There were 20 home runs hit in the first four games in the New Yankees Stadium, leading many to suggest that the club had built a newer version of Coors Field. However, from Tyler Kepner, we get word that similar runs of homers happened in the old park as well:
But 20 homers over a four-game span is really not that unusual. I just spoke with Tom Hirdt from the Elias Sports Bureau, who reports that in a four-game run in 2007 (July 22, and then July 31, August 1 and August 2), the Yankees and their opponents bashed 26 long balls at the old Yankee Stadium.
There also were 20 or more hit over four-game stretches in 2000, 2003 and 2004, though never before that.
Yes, it would be quite a coincidence if the startling number of homers to start off play in the new park was just a fluke. However, with just four games played to this point, it is a very real possibility. It is too early to determine the park factors on the new ballpark in the Bronx. However, Accuweather’s Gina Cherundolo does have a theory as to why the new park may play differently, if in fact it does:
The old Yankee stadium had more stacked tiers and a large upper deck, acting like a solid wall in effect, which would cause the wind to swirl more and be less concentrated. The new Yankee stadium’s tiers are less stacked, making a less sharp slope from the top of the stadium to the field. This shape could enable winds to blow across the field with less restriction. In addition, the slope of the seating would also lead to a “downslope” effect in the field which, depending on wind direction, would tend to cause air to lift up in the right field. Fly balls going into right field during a gusty west wind would be given more of a lift thus carrying the ball farther out into right field.
If the stadium seating tier shape is indeed the issue, games will only be affected during times with the winds are from a westerly direction and above 10 mph. This typically occurs during the spring and the middle to late fall. The calmer weather during the summer should lead to a smaller number of home runs. In the meantime, the home run derby may continue.
Compelling stuff. It will be interesting to track the number of home runs and offense in general in the new park as the season progresses. Hopefully this early offensive explosion was an anomaly, and the new park plays neutral, as the old one did.
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