May 29, 2013
So I get home from work this evening, turn on the TV to check the Nationals-Orioles game score, and was pleased to learn that the Washingtonians had a 6-2 lead, in the bottom of the fifth inning. Then I find out that Ryan Zimmerman had already hit three home runs, and my jaw just about hit the floor! With ace pitcher Jordan Zimmermann (prominently featured in today's Washington Post) on the mound, the Nats were cruising toward a second straight victory!
Or so I thought. An inning later, Zimmermann gave up a solo home run to Nick Markakis, but there was no further damage. In the top of the seventh, Ryan Zimmerman was called out on strikes. It was a fastball down the middle on a 1-2 count, and I cannot understand why he didn't swing and try to hit a fourth home run. In the bottom of the seventh, the first four Orioles batters hit safely, including a home run by Steve Pearce, and all of a sudden it was a tie game, 6-6. Zimmermann was clearly exhausted, and manager Davey Johnson called in Tyler Clippard from the bullpen. He couldn't do any better, however, and the Orioles scored three more runs, including a home run by the phenomenal Chris Davis. It was his second of the game and his 19th homer this year, leading the majors! It was the same kind of sickening feeling I had when the Nationals blew their ninth-inning lead against the Cardinals in NLDS Game 5 last year. The Nats failed to get anybody on base in the final two innings, and that was the ball game, 9-6. Un-BLANK-ing-believable!
And so, instead of raising his win-loss record to 9-2, Jordan Zimmermann is now 8-3. Well, we all have bad days some times, but this one was just a dirty rotten shame. How must Ryan Zimmerman feel, with a career-best day going for nought? (He also made some great defensive plays at third base.) For the record, Roger Bernadina (subbing for Bryce Harper) crushed a monster home run to right field, sailing out of the park and onto Eutaw Street, the 68th time that has happened. See MLB.com.
After the game, Davey Johnson mentioned the small, slugger-friendly ballpark six or seven times, and Jordan Zimmermann brought it up as well. Since Johnson used to manage the Orioles, he is all too familiar with that venue. But it got me to thinking that I ought to measure the size of the playing field, and here is what I found:
|.||Camden Yards||Nationals Park|
|Fair territory||107,400 sq. ft.||108,300 sq. ft.|
|Foul territory||23,200 sq. ft.||23,300 sq. ft.|
In other words, there really isn't much difference between the Orioles' home field and that of the Nationals in terms of total playing area. It just happens that, because of the geometry, Camden Yards has a below-average left-center field power alley: 364 feet. To a lesser extent, the same thing is true of Nationals Park on either side of the center field corner.
To put such measurements in comparative context, see the thoroughly revised Stadium statistics page, which now includes data on seating rows in each main deck, and the total area of fair territory and foul territory. It is still a "work in progress," however, and for the time being has many gaps in data. As it says in the notes at the bottom of that page, "ALL data in these columns are subject to revision."
I made a major revision of that page back on November 25 last year, adding to it total MLB lifetime, years in "hiatus / limbo," backstop distances, and the overhangs in the upper deck and lower deck of each stadium.
And while I was at it, I updated the data table on the Camden Yards page, showing that the seating capacity is about 2,300 less than it used to be. I also plan to add a new lower deck diagram of Camden Yards in the next few days. I should have done that when I revised those diagrams last December 4.