Baseball

The Orioles change the dimensions of the left field at Camden Yards to reduce the tendency of the field to run at home

Oriole Park and Camden Yards opened in 1992 and almost instantly became a baseball sensation. It revolutionized baseball fields to move more in a “retro” direction rather than the cookie cutters fans used to see in the ’70s and ’80s. And now, for the first time, the playing surface is being changed.

according to the Baltimore Sun, from the rotten line to the bulls in the left center. It was previously 333 feet below the left line, and now it will move about 30 feet, according to the report. The seven-foot-high wall will be raised to about 12 feet as well. Here more:

The club told The Baltimore Sun that it began construction this week to change the dimensions of the left field at Camden Yards in an effort to reduce the stadium’s tendency to run down its turf. The changes – the first to the size of the famous football stadium’s playing area in two decades – will raise the height of the wall from 7 feet to about 12 feet and bring it back up to 30 feet, according to information provided by the team. Major League Baseball has approved the amendments, which will cover the area from the left field corner to the bulls in the left center field.

Camden Yards has always been a home-friendly park, especially in this left field area. The Sun reported that this change was prompted at least in part by the front office, behind General Manager Mike Elias:

The Orioles baseball analytics and operations divisions, led by Executive Vice President and General Manager Mike Elias and Assistant General Manager Analytics Sig Mejdal, are working to find a way to make the field more balanced for bowlers and hitters and set changes to the left field better for this score, while also bringing back the home plate from between considerations. The team also sought to ensure that the adjustments would not lead to an imbalance between right-handed and left-handed hitters.

Camden had the most home runs of any football stadium in 2021:

1. Camden Yards 277
2. Great American Ball Park (Reds), 250
3. Wrigley Field (Cubs), 242
4. Target field (twins), 233
5. Dodger Stadium (Dodgers) 231

It also had the highest deceleration and highest OPS (among current ballparks; the early Florida home of the Blue Jays had highest OPS at 21 games).

It will be interesting to see how it does throughout the 2022 season. Sometimes teams over-correct and turn bowler pitches into the hitter’s garden or vice versa. Most of the time, they get it right. The intent here of the Orioles front office is to create a neutral soccer field and they certainly studied enough bat data to at least leave the field to enter the field (pun intended) to achieve that goal.

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