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Yankee Stadium is not why the Royals lost the series

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The pitching was just bad.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Eighteen home runs were hit over the four-game Royals series in Yankees Stadium between the two teams. That is a lot of home runs. The Braves have hit nine home runs all season. The Royals had 31 as a team prior to last night's game. There were a lot of home runs.

The Royals of course lost three of four to the Yankees, a team with a worse record. It is easy to blame your environment when something doesn't go right. The refs blew the calls, the ump couldn't call strikes, the weather was bad. A lot of blame for this series was placed on an inanimate object in Yankee Stadium II (or Yankee Stadium Jr/YSJ). Specifically the main issue came with the Yankees dropping a barrage of home runs on the Royals thanks to the park dimensions of New Yankee.

It's no secret YSJ features a "short porch" in right field that makes it a lefty hitters paradise. However that is really only if the ball is hit right down the line. Let's not forget that Pesky Pole in Fenway is 302 feet away from home, which is six feet shorter than YSJ.  Left field at Tropicana Field in St Pete starts at 315 feet. There is a 25 foot wall there, but right field in AT&T Park starts at 309 feet. There are several parks with outfield walls with a shorter distance than Kauffman. So I think it is worthwhile to examine those home runs and see if they would have left the Kauffman.

According to Statcast...yes. Every home run hit by the Yankees (prior to Thursday's game) would have been home runs at Kauffman (*note that the furthest right home run is misleading as it was Carlos Beltran's home run that went 395 feet). Unfortunately as of this writing the home runs hit Thursday night aren't able to be put onto this graph until the data is refreshed sometime Friday, but we can still look at those distances.

Chase Headley HR

Statcast says this one went 356 feet. That seems a little dubious when you look at the video.

See the woman in the yellow jacket? The ball landed just to the left of her. Notice below her in the photo is the 318 marker. I don't think the difference between the foul pole and her is thirty eight feet. This one doesn't leave Kauffman.

Cheslor Cuthbert hit a home run last year that Statcast labeled as going 357 feet. That would mean Cuthbert's home run was just a foot longer than Headley's.

Unless a foot is measured different in Kauffman, that's beyond the 330 foot marker, which should be 12 feet further than the same pole at New Yankee Stadium.

Now is a good time to bring this up. Statcast measures two things in regards to batted balls: hit distance and projected home run distance. The difference?

Hit Distance (DST)

Hit Distance represents the distance away from home plate that a batted ball lands -- whether by hitting the ground, the seats, the wall or a fielder's glove.

Average Hit Distance (aDST) is calculated by: the sum of all Hit Distances, divided by all Batted Ball Events.

Statcast can record Hit Distances at the moment a ball touches the ground or where a ball ultimately ends up. A batted ball's farthest distance relative to home plate arguably tells the most accurate story of a Batted Ball Event.


Projected Home Run Distance (HR-DIS)

Projected Home Run Distance represents the distance a home run ball would travel if unhindered by obstructions such as stadium seats or walls. This metric is determined by finding the parabolic arc of the baseball and projecting the remainder of its flight path.

Projected Home Run Distance is a pivotal tool when comparing individual home runs. Looking at Hit Distance alone is not an optimal practice for comparing home runs. This is because each stadium has unique obstructions that prevent balls from completing a full flight path.

Of course, Major League stadiums have different climates, dimensions, wind currents and elevations, which affect the distance batted balls travel. But comparing the distances of monstrous home runs has long been a hobby of baseball fans. And Projected Home Run Distance gives us a slightly fairer way to do that.

I guess the question here is if hit distance is the actual measurement or one that seems to be more accurate, when is it deployed? The home run data pulled from Statcast's official site (Baseball Savant) labels it as "distance."  However they label it as distance regardless of if the ball is a home run or a ground ball to first.

Starlin Castro

This home run was labeled as 388 feet. The red circle of course is where it landed (in which the Yankee fan here made a nice jumping catch). I can buy the distance given the reference of the 385 foot marker and the ball being four or five row back from the wall.

Here is a home run by Ben Zobrist from last year that was listed as going 389 feet:

For reference to the left is the 387 foot marker and the ball landed probably two feet beyond the wall, bouncing off the Ivy Funds sign. I think I buy that the Castro home run leaves Kauffman.

Didi Gregorius

Yeah, I'm not even going to bother with this one. Statcast said this one went 384 feet. To that part of right field that ball is gone out of any park.

So at least two of the home runs hit Thursday would have also been out of Kauffman Stadium...but here is my point really. It doesn't matter.

The game wasn't played at Kauffman. It doesn't matter that a home run wouldn't have left Kauffman Stadium. Why does it have to leave Kauffman? Why not Fenway or Citi Field or Wrigley Field? Everything shouldn't take place within the context of the Royals park just because they were playing somebody. Aren't Yankee fans entitled to say the same? "Yeah, if it weren't for the stupid dimensions of Kauffman that would have been a home run at YSJ!" We saw a bit of the same when the Royals got shellacked in the opening game of the Astros series where fans blamed Minute Maid Park as the culprit and not bad pitching.

The Royals had the same advantage as the Yankees this entire series. The grounds crew didn't pull in the fences between innings whenever the Yankees came to bat. Lorenzo Cain hit three home runs, what about the Royals home runs?

According to this, Cain would have only hit two home runs had the game been played at Kauffman.

Remember this too, the Yankees hit nine home runs during the series... the Royals hit nine too. They took advantage as equally as the Yankees did.

Cain's home run wasn't a deep blast.

Kendrys Morales didn't demolish his home run

Furthermore we can use ESPN's Home Run Tracker to give us an idea of the home runs. They classify the each home run by the type of home run and how many parks it would have left.

Yankees (excluding Thursday night)

Batter Home Run Type Distance # of Parks
Gregorius, Didi Plenty 384 27
Castro, Starlin Plenty 380 15
Headley, Chase Plenty 349 17
Beltran, Carlos Just Enough 365 1
Hicks, Aaron Plenty 417 30
Gardner, Brett Plenty 406 26
Beltran, Carlos No Doubter 398 24
Beltran, Carlos Just Enough 385 2
McCann, Brian Lucky 377 0


Batter Home Run Type Distance # of Parks
Gordon, Alex No Doubter 428 30
Perez, Salvador No Doubter 414 30
Morales, Kendrys Plenty 359 14
Cain, Lorenzo Plenty 442 30
Cain, Lorenzo Plenty 390 8
Cuthbert, Cheslor Plenty 382 21
Cain, Lorenzo Just Enough 356 1
Hosmer, Eric No Doubter 428 29
Gordon, Alex Just Enough 424 24

The Royals average home run distance above is 402 feet, and for the Yankees it 384. Yeah the Royals hit the ball farther, but that's not really the point. The ball only has to leave one stadium: New Yankee. Not to mention six of the nine home runs the Yankees hit would have left most parks in baseball.

Oh yeah and let's not forget, the gave up TEN RUNS Tuesday night without allowing a home run. The Royals have only done that twelve times in their history:

They had a single player hit three home runs in that game, prevented the opponent from hitting any, and scored seven runs and still lost.

Now I need to look at the Statcast data a little more and try to figure out some deeper details. There seems to be some inconsistencies, and short of looking at each home run hit and then finding a matching one at Kauffman, this is what we have. Regardless of what I find though I'll still hate the "blame the stadium" excuse. The Yankees hit and pitched better than the Royals over a four game span. Sure they have tailored their team to cater to their park, but so have the Royals to theirs. That's the point and like the Royals, the Yankees play 81 games at home. They should be taking advantage of their park if they can.