Yankee Stadium is Owed an Apology

Final home run numbers aren't so ridiculous

By Josh Alper
|  Wednesday, Jan 6, 2010  |  Updated 4:45 PM EDT
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Peter Gammons is a fine baseball analyst who rarely engages in the breathless hyperbole practiced by his colleagues, so it raised some eyebrows when he went on the radio in June and called the new Yankee Stadium "one of the biggest jokes in baseball" because of the way home runs were flying over the fences. The Yankees responded by saying that everyone should wait and see how things played out over the entire season before judging.

The Yankees win, theeeeeeeee Yankees win.

The park factors are out for the 2009 season and it confirms patience as a virtue. While Yankee Stadium ranks as the most homer-friendly stadium in the league, its rate wouldn't have led the league during any other year between 2001 and 2008. It also wasn't first by a wide margin this season. What's more, the stadium wasn't a very good place for all other kinds of hits which generally suppressed the amount of runs scored there in relation to other ballparks. In other words, it doesn't look like most people's idea of a joke.

Now, this is a small sample size that can be skewed by any number of factors, including weather and the vagaries of starting rotations. There's also the fact that the Yankees had a lineup capable of hitting a lot of home runs no matter where they play -- which keeps things in balance as park factors compare home stats to road numbers -- and pitchers good enough to change their style to protect against a short porch in right without losing effectiveness. 

Raw numbers show an overall drop in homers as the season went on, with a pronounced drop in the homers hit by visitors to the Stadium. Maybe that's just because Chien Ming-Wang stopped hosting his Home Run Derbies or maybe it's because everyone got a little bit ahead of themselves based on a handful of games, either way it winds up making Gammons and other screaming critics sound pretty silly. 

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.

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