically a HR hit every game last year.

    • First Time Poster/Long Time Lurker says:

      All but three, actually. Two of them were losses (price was dealing and Pinero (sp*) was being a douche) while the other was the 6 inning affair.

      So technically, the Yanks haven’t hit one in 2 2/3 of the games played.

  6. Steve H says:

    Put a staff of Lincecum, Halladay, Greinke, CC, and King Felix in a neutral ballpark, and all of the sudden the MSM would be flipping out that it’s an extreme pitchers park.

    I actually am waiting for the article about how YSIII is now supressing homeruns, which is why Tex and A-Rod have just one each. SSS’s are the lifeblood of many of these MSM writers.

  7. First Time Poster/Long Time Lurker says:

    Just a thought (by no means a knock about the Yanks hitting “unclutch” homers), but if my memory serves me correctly, it seems as if almost all of the Yankee bombs have come as the solo variety. I’m sure there is a way to check over on baseball-reference or another site. Has anyone else noticed this?

    • First Time Poster/Long Time Lurker says:

      Game 1- Posada and Granderson have a solo shot a piece.
      Game 2- Cano has a solo shot (too lazy to hit one with men on, I suppose)
      Game 3- Granderson adds his second solo shot to remind Pooplebum that he is nowhere’s near Godly status.
      Game 4- Yanks figured they’d give the Rays some momentum to face Boston… no dingers.
      Game 5- Cano hits a two run bomb… but the runner wasn’t in scoring position so…
      Game 6- Posada hits a two run dinger and Swish adds a solo shot
      Game 7- Our 1&2 hitters both ring up solo shots
      Game 8- Swish had a triple, but no dingers in the loss
      Game 9- Cano had two homers (a single shot and a two-run bomb) while the Captain added a solo shot of his own
      Game 10- Only had 6 innings and CC didn’t need any homers on this day
      Game 11- Jeter had a two run shot and Alex told Kay to STFU with a solo shot
      Game 12- Tex and Posada both add solo shots

      So the count is (for those of you who care)

      Solo shots- 10
      Two run bombs- 4

      So… disregard all of this.

  8. David Pinto says:

    Wasn’t the destruction of the old stadium supposed to change the wind patterns and make the new stadium less of a home run park?

  9. JimmieFoxx says:

    I’d still rather have them push back the right field wall and produce that gentle slope that the old Yankee stadium had.
    I know its the manual scoreboard that necessitated a straight wall but still. Get rid of the scoreboard if need be.
    I’m sure most of you will disagree but I’m all about making the new stadium look as much like the old stadium as possible.

  10. monkeypants says:

    “Never mind the fact that it hasn’t since last May.”

    Wait a minute–it was the #1 HR park in the league last season. That’s right, it had the #1 HR park factor in the league last year, higher than Coors. NYS’s bandboxness was not restricted to the first couple of months of last season.

    Now, it may prove over the long run not to be a homer-friendly park, but I will trust ALL of last season over the first few games this year.

  11. Mystic7 says:

    Let’s be honest now. No way are the Yanks gonna hit 244 home runs again this year.

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