June 13, 2008 [LINK / comment]

The mail bag: a quick roundup

I always seem to get bogged down (or bogged up? smile) with peripheral activities camera, and therefore don't always respond very quickly to e-mail inquiries or tips. But you already knew that. Little by little, diagram and Web page enhancements are getting done...

Anyway, Brian Hughes let me know that the overall shape of Citi Field conforms to the surrounding street grid, and about how the new ballpark is expected to encourage economic development in the Willets Point area, which to my surprise is full of run-down warehouses. Also, the Mets made sure that Citi Field's fences can be adjusted with relative ease in case there are too many or too few home runs. He notes the contrast to Citizens Bank Park, where the Phillies had to spend millions of dollars just to add ten or so feet in left field.

Josh Geiswite told me something I should have realized a long time ago: When they renovated Yankee Stadium in 1976, they raised the level of the upper-deck concourse by 10-15 feet, in keeping with the increased number of rows in the upper deck. Revisions pending...

Bruce Orser learned that there is a renewed controversy over public funding for the new Yankee Stadium, most of which is being paid for by the Yankees franchise. See Chicago Tribune.

Mario Vara heard that the planned January Winter Classic outdoor hockey game in Yankee Stadium fell through, so the NHL hopes to have that game (between the Chicago Blackhawks against the Detroit Red Wings) played at Wrigley Field. Well, it will almost certainly be cold enough there for the ice!

Finally, Joe King asks a question that should be obvious, and I'm sure someone else must have thought about it:

Why is it that centerfield fences are always further from the plate than are the fences down the left- and right-field lines? The only field that comes close to an exception was Griffith Stadium (438' to center, 405' to left).
It would seem to me that a batter could pull the ball farther than he could hit it to center, since the bat would have accelerated through a longer arc before striking the ball.
On the other hand, the batter cannot take advantage of 100% of the momentum of the incoming pitch unless he hits it to center. My trigonometric calculations show that a ball hit down the line takes advantage of only about 70% of the pitch's incoming momentum. So maybe he CAN hit it farther to center.

I figure that when the ball leaves the bat at an angular trajectory, as in a pull hit, there is a loss of momentum. It probably depends on the speed of the pitch as well, that is, a pull hit ball would go farther than a ball hit to center field, other things being equal, if the pitch was slow enough. This issue is not answered directly in Robert Adair's Physics of Baseball. Is there anybody out there who knows for sure?

Nats are on a rock

As in, they are not on a roll. Every time something encouraging happens, like the ninth inning home run by Lastings Milledge on Tuesday at PNC Park that turned a 6-5 defeat into a 7-6 win against the Pirates, they go back to losing again. Tonight they begin an interleague series against the Mariners (another last-place team) in Seattle.