Yankee Stadium: It's Not the Wind, It's the Fences

Yankees claim dimensions are the same

The meteorologists from Accuweather.com have been weighing in from time to time with their views on how weather may be contributing to the barrage of home runs being hit in the Bronx. They threw out some theories about wind patterns and posited that homers may be flying out more frequently as the weather gets warmer, but now they're saying it isn't the weather at all.

They've concluded that it is the distance and height of the fences, as opposed to any specific weather phenomenon, that has created a homer haven for the ages.

The difference is in the dimensions. For someone attending a game at the new Yankee Stadium, or watching on TV, the size of the playing field appears to be the same. The dimensions at select corners of the field are identical - and the posted numbers on the walls reflect that. However, detailed schematics of the park reveal some nuances that have significant implications.

Here's the thing. We already knew that the fences were fugazy. We knew it in April, when Hit Tracker Online showed us that the fences were closer in right field. The switch from a curved right field fence to a straight one has shortened the field by up to nine feet in spots. Throw in a two foot drop in the height of the fences, and Accuweather.com finds that there have been 20 home runs that wouldn't have been out of the old Yankee Stadium. 

That raises another question, though. Right now, the projected total number of home runs at Yankee Stadium is 293 with 56 of them being balls that wouldn't have been out of the old ballpark. In 2008, there were only 147 home runs hit at Yankee Stadium, however. Even accounting for the different fence distances and heights, that's a pretty sharp increase. Brian Cashman brought up the idea of livelier balls recently, something which doesn't seem readily apparent, but it may bear another look later in the season. 

The Yankees have approached the question of fences with the same strategy as other Stadium issues: Deny, deny, deny. There's no reason for them to be so defensive, though. It's the first season at a new park, things that don't work can be changed and there's still a lot of season left to come up with conclusive answers to all these questions. You can't make any changes while the season is going on anyway. 

Lying about the dimensions, and it is hard to figure how a straight line could create exactly the same measurements as a curved one, doesn't do anything but make the whole thing seem much worse. The fact that a lot of home runs are being hit isn't the end of the world, and it's probably time everyone just gets used to it.

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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