Watching A-Rod's would-be-flyball leave the yard to tie up Saturday's Yankees-Phillies' match-up epitomized exactly how ridiculous the setup at the new Yankee Stadium.
Balls are flying out a record pace, something like 3.5 bombs per game. There is a real chance that they will break the Coors Field mark of 303 homeruns hit in a stadium in a season at a stadium. That was set in 1991.
Philadelphia Inquirer columinst Phil Sherridan called out the Bronx Bombers' brass in his Sunday column.
"When the most steroid-tainted team in baseball builds a stadium that makes Citizens Bank Park look like the old Polo Grounds, you can expect a lot of home runs. And when the most notorious steroid-linked active player returns after surgery, it should surprise no one that seven of his first 10 hits are home runs," Sheridan wrote.
Mike Lupica added more in his insight in Sunday's New York Daily News.
"Ballplayers looking to hit home runs in bunches apparently don't need to use steroids anymore. They just have to pay a visit to the new Yankee Stadium, which suddenly looks like the performance-enhancing capital of the world," Lupcia claimed.
"It's why the Yankees have to jump on this thing right now, balls flying out of the place like they've spent $1.5 billion recreating the dimensions of the park where they play the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa."
Don't expect a power shortage anytime soon in the Bronx.
The new $1.5 billion stadium is supposed to be a near-replica of the stoic old one just across the street, but with more modern amenities like more toilets, slightly bigger seats, and added luxury boxes. But the differences, though minor on the grand scale, could be crucial. Greg Rybarczyk, the creator of Hit Tracker, which tracks every home run in Major League Baseball, used satellite imagery and photographs of the old stadium, and engineering plans for the new park, and determined that right field is indeed shallower in the new stadium.
Rybarczyk also found that the right field fence in the old stadium was about two feet higher than the current one — which could mean the difference between a fly ball and a homer in some cases.
Rybarczyk is also investigating the intriguing possibility that this season's balls could be "livelier" than last year's. "Manufacturing processes tend to shift and drift over time," he said, "And it's entirely plausible that this year's batch of baseballs is within specification, but just slightly more resilient than the prior year's batch."