The most remarkable thing about yesterday’s 5-3 loss to the Angels was something that didn’t happen: no one hit a HR. Last year, Yankee Stadium did not host a homerless contest until June 18, 2009, the 35th home game of the season. In fact, that was the only homerless game at Yankee Stadium all season.
As many probably recall, the amount of HRs hit a Yankee Stadium last year was a cause for much consternation, particularly by those in the media. Buster Olney made the topic an almost holy crusade, regularly providing “Sand Box” updates on his blog. In fact, on May 23, he even went so far as to address one of my comments about his ignorance of sample sizes. Olney replied:
So I ask again of Williamnyy and others who are much more adept than I am when it comes to assessing numbers: Is the sample size large enough yet to say that the new Yankee Stadium plays like a bandbox? Or do we wait until records are shattered before we can say that? I await your guidance.
Thankfully, the Yankees didn’t fall victim to this short-sighted logic. When pressed on whether they would make any changes over the offseason, Yankee executives smartly refused to cave into the pressure. Not only did the HR rate abate as the season went on, but the Yankees managed to win a World Series, all while “playing in a bandbox”. Go figure.
Clearly, two games into this season aren’t any more conclusive than a small sample from last season. The overriding point, however, is you can’t overreact without sufficient data. Perhaps the dismantling of the old Stadium will have a muting impact, a theory that was suggested last season. Still, it remains to be seen whether the HR rate at Yankee Stadium will return to more historically normal levels. So, if Olney is still waiting for my guidance, no, the sample size is still not large enough.