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Baseball Analysis  John Holway

Also Read: Was Satchel the Best? Dear Bryce (Harper from Ted Williams)
Gibson's Stadium Blasts  Josh Gibson's Famous Yankee Stadium Home Run


By John B Holway

Is the new Yankee Stadium already a dinosaur?

The old House that Ruth Built was one of the most misshapen baseball parks ever constructed. Ted Williams once lined a homer just over the three-foot high fence, 296 feet from home. "Just skimmin' 'em in now, huh, Ted?" Yogi Berra greeted him at home plate.

"Yeah," Ted laughed, "a real Yankee Stadium job."

Yogi should know. He skimmed at lot of his 358 homers into the same Short Porch. If Yoge had played anywhere else, he might not be in the Hall of Fame.

When they decided to build a new Stadium, they had an excellent chance to wipe out the decades-old discrimination. Instead they proudly duplicated it and called it "tradition."

I agree that, on a team-by-team basis, the Stadium Porch is neutral - every club has an equal shot at dumping cheap home runs into it.

But on an individual player basis, it is far from neutral. It's the most unfair park in the majors.

The latest examples are the heroics of Yankees Raul Ibanez and Ichiro Suzuki. Beginning with the final games against Boston, they slugged seven dramatic October shots into New York's rightfield stands. Three, into the upper deck, were legitimate. The other four, into the lower deck, probably would have been outs anywhere else. If they had played in any other park, Baltimore would be the Division champs and would be facing Detroit for the pennant.

Does any other sport deliberately do that?

Basketball does not have a nine-foot basket in Chicago and 11-foot baskets elsewhere.

Football does not have wide goal posts in New England and narrow ones in Rutherford.

A 1500-meter race is exactly 1500 meters in London and Los Angeles and Beijing.

As for baseball, it's OK to make each park distinctive. You can put a giant Coke bottle or fielders' mitt in left field if you want to - as long as it's on the other side of the fence. But you can't be cute and change the distance from the pitching mound to home or from home to first base.

Or from home to the rightfield foul pole.

(C) 2012 John B Holway

John Holway is author of  "Josh Gibson," and "Josh and Satch."

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