Yanks Test for “Wind Tunnel” in HR-Friendly Stadium

Balls are flying out of Yankee Stadium at a fantastic rate

When EA Sports released the seminal NHL '94 for the Sega Genesis, it came with a built in flaw. It didn't take long to figure out that any player with the puck, from Gretzky to Jeff Beukeboom, could score infinite goals just by deking left, right and left again. The ease of that play ruined a game that was otherwise perfect, which meant using "the move" had to be banned by groups of friends who hoped to continue playing the game.

The new Yankee Stadium may need a similar ban imposed on hitting the ball to right field. The first 36 innings of baseball at the Stadium saw 14 home runs soar out to right, a ridiculous number more befitting a Home Run Derby than actual Major League Baseball games. 20 homers have been hit overall, an unsustainable average as time goes on.

Chien-Ming Wang's continued devolution into a little leaguer didn't even do much to contribute to the total. He only allowed one of the blasts, and it was actually to left-center field. Pretty much every other pitcher from the weekend, except Carl Pavano strangely, found themselves whipping their head back over their left shoulder to watch their best work turned into yet another home run.

It seems like a design flaw that the building is playing like a video game. They only slightly changed the dimensions from across the street, although HitTracker's Greg Rybarczyk told WasWatching.com that those changes appear to be playing a role. That said, it's not like you can exactly simulate game conditions ahead of time. Darren Roverll reports that the Yankees did wind testing, and say they will do more, but no "wind tunnel" made itself apparent until the games started being played.

For all we know, the designers may have pointed out that the differences in the fences would have a great impact, only to be shot down by Yankee executives determined to copy the old Stadium, right down to the whole sections of empty seats at field level. 

Sorry, different issue. 

There are several factors that may be contributing to the rise in home run rate, something Rybarczyk also mentions. No matter the cause, five homers a game is a lot, though. If things continue to run this way it will render just about every prediction about the Yankees moot. That would be an interesting, if not exactly intended, consequence of the new building.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.

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