Aaron Judge became the latest hitter to criticize the new pitcher-friendly dimensions at Baltimore’s Camden Yards, and Orioles veteran Trey Mancini appears to agree with the New York Yankees’ bat.
After losing a potential home run that ricocheted off the top of the newly constructed high wall in left field Tuesday night, Judge told MLB.com it was him “pretty angry” about the new dimensions, saying the redesigned ballpark is a “travesty” and it “just looks like a Create-A-Park now.”
Mancini, the Orioles’ longest-serving player, told the Baltimore Sun that Judge isn’t the first player to complain about Camden’s new dimensions; The wall in left span was pushed back about 30 feet and also raised from 7 feet to about 12 feet in height.
“Nobody likes it,” Mancini told the Sun. “No hitter likes it, including me.”
Judge’s first-inning blast on Tuesday covered 399 feet and would have been a homer at all 29 other Major League Baseball stadiums, according to Statcast data. But the new Camden Yards kept judges in the stadium, much to the Yankees’ dismay.
“He had almost three [homers]’ Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of Judge hitting two solo homers later in the game. “But Build-Your-Own-Park got him.”
Judge, who leads the majors with 14 homers this season, addressed his Camden criticism Wednesday, telling the New York Post that the new dimensions detracted from a “beautiful park.”
“I feel like it’s ruining the park,” Judge told the Post before going clean in New York’s 3-2 win over Baltimore. “It was a pretty nice park the way it was.”
New Yorker Giancarlo Stanton also lost a homer against the left-field dimensions in Thursday’s first inning when his 386-foot shot ricocheted off the wall for a two-run single. The line drive left Stanton’s bat at 114 mph and would have been a homer in 28 out of 30 MLB stadiums, according to Statcast.
The Yankees slugger was happier with the result in the fourth inning when his towering 392-foot blast around the foul pole hooked in left field for a solo home run. Stanton was Homer’s first guest player to leave the field at Camden Yards this season.
Baltimore’s Robinson Chirinos also broke the high wall two innings earlier when he launched a 381-foot shot for a double-barreled home run, becoming the fourth Orioles player to leave the field at home this season.
According to a study by ESPN Stats & Information, only 1.8% of plate appearances at Camden Yards this season ended in a home run, the fifth lowest of any stadium in MLB. Last season, 4.5% of Camden plate appearances ended in homers, the highest percentage in MLB.
No park allowed more home runs last season than Camden Yards, and the Orioles hit 155 home runs at home last season — the most in MLB and the third most by any team in a season.
Mancini, who is in his sixth season with the Orioles, was homerless at Camden Yards and entered Thursday afternoon’s game against the Yankees. The hard-hitting first baseman hit 14 of his 21 homers at Camden Yards last season but has lost at least two would-be homers to the new dimensions this season.
“There’s nothing we can do about it,” Mancini told the Sun. “It’s nothing to think about when you’re on the plate. But it doesn’t make it any less difficult when you hit a ball that you think should definitely be a homer.”
This is the second time in recent weeks that the Yankees have been caught up in a back-and-forth over baseball dimensions and how they affect home runs.
Texas Rangers manager Chris Woodward earlier this month referred to Yankee Stadium as a “little league ballpark to right field” and said Gleyber Torres’ walk-off homer would have been an easy off in 99 percent of ballparks. Boone didn’t answer Woodward at first, before joking that his “math is wrong,” pointing out that “99 percent is impossible. There are only 30 parks.”
With Boone at the other end of this week’s discourse, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde told the Sun he will “take the high [road]’ and said he thinks Camden Yards play ‘fairer’ with flyballs to left field.
Camden Yards has hit just 1.3 homers per game this season, the fifth lowest in the majors, after allowing an MLB high of 3.4 per game last season, according to ESPN Stats & Information data.
“In the past, flyballs to left field were homers and that was often really unfair,” Hyde told the Sun. “It just plays fairer than before.”
Chirinos, Ryan Mountcastle, Anthony Santander and Austin Hays are the only Orioles hitters to have shot over the left field wall this season, and Mancini reiterated that the dimensions of the homer robbery weren’t well received by Baltimore’s batsmen.
“I know that [Judge’s] Ball was probably supposed to be a homer, but we also had some that should have been,” he told the Sun. “Like I said, we play half our games here, so not as well as right-handers.
“It’s still our job to go out and play, so complain about it [it], it won’t help us. But that doesn’t mean we necessarily like it.”
Orioles Pitchers, on the other hand, have performed well in the new dimensions, posting a combined ERA of 2.74 and allowing just 11 homers in 19 home games Thursday. The Baltimore pitchers had a 5.99 ERA in 81 home games last season.
“The stadium is an absolute gem,” Orioles CEO Mike Elias told the Post. “We wanted to make it less of a Homer haven.”