April 16, 2009
New Yankee Stadium officially opened for business this afternoon, but the Cleveland Indians spoiled the party, beating up on the Bronx Bombers, 10-2. At least it was a Yankee, and indeed one of the team's veterans, who hit the first home run: Jorge Posada. Somehow, C.C. Sabathia couldn't work his usual magic. See MLB.com. So neither of the New York teams managed to inaugurate their respective brand-new stadiums with a win. [The Mets lost to the Padres at Citi Field on Monday.] In the first game at Old Yankee Stadium in April 1923, the home team won, and Babe Ruth hit a home run as if it had been scripted.
Aside from those who are very superstitious, these initial home game losses mean absolutely nothing in terms of how the teams will play for the rest of the season. Just ask the Washington Nationals, who defeated the Atlanta Braves in the first home game at Nationals Park last year, and then went on to finish the season with a dreadful record of 59-102.
Accordingly, I've updated the diagram with several major corrections. Most notably, the fence in left center field is about ten feet further out than I had estimated, closely coinciding with the fence in Old Yankee Stadium. In right center field, however, I remain convinced that the fence is 10-20 feet closer than in the previous version of Yankee Stadium. Another correction is that the grandstand in the left field corner makes a more gradual arc than in my previous version. In coming days I plan to add a "modest proposal" on how New Yankee Stadium could be improved, as I have done for Nationals Park and other ballparks.
Photos of New Yankee Stadium, including Monument Park, can be seen at flickr.com; hat tip to Mike Zurawski. [I've got a boatload of other news items from him that I haven't had time to digest. Stay tuned!]
In Our Nation's Capital this evening, the Nationals won a game for the first time this season, defeating the Phillies, 8-2. Adam Dunn hit his third homer of the season, and is on track to keep up his string of 40+ home run seasons. The Nats are now 1-7.
From looking at the photos of construction work at Target Field (see baseball-fever.com), it looks like they are making rapid progress now that the winter is over. I'd say it is about 50 percent completed.
Eric Cohn informed me that the Cleveland Indians played their opening series in 2007 against the Angels in Miller Park, because of a snowstorm in Ohio. So, I have updated the Anomalous stadiums page.