"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

News of the Day – 4/21/09

  • Given the gloomy weather of late, today’s news is powered by some impromptu rain delay entertainment:

Twenty (homers) were hit in the first four games alone as New York and Cleveland split the opening series that ended Sunday. That’s easily the high for the first four games at a major league park, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, topping the 18 when Cincinnati started the 2003 season at Great American Ball Park.

“There are a couple ballparks out there that the ball just travels well. This might be one of them,” New York’s Mark Teixeira, who hit two of those home runs, said after Monday night’s game against Oakland was rained out.

Fourteen of the home runs have been hit to right field, raising concern that there might be a wind tunnel in the $1.5 billion ballpark, which has wide, open concourses, as opposed to the narrow hallways in the original Yankee Stadium on the south side of 161st Street, which remains standing.

  • In a similar vein, our man Alex Belth points us to this analysis:

Although the field dimensions of the new stadium are exactly that of the old stadium, the shell of the new stadium is shaped differently.

AccuWeather.com meteorologists also estimate that the angle of the seating in the new stadium could have an effect on wind speed across the field.

. . . 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.

[My take: The “calmer” weather in the summer is also when the temperatures increase, which seems to correlate with longer distances on flyballs.  So, there might NOT be a respite from the launching pad effect.]

  • Joe Sheehan urges Yankee fans not to panic over Chien-Ming Wang’s awful start:

Some time back, in speculating as to why a pitcher with Wang’s velocity would strike out so few batters, I concluded that he works in such a small area of the strike zone that he produces contact by design. However, he’s missing that area, and when you work in the strike zone, missing the good part by just a little bit—which is what we’re seeing from Wang—is how you end up allowing fly balls to more than half the batters you face, fly balls that become extra-base hits. Wang has given up nine doubles and two homers, which would have been a month’s work for him in his good seasons. . . .

. . . The argument is for not panicking. There’s not much reason to think that Wang isn’t just a mechanical adjustment away, literally inches, from regaining his form as a mid-rotation starter. That’s what fixed Sabathia: Some film work, some time with Carl Willis, some throwing off of the bullpen mound. Wang’s last three starts are hideous, but you can look at recent Yankee history and see the same, you can look at a guy in the same rotation with Wang and see the same. If Mike Mussina and CC Sabathia can bounce back without demotions and releases and all of the other nonsense being suggested, Wang can as well.

[My take: But is Wang mentally tough enough to 1) get over whatever nervousness he may be having about his healed foot and 2) not let this horrid start undermine his confidence, and lead him to start panicking when an inning starts poorly.]

  • Will Carroll weighs in on Wang, from a possible injury perspective:

Wang and the Yankees insist that there’s no physical problem in his arm or in the foot that cost him much of last season. The trouble is that they don’t have a better explanation for his struggles. I’ve watched video on him from his first few starts this year, and from last season, but I don’t see any differences that are jumping out at me. Failing an explanation, Wang and the Yanks have to figure out why he’s suddenly not just hittable, but crushable. I think we’ll find out that there’s something out of whack, but this is going to be a major challenge for Dave Eiland, who up to this point has been rather invisible, as has most of Joe Girardi’s staff.

  • Alex Rodriguez is continuing to make strides in his hip surgery rehab:

A-Rod, coming back from right hip surgery in Colorado on March 9, did additional defensive work, making 19 throws to first and nine to second after fielding grounders. He also continues to look impressive in batting practice, hitting 10 homers in 75 swings.

[My take: No truth to the rumor that Wang was throwing the batting practice.]

  • PeteAbe has what I feel is an early “quote of the year” candidate in ex-Yankee Jason Giambi’s assessment of the new Stadium:

“It’s gorgeous,” he said. “It’s gigantic, but gorgeous. I’m sure it’s like when people first walked into the Titanic.”

[My take: If Celine Dion is called upon to sing the National Anthem at the Stadium, I’m heading for the lifeboats.]

  • As per ESPN Insider, talks between the Yanks and Cuban exile prospect Felix Perez have broken down because of the outfielder’s problem in obtaining a visa from the U.S. Consulate in the Dominican Republic.
  • Jesse Orosco turns 52 today.  Orosco spent part of his 24th and final season with the Yanks in 2003.  Orosco was the epitome of a lefty specialist for the Bombers, appearing in 15 games while totalling only 4.1 IP.
  • This transaction doesn’t involve any Yankees . . . but it DOES feature all alliterative names . . . and that makes me happy.

Categories:  Diane Firstman  News of the Day

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1 williamnyy23   ~  Apr 21, 2009 9:16 am

I guess with Arod not around, we need other issues to blow out of proportion. CMW and the NYS seem to have filled the gap quite nicely.

1) While Wang's struggles have been epic, I think everyone is forgetting that he is in the process of recovering from a very serious injury. Even though he might be healthy now, there are still things like arm strength and repetition of mechanics that might be experiencing some lingering impact. Hopefully, a few side sessions will allow Wang to get everything ironed out. If not, then we can all panic (although by then Arod will be back, so we’ll probably be too distracted to notice).

2) It’s fun to read all the theories about how Yankee Stadium is the new Baker Bowl, but can’t we wait for a few more games? After all, this past series featured all days games, some gusty winds and, most importantly, some pretty crappy right handed pitching.

As for Perez, I had also read the Yankees also had reason to doubt his true age (he claims to be 20, but may actually be 24 or 25). Meanwhile, the Yankees are also said to be in talks with two other Cuban prospects: Noel Arguelles and Jose Iglesias. The former is a lefty pitcher and the latter a short stop. As soon as both are declared free agents by MLB, the Yankees are believed to have the best shot at signing them.

2 ny2ca2dc   ~  Apr 21, 2009 9:16 am

I actually think Kepner has the best info on the launching pad:

First that the were diligent in the design: "Before they built the new Yankee Stadium, the Yankees commissioned engineering studies to gauge the possible effect of wind on batted balls. The tests showed nothing alarming, though more research is planned now that 20 home runs have been hit in the first four games."

And then this, which I think pegs it: "At the old Yankee Stadium, at least after the remodeling in the 1970s, the wall curved from the right-field corner to straightaway center. Now, because of a scoreboard embedded in the wall in right-center, it is almost entirely straight.

Greg Rybarczyk, who runs the Web site hittrackeronline.com, said 6 of the 14 homers hit to right field would not have been out at the old Stadium.

“The biggest difference is exactly at the center of Section 103 (the one closest to the right-field bullpen), where the new park is nine feet shorter (359 feet in the new, 368 feet in the old),” Rybarczyk said in an e-mail message."

3 williamnyy23   ~  Apr 21, 2009 9:20 am

[2] I noticed the same thing...without looking at the data, it seemed to me as if 4-5 HRs just went into the stands and wouldn't have cleared the old Stadium wall (including Jeter's and Posada's game winners). If you remove Rybarczyk's 6 HRs from the total, it doesn't seem as drastic. Instead of getting all bent out of shape over wind patterns, the solution might be to remove the scoreboard in RF and restore the old dimensions.

4 ny2ca2dc   ~  Apr 21, 2009 9:26 am

[3] Exactly. Maybe they'll take out the front few rows to get the fence where it should be and give the displaced ticket holders seats in the empty fancy sections!

I really hope they also do something to make monument park less sad and hidden in a cave.

5 monkeypants   ~  Apr 21, 2009 9:45 am


Although the field dimensions of the new stadium are exactly that of the old stadium,

Except...that...the dimensions are not exactly the same.

6 monkeypants   ~  Apr 21, 2009 9:50 am

[3] I'm not sure that anyone is getting that bent out of shape over wind patterns (well, at least I'm not)...there is nothing you ca do about that. Frankly they could have built an exact replica of the old stadium and the wind might be different.

Rather, I think some folks (myself included) are disturbed that despite the rhetoric by Yankees brass about preserving the sacred field dimensions that Jack Clark built, the field dimensions are not the same...and in fact are obviously cozier in RF.

So, in a stadium that is 60% bigger in terms of real estate, the field is actually smaller, and the seating capacity is smaller (yeah, I know, that old dead horse from me again). Thus, to move the fences back a bit and restore old old dimensions (1988-2008), they would have to remove the auxiliary scoreboard (which admittedly adds little charm since it is obscured by ads) AND remove even more seats.

7 monkeypants   ~  Apr 21, 2009 9:52 am

[4] Agreed. The more I see of Monument PArk, the less I like it. I'll have to wait and see it in person before final judgement.

And really, it's not monument park that is the problem. We again come back to that monstrosity in CF--the restaurant. It is so aesthetically unpleasing (to my eye), and it obstructs more than 1000 bleacher seats, and it makes monument park into a cave. Just awful.

8 Bum Rush   ~  Apr 21, 2009 9:57 am

For those of you that have been, why not swap Monument Cave with the visiting bullpen? If clearance is an issue, couldn't they just dig out the Cave a bit more. What ever happened to making in the visiting team uncomfortable?

9 williamnyy23   ~  Apr 21, 2009 10:07 am

[6] Actually, the field isn't smaller...it is smaller to RF field. If the Rybarczyk study is to be believed, the field is actually larger to parts of LF and CF. On the whole, the area may very well be the same or larger.

Also, I don't think they'd have to remove seats to restore the old dimensions. Another option would be to remove the scoreboard and push the plate back 5 feet.

10 williamnyy23   ~  Apr 21, 2009 10:10 am

[8] I don't think there is enough space to make the switch. The biggest difference between the two stadiums is the new one has very little open space beyond the walls. One thing I'd like to see them to do is get rid of bar/food court area above the restaurant and replace it with Monument Park.

11 Bum Rush   ~  Apr 21, 2009 10:20 am


What kind of space? By the stadium map, the length and width look the same for Monument Park as for the Yankee bullpen. If it's height, they could simply dig down unless there's something under there.

On top the restaurant would seem to work too. Better than the current setup, at least. Then they could keep it open all game long.

12 monkeypants   ~  Apr 21, 2009 10:21 am

[9] Pushing the play back probably would not be practical for two reasons. First, the backstop is already extremely close to home plate. Second and more importantly, moving the plate back would shift where the foul lines much closer to the stands beyond the bases (where the stands run parallel to the field). So, they would have to remove seats there, probably.

As for the field being bigger--if the Rybarczyk study is accurate, the differences in CF and LF are pretty small, and the field is nearly identical in the power alley in LF (and a tiny bit short in short LF, since the wall angles away from the foul poll more gently. The major difference is the power alley in RF, where the fence is up to about 10 feet closer, and the wall is shorter.

13 Mattpat11   ~  Apr 21, 2009 10:23 am

As someone who thinks A-Rod brings most (if not all) of his problems on himself and that there isn't some media agenda that forces him to act like a jackass all the time, I have to say, when i saw Giambi's (innocent) quote, the first thing that went through my mind is that Alex would get crucified if he said such a thing.

14 williamnyy23   ~  Apr 21, 2009 10:35 am

[11] I am going off of memory, but I think the floor of the restaurant would create too low of a ceiling. Also, I don't know how far back the area goes. Remember, you not only need two mounds, but an area for the relievers to sit.

15 williamnyy23   ~  Apr 21, 2009 10:40 am

[12] If we are only talking 5 feet, I think it could be worked out, but then again, I am neither an architect nor an engineer.

From my reading of Rybarczyk’s overlay, it looks like the added room in CF at least matches the shorter distances in RF. Also, according to Rybarczyk, the typical difference in RF is 4-5 feet…the 9 foot difference is only confined location.

16 Bum Rush   ~  Apr 21, 2009 10:47 am

@ 14

Right, that's what I thought. But unless they have something underneath Monument Cave, they can dig out that area as necessary. If you buy an old house in a historic East Coast city you'll know what I'm talking about.

This map:


Shows the area of the Monument Cave is about the same as the bullpens.

@ 15

12 is right. Pushing it back five feet would be the foul lines are pushed "back" five feet. There isn't room for that.

17 Diane Firstman   ~  Apr 21, 2009 10:53 am

I blame this all on global warming ...

18 williamnyy23   ~  Apr 21, 2009 10:59 am

[16] Are you sure there isn't room in foul territory? I believe the new Stadium has more foul space down both lines.

19 ny2ca2dc   ~  Apr 21, 2009 11:02 am

Sticking monument park on top of that restaurant would be glorious. they could make that whole back area into monument park. turn the lemon restaurant into lemonade!

20 williamnyy23   ~  Apr 21, 2009 11:09 am

[19] Pete Abe linked to some 2005 renderings of the then proposed ball park that had Monument Park in an open space. Of course, that design also had only 47,000 seats, so perhaps sticking MP in the cave was needed to get the capacity back up to 52,000.

21 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Apr 21, 2009 11:15 am

For once I was up early enough to scoop Diane on a link. I mentioned the Sheehan 'panic not Yankeedom' piece earlier today in Ciff's thread! And I agree with both Diane's caveats to Carroll's 'don't worry be happy'.

A lot of baseball is played between the ears, not just between the foul lines. This was, in fact, why I was a Torre fan: NY is a different place to play (and manage) and he shielded his players very well.

22 monkeypants   ~  Apr 21, 2009 11:20 am

[17] I blame global warming on this...or A-Rod.

23 tommyl   ~  Apr 21, 2009 11:25 am

Would placing MP on the sports bar mess with the batter's eye though?

24 Diane Firstman   ~  Apr 21, 2009 11:28 am


I can see it now .... "The Mohegan Sun Sports Bar and Monument Park, sponsored by Al Gore"

25 Diane Firstman   ~  Apr 21, 2009 11:30 am

If the jet stream is going to be in effect all year, I wouldn't mind Jeter taking 'roids and hitting 40 homers.

(just kidding) ....

Oh, by Hideki Irabu is making a comeback!

26 williamnyy23   ~  Apr 21, 2009 11:32 am

[23] I don't see why it would...currently, you have scores of fans roaming around as it is.

27 monkeypants   ~  Apr 21, 2009 11:46 am

[25] The '98 Yankees managed to win like 150 games despite giving Irabu 28 starts. Boggles the mind.

28 williamnyy23   ~  Apr 21, 2009 11:52 am

[27] Despite? Irabu was a very good pitcher that year. In fact, I think he won pitcher of the month twice.

29 Yankee Mama   ~  Apr 21, 2009 11:52 am

Someone suggested moving the infield forward and taking out the cushy seats behind home plate, since nobody is sitting there anyway. Funny!
That will give them the feet they need to extend the short porch.

Of course that doesn't help the Jeffrey Maier dileema. Almost mind-boggling that they didn't address it in the new stadium.

30 Yankee Mama   ~  Apr 21, 2009 11:53 am


31 Ken_P   ~  Apr 21, 2009 11:57 am

[7] I agree completely. I was at the game on Sunday, and despite being very pleased in general with the new stadium, the restaurant in CF is a glaring flaw. The obstructed view bleachers are a real embarrassment, and you can barely see monument park at all. I'm not sure what the solution is, but I can't see it staying the way it is for very long.

32 Cru Jones   ~  Apr 21, 2009 12:08 pm

monument cave is sad....nothing like burying the world's greatest baseball team's history under a casino-themed restaurant and out of view from the playing surface.

dead horse, yes, but all this debate about the stadium's design has me thinking about it.

33 jen   ~  Apr 21, 2009 12:10 pm

Sticking MP on top of the restaurant would be horrible. The bleacher concourse gets crowded as it is. Plus you would take away a large chunk of the food options as well as standing room, which to me is a nice alternative if you have an obstructed view. Yeah, I know we can walk anywhere in the stadium now, but who wants to walk down a flight of stairs during the game just to get a hot dog.

34 williamnyy23   ~  Apr 21, 2009 12:10 pm

[31] I had the same impression after my first visit as well. The restaurant , which looks like an airport terminal, seems as if it was crammed into the structure. Everything else seems like it belongs, but this feature sticks out like a sore thumb. Having said that, it does provide support for the outfield observation deck, which I think is a great feature. If they remove the restaurant, they'll have to figure out a way to keep the platform above.

35 williamnyy23   ~  Apr 21, 2009 12:14 pm

[33] Quite frankly, I think the concession probably attracts a larger crowd than the monuments would, so making the switch might actually lessen the crowd. I also don't see how removing what is essentially a beer stand would take away a large chunk of the food options. As you mentioned, a full array of options are only a staircase removed from the bleachers. I happen to think the team's history deserves a more prominent place and think that endeavor should trump the convenience of getting a beer.

36 benvolio   ~  Apr 21, 2009 12:29 pm

Can / would somebody explain why flyballs carry better in warm weather? I'd be grateful.

37 williamnyy23   ~  Apr 21, 2009 12:46 pm

[36] It has to do with air density. As it gets hotter, the density of the air decreases, allowing the ball to travel further.

38 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Apr 21, 2009 12:47 pm

[36] Warm air is less dense, Benvolio. Air expands as it gets hotter, molecules are farther part, so less resistance to the flight of something (anything) through it. The difference isn't huge in baseball terms, but it doesn't have to be, to be a factor.

39 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Apr 21, 2009 12:48 pm

A drink, Professor William?

40 tommyl   ~  Apr 21, 2009 12:53 pm

[37] Yeah, but you have to factor in humidity too. More humidity equals less ball flight, so its not as clear cut to me.

41 williamnyy23   ~  Apr 21, 2009 1:04 pm

[40] Actually, humid air is less dense than dry air, so that should make the ball travel further. However, humidity also increases the mass and lessens the energy transfer, which negates the impact of the decreased density. The net change is a slight decrease in distance.

42 benvolio   ~  Apr 21, 2009 4:43 pm

Thank you, William and Horace!

43 ny2ca2dc   ~  Apr 21, 2009 4:44 pm

[33] I would hope there would be some room to push back for some more space; but what I'm driving at is a big open space. Then essentially the whole outfield area would be monument park. It could be bright, nice and airy. I'm not suggesting it would be easy, to the contrary I think it would require plenty of rework.

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