Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

A Mighty Wind is Blowing

If you build it, they will come.

That was the message the voice in the corn field spoke to Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams. Most Yankees fans hoped the same thing would happen when they said their goodbyes to old Yankee Stadium and moved to their new home across the street. They wanted the ghosts of Ruth, Gehrig, Dimaggio and Mantle to pack up their lockers and make the trek right along side of them. After a few games in their new ballpark, it's possible the ghosts followed, but something else happened.

They built it, and a flood of home runs arrived.

Apparently, a wind tunnel seems to be carrying fly balls out over the right field fence. If you include the two exhibition games the Yankees played against the Chicago Cubs, and the first series against the Cleveland Indians, a total of 25 home runs have left the park in only five games. During one of the games, the Indians posted a 22-4 victory over the Bronx Bombers.

People have been looking for an explanation for the sudden power surge. I have a hunch it has nothing to do with the old Yankee ghosts. I doubt Babe Ruth allowed the Indians to score 14 runs in one inning against his old team. Comparisons have been made to old Yankee Stadium. The old ballpark featured more stacked seating tiers and the seats featured steeper slopes. That allowed the wind to swirl over the park. Construction technology has evolved since the last renovation at Yankee Stadium in the mid-1970s. An expert from even hinted that the angle of the seats might allow the wind to accelerate and carry fly balls out to right field.

I'll be curious to see how this situation plays out throughout the season. Oftentimes, teams experience an adjustment period during their first few seasons in their new homes. Back in the early 1990s, the White Sox couldn't hit a home run to save their lives when U.S. Cellular Field (then named Comiskey Park II) first opened. Eventually, the Sox moved the outfield wall in several feet and made additional stadium modifications.

Very interesting! I've never even considered the stadium itself as a possible reason for home runs. Of course, I'm not an avid baseball fan either:)
Bonnie Brown   Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Great blog Bill!
Amber   Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Fascinating. Who knew the shape would affect performance? Always interesting, Bill.
LGrant   Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Its interesting that most of the home runs have been scored against the Yanks.
LimeyGeorge   Wednesday, April 22, 2009
It's a joy to see the Yankees get pounded. Unfortunately, with their roster, and A-Rod coming back eventually, I think they are the likely the favorite in the AL. I hate the Yankees.
ozthegreat   Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Wacky. Dear Oz. Don't hate.
Ben H   Wednesday, April 22, 2009
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