Aaron Judge has become the latest hitter to criticize the new pitcher-friendly dimensions at Camden Yards in Baltimore, and Orioles veteran Trey Mancini seems to agree with the New York Yankees slugger.
After losing a potential home run that bounced off the top of the newly constructed high wall into left field on Tuesday night, the judge told MLB.com he was “rather upset” about the new dimensions, saying the redesigned ballpark is a “transvestite” and “now looks like a Create-A-Park”.
Mancini, the Orioles’ longest-serving player, told the Baltimore Sun that Judge wasn’t the first player to complain about Camden’s new dimensions; the left field wall was pushed back about 30 feet and was also raised 7 feet to about 12 feet high.
“Nobody likes that,” Mancini told The Sun. “No hitter like that, myself included.”
Judge’s first-inning blast on Tuesday traveled 399 feet and would have been a home run in all 29 other Major League Baseball fields, according to Statcast data. But the new Camden Yards held Judge in the stadium, much to the dismay of the Yankees.
“He almost had three [homers]”Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of Judge, who hit a pair of solo home runs later in the game. “But Build-Your-Own-Park got it.”
Judge, who leads the majors with 14 homers this season, expanded on his review of Camden on Wednesday, telling the New York Post that the new dimensions have taken a toll on what was a “magnificent park.”
“I feel like it’s ruining the park,” Judge told the Post before going no-hitter in New York’s 3-2 win over Baltimore. “It was a very nice park as it was.”
According to ESPN Stats & Information research, just 1.8% of plate appearances at Camden Yards this season have ended in a home run, the fifth-fewest of all MLB stadiums. Last season, 4.5% of plate appearances at Camden ended in a homer, the highest percentage in MLB.
No park allowed more home runs last season than Camden Yards, and the Orioles produced 155 home runs last season – the most in MLB and third most by any team in a season.
Mancini, in his sixth season with the Orioles, was homeless at Camden Yards before Thursday afternoon’s game against the Yankees. The powerhouse first baseman hit 14 of 21 home runs last season at Camden Yards, but has lost at least two potential new-sized home runs this season.
“There’s nothing we can do to change that,” Mancini told The Sun. “It’s nothing you can think about when you’re at home plate. But that doesn’t make it any less difficult when you hit a ball that you think should definitely be a home run.”
It’s the second time in recent weeks that the Yankees have been involved in a back-and-forth over stadium dimensions and their impact on home runs.
Texas Rangers manager Chris Woodward called Yankee Stadium a “little league ballpark to right field” earlier this month and said Gleyber Torres’ homer would have been an “out easy in 99% of baseball fields”. Boone initially did not respond to Woodward before joking that his “calculations are wrong”, pointing out that “99% is impossible. There are only 30 parks”.
With Boone the opposite of the talk this week, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde told The Sun he would “take the high [road]and said he thought Camden Yards was playing “more fair” on fly balls to left field.
Camden Yards has produced just 1.3 homers per game this season, fifth-fewest in the majors, after allowing an MLB-high 3.4 per game last season, according to ESPN Stats & Information data.
“Before, fly balls to left field were home runs, and that was often unfair,” Hyde told The Sun. “It’s just playing fairer than before.”
Ryan Mountcastle, Anthony Santander and Austin Hays are the only Orioles hitters to homer off the left-field wall this season, and Mancini reiterated that the dimensions of the home run have not gone down well with hitters. Baltimore.
“I know that [Judge’s] the ball should probably be a home run, but we had quite a few too, it should have been,” he told The Sun. “Like I said, we play half our games here, so not great as a right-handed hitter.
“It’s always our job to go out there and play, so complaining about [it], that’s not going to help us. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we like it either.”
Orioles pitchers, conversely, have thrived in the new dimensions, posting a combined 2.74 ERA and allowing just 11 homers in 19 home games entering Thursday. The Baltimore pitchers had a 5.99 ERA in 81 home games last season.
“The stadium is a real gem,” Orioles general manager Mike Elias told The Post. “We wanted to make it less of a circuit paradise.”