NY Sports Day

Yankees Need to Fix the Stadium Problem

BRONX, NY – If today’s game was played across the street at Old Yankee Stadium, Alex Rodriguez would not have hit a home run. Neither would Omir Santos, and Gary Sheffield’s ball would have barely gone out of the famed park.

The fact of the matter is this new Yankee Stadium is a joke – a mockery to the game that needs to be fixed next year and fast.

Balls have been flying out of this new edifice at a record pace. Right now 113 and counting, which is putting it on a pre-humidor Coors Field record for homers (1999 with 303) , something no one anticipated when the Yankees built the stadium. After all, the dimensions seem to be the same as the old park and the stadium has somewhat the same alignment.

So, then, what’s the problem? How can you put essentially the same field a few hundred feet away from the old one and have it play so differently?

Well the answer is very simple: It’s not the same field.

No matter how much the Yankees jump up and down and say it’s the same field, it’s not. Sure the markings down the lines, too the alleys and in center are the same, but how the fence gets there is very different.

According to AccuWeather.com, the new outfield wall in right is straighter than its old counterpart, because of the auxiliary scoreboard. That means there are placed in right to right center where the fence is five to 10 feet closer than in the old ballpark.

Also it’s shorter as the old stadium had a 10 feet wall, whereas this one is eight feet.

Even with smaller dimensions, there’s always the wind current. Even though AccuWesther.com disputes it, just stand out in right (I did on Friday) and you can feel the wind at your face. The Yankees say it’s the open concourses, which could be the case, but many stadiums have that feature and they don’t have a problem. I have another theory.

The archways in the Great Hall are open, which may bring wind in from the outside. If they Yankees enclosed those archways with windows – heck, make them stained glass; it is a cathedral – maybe it would stop the breeze from blowing. Now I am no expert, but less open passageways may mean less wind coming in.

The only other solution – with the exception of enclosing the concourses – is to make the field bigger. Unlike Citi Field, which has simple solutions to make it more homer friendly (i.e. move the plate forward or just lower the home run line in left), Yankee Stadium’s problem are more complex. With a backstop of only 54 feet, 4 inches, the team is already pushing the limits of MLB requirements. To move the plate back, say five feet, needs to get MLB’s approval.

Rather, the better solution is to take out the first two rows of seats in the outfield and raise the fences. Yeah, it loses money, but wouldn’t it be better to lose some revenue, then possibly alienate potential free agent pitchers, who you would now have to overpay to play in The Bronx? I don’t know if the Yankees have that type of foresight, but they will probably come to their senses when the top flight hurlers spurn their money to go and play at say Citi Field.

No matter you get my point, something has to be done. If the Yankees do nothing, it’s going to be very difficult for them to win get to – or especially win – in October. Both the Rockies and Phillies had to change their ballparks before they went to the World Series and now the Yankees face the same dilemma.

The only question is if they are too arrogant to realize it.


2 Comments

  1. Hendo

    June 14, 2009 at 9:03 am

    Great points. One caution, if they decide to close some of the passageways they should be careful, as those passageways also convey air to the field.

    Grass needs not just air but air flow. Baltimore found this out when the new Hilton started altering the air flow at Camden Yards.

  2. Derek

    June 14, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    They’re an arrogant organization. So, if they do it, it would be bc of all the backlash. I thought the guys on SNY made a great point about left field being more open which allows the wind tunnel to push towards right. The old Stadium wasn’t like that. Yes, it’s true right is a joke. That Jeter homer would have been a catch. Come on. It’s like watching little league.

    As for overpaying fa’s, come on. We’re talking about the Yankees. So, that won’t get too much consideration. We can talk a lot about how bad it is but when you have their lineup, it also is a luxury. The problem with the Yanks is their bullpen stinks. Amazing how Cashman never addresses it despite what he has to work with. Even worse, Girardi is a terrible manager. He makes some awful decisions when it comes to the pen. Bringing in Mo in a tie game. Hello. He’s 39 and has never been good in that spot. And not bringing him in to get a win versus Boston speaks volumes. Girardi just doesn’t know what he’s doing. It’s true, he doesn’t have much to work with. But he changes pitchers way too fast. How do you expect to find out if a guy can get the job done?

    Had the Mets won Friday and Santana pitched lights out, a lot of people would be calling for his head.

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