06/10/09 8:51 AM ET
Study: Design cause of Stadium homers
Dimensions shorter due to straight, rather than curved, wall
By Bobbie Dittmeier / MLB.com
The meteorology company said that it analyzed the 29 games played and the 105 home runs hit at the new Stadium and determined that 20 of those home runs, all hit to right or right-center field, would not have been home runs at the old Stadium across the street.
There were 160 home runs hit at the old Stadium last season. At its current pace, the new Stadium would yield 293 homers, an 83-percent increase over last year and 10 shy of the Major League record of 303 hit at Denver's Coors Field in 1999.
AccuWeather.com said that the right field wall at the old Stadium, 10 feet in height, gently curved toward center field, while the wall at the new Stadium, eight feet in height, runs straight toward center field, resulting in shorter dimensions that at one point reach nine feet. It published a graphic on its web site showing the differences in the shape of the walls and the landing points of 20 home runs that it said would not have gone out in the old ballpark.
The Yankees, according to The Associated Press, say that the dimensions are exactly the same.
"The dimensions at select corners of the field are identical -- and the posted numbers on the walls reflect that," Accuweather said. "However, detailed schematics of the park reveal some nuances that have significant implications."
The weather service said that the inclusion of an auxiliary scoreboard in the right field wall, which did not exist at the old Stadium, is the reason why the wall runs in a straight line toward center field. Sixty-three of the 105 home runs have gone to right or right-center field, according to AP.
Yankee Stadium homers
|Home run totals at Yankees home games over the past five years, through 29 games and through the end of the season:|
|Year||Thru 25||Thru end|
|Year||Thru 25||Thru end|
"In right field, the new-found homer haven, the wall structure is slightly different than the old park," Accuweather said. "The main difference involves curvature. The gentle curve from right field to center field seen in the original Yankee Stadium has largely been eliminated at the new stadium. This is due in large part to the presence of a manual scoreboard embedded within the wall. Losing this curvature has resulted in a right field that is shorter by four to five feet on average, but up to nine feet in spots.
"Not only is the famed short porch even shorter in the new stadium, but the walls themselves are not as tall. In the old ballpark, the walls in right field stood at a height of approximately 10 feet. At this height, it was difficult for outfielders to scale the wall and attempt to rob a home run over the fence. Fast forward to 2009, and the outfielders have been scaling the wall without any trouble. The result? The new outfield fences only rise to a height of eight feet, adding to the ease of hitting a home run to right."
There has been speculation that balls have carried farther at the Stadium because of stronger wind currents, perhaps caused by the Stadium's open concourses or the incline of the stands, which is less steep than it was at the old ballpark. Accuweather said that has not been the case.
"There has been no consistent pattern observed in the wind speed and direction that would lead to an increase in home runs so far this year," Accuweather said.
Bobbie Dittmeier is an editor/producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.