Tim Dierkes offers a bunch of links about the two raging issues of the day in the Bronx: Chien-Ming Wang's abject failures, and all those home runs flying around.
Wang Here's one more link about Wang, from Driveline Mechanics:
- The most telling numbers are his differing velocities between his fastball/sinker from last night's start and 2008 -- take a look at how much slower he was throwing last night! Furthermore, there's nearly 3 inches less in vertical break.
When his velocity was up near 92, he was recording outs without a problem. When it dipped even just a few MPH, he was getting crushed. It reinforces the idea that very small percentage changes make a big difference in baseball.
The major difference in velocity and movement would concern me greatly if I was someone in the Yankees front office. This has all the signs of a "cascade" injury, where the initial injury to Wang's foot has caused altered mechanics up the line or has exposed a lack of fitness elsewhere. Look for Wang to go on the 15-day disabled list, if only for his complete ineffectiveness.
And there's this, from (of all places) AccuWeather.com:
- 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 old Yankee stadium had more stacked tiers and a large upper deck, acting like a solid wall in effect, which would cause the wind to swirl more and be less concentrated. 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 question: Did the Yankees do any modeling while designing the new place? Because it seems to me that everyone's now got a theory to explain all the home runs so far, and every theory could have been tested beforehand. Hey, maybe this is what the Yankees wanted. If any team is equipped to purchase sluggers and overpay veteran pitchers who can handle giving up a homer per starts, it's this one.