Who doesn't love a good conspiracy theory?
Ever since the first homestand, baseball fans have been complaining that the new Yankee Stadium is yielding far too many home runs. Baseball purists are calling up WFAN 660, the local sports talk radio station, and saying that the new Yankee Stadium is a silo and that this takes away from the strategy of the game. So far this year, after hitting four home runs tonight to beat the Rays 5-3 (all of the runs being scored on dingers) the Yankees have hit 88 home runs, with an astounding 53 of them coming at home. Next to the Texas Rangers, who also play at a homer happy ball park, the Yankees have the second most in the league. Particularly in the steroid era, people say this is what is wrong with baseball. Too many home runs, not enough "small ball."
Strangely enough, before the season started, no one predicted that there would be an abnormal amount of home runs hit at the new stadium. The dimensions are the same as the old ball park, and it was literally built across the block, so why would things be different? Experts say the reason for the power streak is because of wind currents. If the ball is lifted in the air, particularly to right (which is very important to my theory) there is a very good chance it is going to carry over the wall. Yankee management says they had no idea this would happen. It's just a fluke. Or at least that is what they would lead you to believe.
Going back to the 1920's and Murderer's Row, the Yankees have has historically had line ups built around power. Ruth, Mantle, Maris, Jackson, and now A-Rod and Teixeira. A-Rod was signed to a long term contract before the plans for the new stadium were set into motion. So, the Yankees knew they would most likely have Alex Rodriguez for the remainder of his career right in the middle of the line up. Additionally, moreso than anyone else in the league, A-Rod is EXTREMELY strong when going the other way. He hits a lot of home runs that way. Let's go next level with the rest of their line up.
1. Derek Jeter (R) - Not too powerful, but most of his homers go to right.
2. Johnny Damon (L) Has some pop, particularly when pulling it down the line.
3. Mark Teixeira (L) Quintissential pull power hitter.
4. A-Rod (R) Enough said.
5. Jorge Posada (S) Still good for 25-30 homers a year.
6. Hideki Matsui (L) also still good for 25-30.
7. Nick Swisher (S) Power hitter more than an average hitter
8. Robinson Cano (L) Young lefty who is getting stronger.
9. Melky Cabrera (S) Also a young guy with some pop.
THIS IS A POWER LINE UP. And most of their power is geared toward right field. This is where the conspiracy comes into play. The people running the Yankees are not stupid. They know what they have on their team. But they also know that if they simply made it 300 feet down the line in right, then they would get a lot of ridicule from the league and from fans. So, instead, I think the team paid engineers and physicists to study the wind currents in the Bronx to find out exactly how to arrange the stadium to get the most from their power. It's not an accident! They paid hundreds of millions of dollars to build this stadium. They knew exactly what they were doing. (The blind spots notwithstanding.)
It makes so much sense. The key to professional sports is trying to find every advantage possible to defeat your opponent. Particularly in baseball, this brings the structure of the ball parks into play. Teams can build their teams around the ball park. If you have a big park that doesn't give up a lot of home runs (Citi Field) then you should focus on getting quality pitching and fast outfielders. If you have a Green Monster in left field (Fenway) then your general manager should acquire right handed power. For years to come, the Yankees are going go after power hitters. Now, perhaps you don't like the brand of baseball. Maybe you like National League style baseball. Manufacturing runs. That's fine, but if you are a Yankee fan, do not criticize the Yankees for their stadium. Realize that what the Yankees have done is brilliant and that for decades you are going to see your fair share of incredible mammoth shots by some of the game's best power hitters.