As many folks -- myself included -- lament the homerriffic qualities of new Yankee Stadium, Steve Politi of the Star-Ledger reminds us that, for a lot of folks, homers = fun:
The pitchers can whine all they want, but the fans were tickled when that Cabrera fly ball cleared the wall. They came to have a good time, and at a baseball game, nothing generates more fun than the long ball. Which is what makes the outrage about the new Yankee Stadium so hard to understand. Yes, the ballpark is yielding dingers at a record pace. Yes, some of them are cheaper than a thrift-store suit.
But what, exactly, are people so worried about? Ruining the sanctity of the record book? Little late for that, no?
Baseball is the only sport where anyone worries about too much offense. The NHL practically rewrote its rulebook for more goals. The NFL would let its quarterbacks throw from behind a moat if it meant more touchdown passes. And there is a reason millions of Americans hate soccer. Thursday afternoon, it was hard to find too many critics of the homer-friendly park.
He offers lots of quotes from fans who have quite obviously been having a good time at the new joint, easy homers or not. And hey, you can't blame them. The point of this game is to entertain, and people are certainly entertained. Indeed, the only negative sentiment in this article comes from Rangers' reliever C.J. Wilson, who called Melky Cabrera's homer yesterday "a deep fly ball to short left field." He thought it was a popup but "then I was like, 'Oh crap, I forgot where we are.'"
Fans' happiness or not, it is sentiments like Wilson's that will really going to decide if a having a homer-friendly park in the Bronx is a good idea. Right now the Yankees are set for the next several years with Sabathia, Burnett, Hughes, Wang, and Chamberlain in the rotation (I'm assuming Pettitte is gone after this year). But at some point, the Yankees are going to want to bring in the next CC Sabathia. Maybe it will be a 29 year-old David Price or a 27 or 28 year-old Stephen Strasburg. If, by that time, the Stadium is still playing like a bandbox, I can't help but think that it won't be as easy to attract those sorts of guys. Sure, the Yankees have money, but they're already overpaying guys to deal with the hassle and pressure of playing in New York. How much more will they have to overpay if an inflated ERA is part of the deal as well?