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Touching All the Bases: New Yankee Stadium Home Run Derby

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After analyzing the 29 games played and the 105 home runs hit at the new Yankee Stadium, AccuWeather.com has determined that a portion of the home run derby that has taken place this season cannot be directly attributed to the weather. As it turns out, walls, not weather, are the homer helpers for 19 percent of the home runs thus far in the new Yankee Stadium.

The difference is in the dimensions. For someone attending a game at the new Yankee Stadium, or watching on TV, the size of the playing field appears to be the same. The dimensions at select corners of the field are identical - and the posted numbers on the walls reflect that. However, comparing schematics and aerial photos of the parks reveal some nuances that have significant implications.

In right field, the newfound homer haven, the wall structure is slightly different than the old park. The main difference involves curvature. It can be seen in photographs that the gentle curve from right field to center field seen in the original Yankee Stadium has largely been eliminated at the new stadium. This is due in large part to the presence of a manual scoreboard, which requires that the wall be straight. Losing this curvature has resulted in a right field that is shorter by 4 to 5 feet on average, but up to 9 feet in spots.

Not only is the famed short porch even shorter in the new stadium, but the walls themselves are not as tall. In the old ballpark, the walls in right field stood at a height of approximately 10 feet. At this height, it was difficult for outfielders to scale the wall and attempt to rob a home run over the fence. Fast forward to 2009, and the outfielders have been scaling the wall without any trouble. The result? The new outfield fences only rise to a height of approximately 8 feet, adding to the ease hitting a home run to right.

Taking into account the dimensions of the field and wall height, AccuWeather.com has calculated that 19 percent (an estimated 20 out of 105) home runs would not have flown out of the old stadium. If the first 29 games are any indication, 293 home runs will be hit by the end of the year at the new Yankee Stadium, just short of the record of 303 home runs hit at Denver's Coors Field in 1999. If this is the case, as many as 56 home runs could be attributed to the size of the new playing field.

As far as the weather is concerned, there has been no consistent pattern observed in the wind speed and direction that would lead to an increase in home runs so far this year. Rather, any weather-related changes would seem to be due to differences between the old and new Yankee stadiums and their structural effects on the micro-weather regimes.

While part of the increase in home runs seen in the Bronx can be pinned on the dimensions of the field and the height of the walls, two large factors will always remain: the quality of the hitter and the performance of the pitcher.

Story by AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Tim Buckley.

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