MLB Handicapping: Inside Look at A.L. Stadiums
by Dave Busk - 07/08/2009
With the summer wind rolling into ballparks across the country I will talk this week about how the heat and the wind affect some of the American League ballparks. The one thing that most parks have in common is that the ball will travel better in the day then at night, but it is a bit more complicated than that and I will talk about a few things here that you might not know about some of these fields. I will come back next week and touch on some of the National League parks.
Yankee Stadium - New York
The new Yankee Stadium has been the talk of baseball this year, just like anything else involving the Yankees. This park has been a lunching pad early on. However, the only question is if the Yankees will do or even if they can do anything to slow down scoring. The old Yankee Stadium still has to be torn down, which could affect the wind pattern when that is complete. Stay tuned!
Fenway Park - Boston
This is the home of the Green Monster in left and a very short porch in right. Pitchers don't get many cheap outs here as there is very little foul ground. Therefore, pitchers that tend to get strikeouts rather then pitchers that put the ball in play and let their defense get outs will do better here. With that short fence in right, teams that have right-handed power hitters in the lineup will do well here.
Rogers Centre - Toronto
Rogers Centre is a strange park and day games seem to stay under here at a good clip. They replaced their turf that used to eat up the infielders with ground balls that would move quick on the hard turf. Fly-ball pitchers do well here and the ball carries when the roof is open. Right-handed hitters have success here.
Camden Yards - Baltimore
The ball will carry good here in the summer heat when it's humid -- they have a high 25- foot wall in right field that will kept some balls in the park. They grow the grass in the infield high and that helps ground-ball pitchers in this park.
Comiskey Park - Chicago
This park was built in the early 90s and has gone over some major changes since then. This was a pitcher's park but then in 2000 they moved the fences in and then in 2004 they made some renovations to the upper deck and since then the ball has jumped out of this park on a more consistent basis. There is a jet stream that carries the ball when the wind is blowing out and this park can be a nightmare for fly-ball pitchers depending on the time of the year.
Comerica Park - Detroit
This park is huge and that is even after they moved the fences in left field in by 25 feet. This park will cover up a lot of the mistakes by a pitcher. Teams that have slow outfielders will struggle defensively in this park, while right-handed power hitters numbers will drop off here. This is a fly-ball pitchers dream.
Kauffman Stadium - Kansas City
This park has been changed so much; at the beginning of the 1995 season the fences were moved in and the scoring skyrocketed until they moved the fences back out 10 feet heading into the 2004 season and, as a result, scoring dropped a bit. The one thing that has stayed the same here is that in the spring the wind blowing in keeps the 'unders' coming but when that Midwest summer heat moves in the ball jumps here.
Oakland Coliseum - Oakland
This is just one of those West Coast parks where the ball carries so much better in the day then at night. During the night there is moisture that keeps the ball from jumping. However, during the summer and especially during the day the air is dry. The Coliseum has a ton of foul ground and gives the pitching some extra outs. Teams that have speed will help out their pitching here a lot while teams with slower outfields will struggle.
The Ball Park at Arlington - Texas
A hitter's paradise and a fly ball pitchers nightmare, this park is located in one of the hottest major league cities during the summer months and can get a pitcher fatigued in a hurry. They have a 42-foot wide screen in centerfield to help slow the winds but this park's wind patterns are unique with the wind blowing in from right it actually swirls and blows the ball out to left. Offense numbers climb here -- keep this wind pattern for your notes.
Safeco Field - Seattle
This is another park that when the roof is open the ball will carry better. This park is a big park and pitchers will do well here but it's big and has some deep alleys that will help teams that make contact and have speed produce runs. It will keep power hitting lineups in check and teams that have high strikeout rates will struggle here.