Yankees blast 'Create-A-Park' Camden Yards: Why Orioles changed dimensions of MLB's once home run-friendly park

Camden Yards has a history of being a home run-happy ballpark, but the Orioles have put the kibosh on that reputation this season.

This past offseason, the Orioles reconfigured the dimensions of their park so that left field would be farther back and the wall would be higher. On top of that, the wall has weird angles that jut out at 90 degrees, making it one of the weirdest outfields to play in baseball. They named the 90-degree corner Elrod's Corner. Its namesake is Elrod Hendricks, a former catcher and bullpen coach for the Orioles.

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The official reason the Orioles gave, per The Baltimore Sun, was to "reduce the stadium's propensity for home runs." There are likely more insidious reasons behind that decision.

Since its opening in 1992, Camden Yards' design has inspired nearly every new ballpark built since, but though it's been often imitated, it hasn't been duplicated.

During the Yankees' visit to Camden Yards this week, New York — ironically known for its notoriously lefty-friendly short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium — took issue with the new dimensions.

"It's a travesty, man," said right fielder Aaron Judge after a two home run night in a 5-4 win Tuesday, per MLB.com's Bryan Hoch. "I'm pretty upset. It just looks like a 'Create-A-Park' now."

Yankees manager Aaron Boone piled on, adding: "[Judge] almost had three, but Build Your Own Park got him." 

For context, Judge and Boone are referring to the "MLB The Show" video game in which users can create their own custom stadiums rather than using current MLB ballparks when playing.

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The Yankees aren't alone in their disdain for the new configuration of Camden Yards' outfield. Orioles slugger Trey Mancini conceded that "nobody likes" the park's new dimensions.

"No hitters like it, myself included," Mancini said before Wednesday's game, per The Baltimore Sun.

Mancini also acknowledged that he believed Judge probably should have notched the first three-home-run game of his career. After all, the 393-foot double he hit in the first inning would have been out in 29 of 30 ballparks, per Statcast, but fell short of the wall at Camden Yards.

But Mancini was also quick to point out that the issue is worse for Orioles hitters for one obvious reason.

"We play half our games here, so . . ." Mancini said. "I know that [Judge’s] ball probably should be a homer, but yeah, we’ve had quite a few, too, that should have been. Like I said, we play half our games here, so not great as a right-handed hitter."

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The reality, of course, is the ballpark is doing everything the Orioles hoped it would. Camden Yards has gone from first in ballpark home runs in 2021 (277, 27 more than the Reds' Great American Ball Park) to 27th in 2022.

While that precipitous drop is partially due to a pitching staff that is 17th in MLB in ERA rather than dead last like last year, it's still a bit too much for comfort. If Camden Yards continues to uphold this trend — and there's no reason to think it won't — we may see some of the other cheaper franchises in baseball follow suit as an artificial way to normalize their numbers and curb the perception of being the most hittable (in a home run sense) team in baseball.

Jacob Camenker contributed to this report.

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