Perspective Redux

Here's a team, who at the All-Star Break was a lackluster 48-38, seven games out of the division lead.

This team was an even more lackluster 58-49 on Aug. 6, nearly a month later, now 10.5 games out.

Nine days later, on Aug. 15, it was little better, now 64-52 and still 10.5 games back.

Of course, we all know the 2004 Red Sox won the World Series.

It's worth remembering that even after the much-cited Nomar Garciaparra trade, the Sox were mediocre for another two weeks. They then reeled off 20 wins in 22 games, including 10 in a row, and cut the Yankees' lead to two games — gaining 8.5 games in three weeks. A similar run now would leave Boston ahead of New York by three games with about three weeks to play.

Now the obvious counterpoint is that the 2004 Sox were mediocre post-break, but they weren't downright terrible, as the Sox have been — 8-14 going into last night's game. True, but the '04 club did go 9-13 in a 22-game stretch ending July 7, and for that matter the 2007 Sox also went 9-13 in a 22-game span, ending July 20.

So both recent World Series winners have been terrible over similar stretches (the '06 club, by contrast, was 6-16 in a stretch ending Sept. 9, so they were even worse later in the year), and one of them rallied to make up far more ground in the standings than the Sox need to this year.

With that in mind, now that we know the 2009 Red Sox won't go 0 for the rest of the season, here are a few reasons for optimism:
  • The Sox have now received strong starts from four starters in their most recent appearances, and we'll see about Junichi Tazawa tonight.
  • Jacoby Ellsbury is hitting .363/.409/.513 since July 24, and .303/.365/.445 since he was dropped in the lineup May 31.
  • Jason Bay has a five-game hitting streak with two home runs in that span. 
  • J.D. Drew is hitting .405/.500/.568 in his last 12 games, including five multihit games. 
  • Victor Martinez has been effective since his introduction into the Red Sox lineup. 

 Hey, it's a start, right?

88 comments… add one

  • A couple of things –
    1. Tonight’s game is a real “bridge” game. If Tazawa can hold down the fort and give the Sox a chance at winning, we’ll see Beckett/Buch/Lester next, so a real shot at a streak happening, or at least a little winning glut. It would be welcome. I am curious to see Tazawa pitch – I didn’t see him the other night, plus this is in a familiar role for him as starter. I am excited, just for the “new”.
    2. JD Drew, ball spinning under his glove in RF aside, was a joy to watch last night. He hit nicely and, in particular, his baserunning was fantastic. It’s rare that a single piece of work on the paths impresses, but when he went 1st to 3rd on Kotchman’s single it was hard not to see the intensity and skill. Drew going on a streak like last year’s early-season heroics would be absolutely HUGE for this team.

    SF August 11, 2009, 8:56 am
  • Drew draws the ire of the media (and threfore the fans). He’s a good ball player, but the little things he does go unnoticed by many.
    Tazawa had balls hit hard off of him – hopefully that intro to the majors will help calm him tonight.
    The top 5 in the line-up are the only production it seems (Green’s game last night notwithstanding). They need more production from the bottom (hopefully Bay stays lower in the order)

    dw (sf) August 11, 2009, 9:01 am
  • Tazawa looks like he has good stuff, he was just inconsistent the other night (can you blame him?). He’s got a pitching motion similar to Daisuke’s, but hopefully he can throw more goddamn strikes than the latter.
    Penny deserves credit for what he did last night. He wasn’t spectacular, but he limited the damage, got a quality start, and easily could have gone 7 innings. It was also nice to see a good outing from Papelbon.

    Atheose August 11, 2009, 9:06 am
  • [Insert Snide PED Comment Here]

    Statler August 11, 2009, 9:13 am
  • Drew draws the ire of the media (and threfore the fans). He’s a good ball player, but the little things he does go unnoticed by many.
    Outside of Beckett, easily my favorite player on this team is Drew.

    Brad August 11, 2009, 9:15 am
  • The Rays seem like they are about to surge.

    Crewd August 11, 2009, 9:31 am
  • What makes you think that, Crewd?

    Atheose August 11, 2009, 9:32 am
  • What makes you think that, Crewd?
    Their loss last night?

    SF August 11, 2009, 10:05 am
  • It needn’t be a snide PED comment. We’re now absolutely forced to confront, even as many never will, what those 2004 and 2007 teams could have done without PEDs. It will never be the same, and baseball should be ashamed of destroying their history. An 86 year wait only to wonder how a never-was became a superstar overnight?

    Rob August 11, 2009, 10:12 am
  • Seriously, Rob? Papi being on the list is all you can comment on? Baseball shouldn’t be ashamed of that, you should.

    rootbeerfloat August 11, 2009, 10:22 am
  • Actually, I’m still waiting for the press conference where Manny explains how he could test positive in 2003 and in 2009.

    Rob August 11, 2009, 10:26 am
  • Don’t let Rob derail the thread.

    Atheose August 11, 2009, 10:27 am
  • Rob, in a long series of laughable comments you’ve made on this subject, this one takes the cake.

    Paul SF August 11, 2009, 10:27 am
  • Ah, yes, back to the ad hominem when you have no counter argument.
    Yeah, it’s “laughable” to wonder how the Sox would have done with a guy OPSing .820 instead of 1.020.
    Also notable, Manny has somehow “lost” 100 points in OPS pre-suspension and post. But I suppose that’s just a small sample size effect.

    Rob August 11, 2009, 10:32 am
  • Thanks for the wise words, Ath.
    I neglected to mention in my post up top that Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis continue to rake, so it looks like the Sox may be returning to having a lineup that looks imposing at least for the top six or seven:
    Ellsbury
    Pedroia
    Martinez
    Youkilis
    Drew
    Bay
    Ortiz/Lowell
    Varitek/Kotchman
    Green
    If they’re hitting like they can, that’s a lineup good enough to win in September and October. And if Buchholz can build on his start against New York, that really relieves a lot of the pressure on the pitching staff.
    It’s funny how much easier it is to feel good about a team after just one win.

    Paul SF August 11, 2009, 10:34 am
  • It’s funny how much easier it is to feel good about a team after just one win.
    That’s what it means to be a fan-atic.
    Wait, and now you expect the Sox to platoon Ortiz with Lowell? My goodness, what a crazy idea.

    Rob August 11, 2009, 10:43 am
  • “It’s funny how much easier it is to feel good about a team after just one win”
    True, even easier to feel bad about them after one loss! Esp to the Yankees :).
    I like the top 5, the bottom 4 I don’t have confidence in. Is it possible that Lowell is slower than the Molina brothers? His range is basically what he can fall over to on each side, and anything he used to hit for a double is barely a single. I’m waiting for him to get thrown out from the right fielder on a grounder.

    dw (sf) August 11, 2009, 10:46 am
  • Otherwise, keep ignoring the bigger story. Every time you watch highlights of 2004 and 2007 you’ll wonder what was real and deserved. I don’t yet have that problem with 1996-2000 but I shudder at the thought.
    Carry on though with what a sick lineup the Sox have…

    Rob August 11, 2009, 10:48 am
  • so Rob, what about 2001-2003?

    dw (sf) August 11, 2009, 10:55 am
  • Yeah Paul, that’s what I’ve been thinking. The offense has the potential to be extremely good. The bigger concern is the bottom 3/5 of the rotation. If Buchholz can continue to perform well, like you said, we’ll be doing very well indeed.

    Atheose August 11, 2009, 10:56 am
  • so Rob, what about 2001-2003?
    Those team don’t mean much to me. The 2001 team could have been special, but they were undone on a cheapie hit by a PED user.
    As for the players from those teams, it’s hard for me to say anything because we don’t have the complete list. And I’m in no way interested in believing a MLBPA lawyer, one who should be facing a massive negligence lawsuit from how they handled the results.

    Rob August 11, 2009, 10:59 am
  • I like the top 5, the bottom 4 I don’t have confidence in.
    I think it’s a problem of the bottom three, and really, Lowell has actually been pretty good with the bat, which is why I think he needs to be a DH only, splitting time with Ortiz. He clearly can’t field, and putting him out there costs the teams runs in tangible ways seemingly every time he’s at third.

    Paul SF August 11, 2009, 11:02 am
  • The offense has the potential to be extremely good.
    Only a diehard fan, and the GM, could have believed this – in December or, today, in August.
    They’re at 99 OPS+. Only a box of Dominican supplements is changing that.

    Rob August 11, 2009, 11:03 am
  • Rob, are you saying the 96-00 teams didn’t have steroids users?
    I don’t really see where you’re coming from, or going to, with this. No one is under the impression that any team was ever truly ‘clean’. You can choose to look at ’04 and ’07 with suspicion, but only if you look at EVERY team with suspicion.
    Me, I choose to take baseball history as it happened, steroids and all. While we all wonder what could have been if Satchel Paige were to have pitched in the majors his entire career, does it really ‘destroy baseball history’? Do we wonder what could have been if Whitey Ford didn’t scuff the balls? Would he have been as effective? Would the Yankees have won as many championships?

    AndrewYF August 11, 2009, 11:12 am
  • Red Sox offense: 5th in slugging, 4th in OBP. And that’s after a team-wide slump for the last two months.
    This offense can rip off a long winning streak on any given night. All we need is our pitching to improve! Looking forward to Tazawa’s start tonight.

    Atheose August 11, 2009, 11:12 am
  • Of course, you could say that the ‘team-wide slump’ is something more than that, and the offensive numbers are being buoyed by an unrealistically hot April.
    Their OPS+ is 99. The Sox’s offense is pretty average, with some upside, but also some really bad downside.

    AndrewYF August 11, 2009, 11:14 am
  • Andrew –
    Show me a team from the era with two everyday players, and users, that had as much of an impact on their team’s success.
    I can only come up with the 1988-1990 A’s.

    Rob August 11, 2009, 11:15 am
  • 99 OPS+ adjusts for park, which isn’t particularly helpful given that we’re not comparing across eras, and that the Sox will be playing in that park for more than half their remaining games.
    The Sox are fourth in the league in OPS, fifth in runs per game, fifth in home runs, third in walks, fourth in OBP, fifth in slugging, sixth in total bases, third in SecA, fourth in runs created and second in strikeout-to-walk ratio.

    Paul SF August 11, 2009, 11:16 am
  • The Yankees had Clemens and Pettitte on their ’99 and ’00 teams. And that’s just known users. And who knows what Strawberry was taking in ’98.
    The fact is, every team had users on their team. Some we know, some we don’t. Trying to finger some teams as ‘worse’ than others is exactly what the sycophantic Sox fans were doing when they put their teams on a pedestal. What you’re doing is just doing that in reverse, and it’s just as stupid, because we simply don’t know the full extent of steroids usage.

    AndrewYF August 11, 2009, 11:19 am
  • Gentlemen, this thread is not about steroids. There is a thread about that subject just one post down from this one. Please keep this on topic.

    Paul SF August 11, 2009, 11:21 am
  • Does this year’s team mean anything to you, Rob? They too have a guy that has been named..are you denouncing this year’s team, including said PED user who gave them quite possibly their biggest moment to date a few days ago?
    If so, then why are you even here if not to throw flames, make stupid comments, and pick fights based on opinion (which, by the way means nothing to anyone on here)?
    I’m being serious. If you’re so hung up on a test from 2003, then why are you still watching baseball?

    Brad August 11, 2009, 11:22 am
  • The park factor is interesting. They’re a good home team, but a worse than mediocre road team. I don’t know what it is, but the Sox have the biggest differences of home/road splits in the game. I guess you could say the Sox have a good offense simply because of the park they play in. How ironic, given all the ridiculous whining about NYS. Peter Gammons had his own team playing in a ‘joke’ park all along.

    AndrewYF August 11, 2009, 11:23 am
  • I’m sorry I derailed there. I won’t respond to the hijack.

    Brad August 11, 2009, 11:24 am
  • How ironic, given all the ridiculous whining about NYS…
    I think this “whining” comes from the fact of simply homeruns, Andrew. Also, not being able to see that is pure homerism. If you think that RF isn’t as big of a joke as there is in baseball, I don’t know what to tell you. Yes, the wall in Fenway is inviting a target as there is in all the baseball, but at least it’s 30′ off the ground, and quite often takes as many HR’s away as it gives. I’ve seen many a single rocketed off the wall that would have been gone. How many singles have you seen rocketed off the wall in YS? Be serious – I mean, JD has over 20HR already.

    Brad August 11, 2009, 11:29 am
  • Jusus. I keep going off topic. Sorry, Paul.

    Brad August 11, 2009, 11:29 am
  • If you think that RF isn’t as big of a joke as there is in baseball, I don’t know what to tell you.
    Sheesh, talk about homerism.
    It’s not a joke. Peter Gammons made a stupid, biased, homer-y comment a while ago and it’s completely wrong. In fact, HR-rates in the stadium have gone down quite a bit since the beginning of the year. Perhaps the homerun rate in YS is more due to the Yankees having an extremely talented group of hitters whose production doesn’t fall off a cliff when they leave their home ballpark?

    AndrewYF August 11, 2009, 11:36 am
  • but a worse than mediocre road team.
    Statistically compared to how they produce at home, or by record? Because by record the Sox are 27-31,which means that they actually have the fifth best road record in the AL. That is, to me “better than mediocre”, at least comparatively. Only the Yankees, the Angels, the Rangers, and Seattle have better winning percentages on the road. The Tigers have a bigger record split, and so do the Rays.

    SF August 11, 2009, 11:39 am
  • Well, by ‘team’, I meant ‘offense’, whose .741 road OPS is worse than the league average .744 road OPS.

    AndrewYF August 11, 2009, 11:42 am
  • Andrew/Brad:
    I don’t want this to end up in a Fenway vs. Yankee Stadium thing, I’d rather we discuss the parks on their own terms. Yankee Stadium’s Park Factor for home runs is the largest in the majors by a factor of nearly 20% more than the next home-runniest stadium. It’s pretty clear that moving in the fence in right has been a huge contributor to this. As for runs in general, it is not as giving. I think the perception of Yankee Stadium being a run-happy place has more to do with it being a home run-happy place, which it surely is.

    SF August 11, 2009, 11:46 am
  • ok, got it Andrew. But that’s straight old mediocre. A difference of .003 in OPS is likely non-significant statistically.

    SF August 11, 2009, 11:47 am
  • Also, the Yankees have their share of players who also see their numbers plummet on the road (hello, Mark Teixeira).
    Red Sox pitchers, meanwhile, overwhelmingly pitch better at Fenway. How do we explain that? Well, there are a number of reasons why teams play better at home, and the statistical park factors are only part of the reason.

    Paul SF August 11, 2009, 12:06 pm
  • Yankees – 2009
    Home: .275 .361 .492 .853
    Away: .281 .357 .460 .817
    Red Sox – 2009
    Home: .276 .360 .482 .842
    Away: .252 .337 .404 .741
    “Share” of players doesn’t equal the team.
    How do we explain that?
    Presumably the pitchers know how to pitch, and to certain spots?

    Rob August 11, 2009, 12:37 pm
  • In fact, the Yankees’ offensive dropoff on the road is better than league average. They have the majors’ best offense, and it’s not really all that close.
    If you put the Mets in Yankee Stadium, I doubt it would even be in the Top 5 of HR/AB. The Yankee offense is simply a larger factor than the park itself in how many homeruns are hit there.

    AndrewYF August 11, 2009, 1:49 pm
  • I think the whole thing about Yankee stadium and homers is way overblown and is frankly a tired meme. Sure the park gives up lots of easy HRs to certain fields but other offense is suppressed in other ways. If you look at the “ballpark” effect in the link listed below you will see that yankee stadium is smack in the middle of the MLB for “park effect”. So sure there are some runs scored that wouldnt in others by HR but overall things even out. Call it a quirk of the new park.
    Red Sox fans of all people should hardly be accusing a stadium of being a joke due to quirks like this. Fenway is a great park but like everywhere else it has its strange quirks which have a massive effect on the outcome of games. The old yankee stadium had its too. There were many HRs down the RF line that were cheapies. I agree that we dont need to devolve into a fenway vs. YS discussion but people need to move on from the fact that there are more HRs hit in this park. Both teams are playing with the same dimensions and both benefit from the ease of hitting HRs. Big deal.

    sam-YF August 11, 2009, 1:55 pm
  • sam-YF August 11, 2009, 1:55 pm
  • That’s a great chart, sam. I know the stadium suppresses doubles because lots of the balls that go to RF go for homeruns instead, but you would think that would increase run production. There’s something else at work that suppresses run production.

    AndrewYF August 11, 2009, 2:00 pm
  • At Hittracker, the numbers show the following:
    Home homers at YS – 103
    Visitors homers at YS – 75
    I am having a hard time (since I have no time) compiling the numbers for other stadia, but if I had to guess the home run rate for visiting teams is higher at YS than at most other parks, by a margin. For Texas, visitors have hit 64 homers, in the next most homer-happy park. In Anaheim, the third happiest by homers per game (and second in park factor), the opposition has hit 77. There’s absolutely no question that YS assists all teams in hitting homers.
    Again, YS is giving up a lot of runs, and clearly that is due to the Yankee offense, formidable. But it is also due to the fact that it is an easier park to hit home runs in regardless of uniform. That does NOT mean it is an easier park to score runs in, though. Thank you, right field.
    I believe that much of the “backlash” against the performances in YS is due to the HOME RUN inflation, not RUN inflation.

    SF August 11, 2009, 2:07 pm
  • There’s something else at work that suppresses run production.
    The pitching staff.
    That’s the thing: Yankee Stadium, despite the Yankees excellent rotation and bullpen, still gives up the most homers of any park.

    SF August 11, 2009, 2:10 pm
  • Red Sox fans of all people should hardly be accusing a stadium of being a joke due to quirks like this
    Another thing about this line of criticism – I do believe that there is an “age factor” issue at hand. Rightly or wrongly, Fenway has a famous history as to how its form was generated, and why it is shaped the way it is. This has been rehashed plenty of times, but I think this does something to inoculate it against charges of being a “joke”.
    Whereas the new YS was freshly (re)designed, touted as a facsimile/replica of the old stadium, just like it was before but with better amenities and better seats, which it is and it isn’t. Clearly there is a difference, and it’s glaring because the time distance from when the old stadium was used to now is so short.
    In 50 years (or maybe in just a few years), I am betting this won’t be much of an issue.
    This also may have something to do with “age-value”, for more on that read some Alois Reigl. Truncated stuff here, scroll down:
    https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/citd/holtorf/6.9.html

    SF August 11, 2009, 2:17 pm
  • “I believe that much of the “backlash” against the performances in YS is due to the HOME RUN inflation, not RUN inflation.”
    Which is quite silly, given that teams win based on how many runs they score, not how many home runs they hit.

    AndrewYF August 11, 2009, 2:21 pm
  • SF thats all fine and well but the new stadium is not “a joke”. There are lots of great games played there, the baseball is fun for the fans to watch, both teams play under the same conditions. I realize there are problems with the stadium’s design and I believe that the yankees will eventually address these issues but for now the stadium is functioning just fine. The last series had 1 big scoring game and 3 pitchers duels. The old place yielded many similar series over the years. I just dont see what the joke is.

    sam-YF August 11, 2009, 2:24 pm
  • SF thats all fine and well but the new stadium is not “a joke”.
    I think you are focusing on a real minority here, who would damn the entire stadium for this “feature” (bug?).
    Here’s a question: if YS gives up certain number of runs that is more in the norm, and it gives up a number of homers that is far above the norm, then it would seem to follow that it is giving up more than the norm in runs via the home run. And I think this is a driving force behind what backlash there has been. Again, I think this is a stylistic issue: runs scored via homers have always been romanticized, to an extent. But we romanticize either the dramatic or the Bunyanesque. We don’t romanticize the bleeder, the dink shot, unless it is also dramatic. And the perception (and some of the reality) is that Yankee Stadium gives up more of the bleeders, the dink shots, than it does of the Bunyanesque.
    Again, this is not a judgment about the Stadium, but rather my thoughts on why the Stadium is being received the way it is with regards to the home runs.

    SF August 11, 2009, 2:33 pm
  • “I think you are focusing on a real minority here, who would damn the entire stadium for this “feature” (bug?).”
    Not sure if I agree with you on that. We have been hearing more or less continually about this subject since the place opened. Im personally tired of it. I agree with your analysis above but there are those who continuously bring it up (see this current thread) with out much reason other than to take a pot shot at the yankees or the stadium. Furthermore, as Ive said in other threads, this is the first year of the place. Changes may be made as it was impossible to know how the place would actually play when designed. For me its a whole lot of discussion about a place that has hosted about 50 games ever.

    sam-YF August 11, 2009, 2:40 pm
  • When it comes to home runs, we’ve posted here definitively that Yankee Stadium’s dimensions are far more favorable to home runs than Fenway Park’s, while Fenway continues to produce enormous numbers of doubles. Nevertheless, for whatever reason, NYS does not inflate overall offense by the same rates as it does home runs.
    But jumping on SF for stating the obvious — that NYS has this reputation as a “joke” park because ESPN anchors see lots of home runs hit there without looking at the overall effects on offense — doesn’t make sense to me. Your beef is with ESPN, Peter Gammons, whomever. Not with anyone here.

    Paul SF August 11, 2009, 2:44 pm
  • Eh, I don’t expect much from Tazawa. Would be great if he could get through 5 and give up only 3 or 4, but I mean, this is his first professional year, isn’t it?

    Devine August 11, 2009, 2:50 pm
  • ” Your beef is with ESPN, Peter Gammons, whomever. Not with anyone here.”
    Really?
    If you think that RF isn’t as big of a joke as there is in baseball, I don’t know what to tell you.
    Posted by: Brad | Tuesday, August 11, 2009 at 11:29 AM

    sam-YF August 11, 2009, 3:05 pm
  • Thanks, Andrew, for the reasonable POV RE: PEDs.

    Devine August 11, 2009, 3:16 pm
  • “If you think that RF isn’t as big of a joke as there is in baseball, I don’t know what to tell you.
    Posted by: Brad | Tuesday, August 11, 2009 at 11:29 AM”
    I’m shaking my head. Tell us why the short porch is so much worse than 37-foot high wall that is 310 feet out in right field. I don’t care at all about the Green Monster, but I’d just like to see Brad persuade us that the short porch is a joke.
    In conclusion, haters gonna hate.

    doug YF August 11, 2009, 3:25 pm
  • Your beef is with ESPN, Peter Gammons, whomever. Not with anyone more than a couple of posters, at most here
    Fixed that.

    SF August 11, 2009, 3:27 pm
  • Tell us why the short porch is so much worse than 37-foot high wall that is 310 feet out in right field
    Doug, again I think the perception is based on how the Monster was designed, built, it’s age, it’s ingrained character in a century-old park, versus what the new stadium offers in what was supposed to be a replica, down to the type of chalk used to line the field, of the old stadium.
    This is not just about dimensions. It’s about history, and architecture, and urbanism, and how stories develop. Remember that when Fenway was built the wall wasn’t an easy target: it was built before balls went 450-500 feet, before the PED era, before Babe Ruth made the homer romantic. It is literally from a different era. Home runs didn’t come so easily in the early 20th century. I don’t see any equivalency between the two structures, in the narrative of how and why they give up runs, at least in these terms.

    SF August 11, 2009, 3:32 pm
  • Here’s a great image of Fenway from 1914 – as you can see the wall is behind the fans.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fenway-park-1914-world-series.jpg
    And if you look at the stats from the dead ball era, from the early years of Fenway, the wall was not designed to encourage or facilitate offense, quite the opposite. In 1914 Tris Speaker led the team with four homers. In 1918, Ruth led the team with 11. Joe Harris finally cracked double digits in 1923, the first to do so after Ruth was sold.
    In other words, the wall wasn’t designed or tailored with modern baseball players in mind the day, even the first decades, after it opened. This, to me, has significance in the narrative.

    SF August 11, 2009, 3:45 pm
  • To add to SF’s point, Duffy’s Cliff along the base of the left-field wall (which Houston tried to emulate with that stupid slope up to the flagpole) was constructed to provide a place for fans to stand and watch the game because it was widely presumed that balls wouldn’t even reach the wall. (If they did and went into the fans, it was usually a ground-rule triple, IIRC).
    Not endorsing Brad’s point, but there’s a big difference, as SF says, between quirks in a ballpark opened in 1912 and those in a ballpark opened in 2009.

    Paul SF August 11, 2009, 3:45 pm
  • I owe SF a Coke.

    Paul SF August 11, 2009, 3:46 pm
  • Why do you owe me a coke?!
    How about a Phil Coke!

    SF August 11, 2009, 3:49 pm
  • Haha, we posted the exact same historical information (fans in front of the Monster) at the exact same time.

    Paul SF August 11, 2009, 3:55 pm
  • You could say it’s a ‘joke’ that the Red Sox are playing in a park that is essentially the same as it was in the early 20th century. Imagine if the Yankees played in the 440-foot arena, much less with the monuments out front.
    The fact remains that both the Yankees and Red Sox play in parks that severely affect the way the game is played. It’s entirely specious for Red Sox fans to make fun of, belittle, or complain about Yankee Stadium while at the same time excusing Fenway for its quirks. I think that’s Yankee fans’ beef with Sox fans like Gammons calling NYS a ‘joke park’.

    AndrewYF August 11, 2009, 4:10 pm
  • Andrew, surely you understand the context though, the differing histories and manners in which the field were constructed. And surely you understand how this is a factor in how they are perceived, don’t you?
    I am not condoning petty dismissals of any stadium, but these histories, this context, means a great deal to the narrative.

    SF August 11, 2009, 4:19 pm
  • Imagine if the Yankees played in the 440-foot arena, much less with the monuments out front.
    Now that would be cool. I would love nothing more than to see Melky Cabrera destroy his shin on Mickey Mantle’s hat.

    SF August 11, 2009, 4:22 pm
  • I TOLD you the Sox were going to be ok. I predicted they would beat up on the Tigers up at Fenway. Well, they won the first game (close, but a win is a win is a win), and I bet they take the series. Meanwhile, also as predicted, the Yanks lose a game because they continue to put Sergio Mitre on the mound. And so today things look a whole lot less dire for the Sox, eh? Sure, it’s a 5.5 game lead, which is significant, but a win sure makes the sun shine brighter (plus Yankee and Rays losses).
    I seriously can’t believe a Yankee fan is trying to give you guys crap about steroids. That’s amazingly stupid. I think the legit issue for Yanks fans is to note the media reaction to ARod (and to an extent Manny), and then same for Ortiz (or, for instance, Andy Pettitte). That’s not on SFs, that’s on the media.
    Oh, and not for nothing, but the Yankees lost the 2001 WS not because of a “cheapie hit to a roider” but rather because the greatest relief pitcher in history threw a surefire DP ball into CF (and then gave up a double to TONY WOMACK, and hit Craig Counsel). He makes that play properly and there’s 2 out, nobody on, and it’s OVER. But he made a mistake, a fact which apparently a fellow who shares my name simply cannot handle.

    Rob in CT August 11, 2009, 4:40 pm
  • I do understand the context, certainly. But I’m saying that context-free, there’s no room for one-sided complaint on either side. And why shouldn’t it be context-free? Today’s games in Fenway aren’t played in some 100-year time-warp. They’re played in the present. Thus, present-day Fenway Park and present-day Yankee Stadium should both be judged in the present, in their current form, if you’re going to be making judgment calls at all.
    Frankly, I’m tired of the unfair beating Yankee Stadium gets in the face of statistics that say runs are less easily scored there than in half of other parks. It’s a tired argument, it doesn’t ‘take away’ from the game, it’s not a ‘joke’ or ‘embarassment’ by ANY means, and it’s not an unfair advantage for the Yankees.
    Now, if you want a really crazy Park Factor year, look at 2004 Yankee Stadium.

    AndrewYF August 11, 2009, 4:41 pm
  • And why shouldn’t it be context-free?
    Because of the context, silly!

    SF August 11, 2009, 4:52 pm
  • but I’d just like to see Brad persuade us that the short porch is a joke…
    Because a 300′ fence at 6′ high, with wind pushing in the ML leads to a lot of HR’s that would otherwise not be homeruns (see Johnny Damon).
    I’m not arguing that it’s any better or worse than the monster – in fact, they’re both equally silly, but both still yet, render a ton of sloppy homeruns. YS to this point has proven that any left handed hitter with any kind of tendency to pull the ball into the air will have a great year. Just as the Green Monster did for Mike Lowell two years ago.
    One isn’t better than the other, but at least folks have to hit the ball semi-hard to get it out of Fenway.
    Or, of course, wrap it around Pesky pole, which happens about 5x a year.
    Either way, it is what it is, and it’s not going to change.
    It’s not hating, it’s stating an opinion based on the numbers.

    Brad August 11, 2009, 5:08 pm
  • Well, in fairness I think that the new park needs to be looked at in its own context as well, its as relevant as it is for Fenway. They were attempting to replicate the old park closely in dimensions (I know its not identical, but its damn close). The old dimensions were made for well known reasons. This is the context which drove the choice for the design of the playing surface itself. Yes there is a bit of the field that is shorter than the old park (a choice driven by economics) but the wind/jet stream effect accounts more for the extra HRs than this. The fact that the ball flies out better there than the old park is not necessarily something that could be expected.

    sam-YF August 11, 2009, 5:10 pm
  • I’m one of the few here who criticized YS 2.0. I don’t know what the stats are now, but at the time I posted about it here it as leading all parks in the history of the game for most HR’s in X games played. I stated that I don’t mind a hitters park and don’t even mind a homer-friendly park, but that this particular stat – if it stands over time – is embarassing. I still feel that way though again, I don’t know how it is doing on this score now 1-2 months after I posted on it.
    And Rob-CT, thanks for that lovely memory. I can never re-live that one enough. I’m going to go shoot myself now.

    IronHorse August 11, 2009, 5:22 pm
  • I, on the other hand, find myself in my cookie cutter cube in high tech heaven grinning myself silly over that little blast from the past. Rob-CT, please post more often….

    rootbeerfloat August 11, 2009, 5:51 pm
  • “Because a 300′ fence at 6′ high, with wind pushing in the ML leads to a lot of HR’s that would otherwise not be homeruns (see Johnny Damon).”
    That’s not what it is, and you do your hyperbolic argument a disservice by exaggerating.

    AndrewYF August 11, 2009, 6:09 pm
  • So far this year, Yankee Stadium has an overall Park factor of 1.001. That’s 14th in the league, and about as close to completely neutral as you can get. So, yes, lots of home runs are being hit there, but it’s not actually distorting performance all that much.
    In fact, the old Yankee Stadium had a bigger home run Park Factor in 2005 (1.430) than the current Stadium has had this year (1.374). Not to mention the fact that the home run pace has slowed significantly since May. The Stadium averaged 3.6 homers Apr-May, and 2.6 since then–that’s roughly the same pace as Angels Stadium, and .33 over the AL average.
    So how about we all calm down about the Stadium already, eh?

    Rex Manning Day August 11, 2009, 6:42 pm
  • Tx for the stats RMD…much appreciated and certainly relevant

    IronHorse August 11, 2009, 6:56 pm
  • That’s not what it is, and you do your hyperbolic argument a disservice by exaggerating.
    I’m sorry, a 314′ fence that’s 8′ high.
    Either way, it’s a joke.

    Brad August 12, 2009, 8:33 am
  • Also, in April and May there were 27 home games in Yankee stadium, against all AL opponents.
    In June, there were 13 home games, and 6 against the likes of the Mets and Nats, who are two of the worst offensive teams in baseball.
    In July, the ASB messes up a few days, but they still had 16 HR and by far their best month.
    In August, to date their have been six games and even WITH the great pitched games against the Red Sox, YS has allowed 32 homeruns in exactly 9 games, so any idea how that “average” will play out for this month with nearly the same amount of home games left for NY in the month of August?
    Can we please be serious.

    Brad August 12, 2009, 8:51 am
  • I’m sorry, in July they had 16 home games, not 16 HR. There were way more than 16 HR.

    Brad August 12, 2009, 8:52 am
  • “Either way, it’s a joke.”
    Brad was the old yankee stadium a joke too?
    They had a 8 ft wall at 314′ feet out in RF too.
    “Can we please be serious.”
    Its your choice to ignore the statistics that show that just because the place gives up more HRs in doesnt effect the overall offense in the place. Just because a place gives up HRs it doesnt mean its a joke. Your line of reasoning is the only joke here.

    sam-YF August 12, 2009, 9:48 am
  • There were 40 HR in july for an avg of 2.5 HRs/game. Like June, Im sure you will give some reason why this doesnt “count” either.

    sam-YF August 12, 2009, 9:57 am
  • Brad- I was citing average home runs per game, so I’m not sure what pointing to the number of games played each month is meant to accomplish.
    10 home runs were hit in their 3 games against the Mets, which is actually more than the monthly average at the time. Only 4 were hit in the 3 Nats games, but that’s partly because the Yanks only hit 2 (they’ve averaged 1.8 homers per home game this year). So you can’t exactly blame a poor Nats offense for dragging down the entire month’s average.
    And their best month was May, not July. May had 59 home runs in 16 games, July had 40 home runs in 16 games.
    Also, there have been 21 home runs at the Stadium in August, not 32. Which, you’re right, is back up to the 3.5 pace. But then, 6 games is a pretty small sample size, after all.
    I’m not denying that there haven’t been a lot of home runs. There have. But even a cursory look at the statistics show it’s nearly as bad as people have made it out to be.

    Rex Manning Day August 12, 2009, 10:08 am
  • I’m not denying that there haven’t been a lot of home runs.
    Thank you. That’s the only point I’m making. Pretending that the stadium doesn’t render an above average amount of HR is just silly.
    And, by best month, I meant the HR being hit – as in a good thing for the Yankees.
    Cabrerra
    Dye
    Thome
    Cabrerra
    Damon
    Tex
    Matsui
    Swisher
    Damon
    Lind
    Scutaro
    Pedroia
    Kotchman
    Cabrerra
    Damon
    Posada
    Tex
    A-Rod
    Jeter
    Martinez
    A-Rod
    Damon
    Tex
    Hill
    Overbay
    Jeter
    Cano
    Hairston
    Ruiz
    Encarnacion
    Matsui
    Posada
    That’s 32 players through 9 games this month that have homered.

    Brad August 12, 2009, 10:39 am
  • There were 40 HR in july for an avg of 2.5 HRs/game. Like June, Im sure you will give some reason why this doesnt “count” either.
    Nope, I said earlier that I thought July was their best month was July. I think we’re crossing the lines here. For the people who believe that fewer homes runs/game is a good thing, July was the good month, which I agree to. In fact, the first 9 games into August has almost as many as the entire month of July.
    I think we’re basicall arguing the same point here, the only difference is that I think the amount of HR is joke, and you don’t. Opinions…

    Brad August 12, 2009, 10:48 am
  • Sorry, that post if slam FULL of mistakes, but you get the point.
    I think the argument is best summed up like this.
    I think Yankee stadium gives up a ton of HR to right field, and it’s a little absurd.
    Well, I think Yankee stadium gives up a lot of HR, and don’t think it’s absurd at all.
    Okay, lets agree to disagree here, Sam.

    Brad August 12, 2009, 10:51 am
  • I’m sorry.
    I am wrong here. I didn’t realize that the Toronto games were away, and thought the first two series were at home. My apologies on that, guys.
    21 is indeed the correct number.

    Brad August 12, 2009, 10:53 am

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