Minnesota Set Record In Spite Of Playing Most Of Their Games In Least Homer Friendly Parks
Nelson Cruz Led The Twins Through Their Quest To Capture Home Run Record
All Five AL Central Parks Are In The Bottom Half Of Home Runs Allowed
Even though game two was as intense as any fan could have wished, the broadcast included an announcer's comment that left me somewhat perturbed. Granted, I should have moved on from further consideration of the thought, given that the Astros beat the Yankees 3-2 with a walk off home run by shortstop Carlos Correa.
Home runs were, in fact, the very topic of the broadcaster comment that had caught my attention earlier. As if New York's powerful offense needed more publicity, someone pointed out that the Yankees would have far surpassed the club record established by the Twins this year.
The claim basically stated that had slugger Gioncarlo Stanton not been injured for all but a handful of games, the Yankees would have hit far more than the 307 Minnesota sent out of the park. After all, New York slammed just one fewer than that even without Stanton, who had averaged almost forty over the three previous seasons.
This assumption is so faulty that, having just seen the Yankees shut down the lovable Twins for the umpteenth straight playoff game, it actually ruined my night. Obviously it had not occurred to the baseball analyst that New York had someone playing in place of Stanton, a player who contributed over twenty home runs in his absence.
An argument could certainly be made that, even beyond the superior home run totals, the Twins flexed far more power than the team that eliminated them from the postseason. Since we are talking hypotheticals, let us examine Minnesota's geographical disadvantage.
Had the Twins played in the A.L. East, their home run totals in all likelihood would have been much higher. After all, that division, which includes the Yankees, holds three of the top four most home run friendly ball parks in the American League.
Baltimore's Camden Yard saw 289 pitches leave the park, just nineteen more than the Rogers Centre in Toronto. Yankee Stadium's 257 gave it the fourth highest total, making Houston's Minute Maid Park (282) the only home among the top four outside of the A.L. East.
Because of baseball's unbalanced schedule, the Yankees enjoyed the advantage of playing nine games in Baltimore and another eight in Toronto. These two homer friendly parks certainly aided the Yanks in their pursuit of the club record, in addition to the luxury of playing 81 times in their Bronx home.
The Twins, on the other hand, played just three games in each of those parks, less than ten percent of New York's one hundred contests in those venues. Instead, Minnesota's sluggers found themselves playing the majority of their games in the league's least home run friendly parks.
Kansas City's stadium allowed the fewest homers in the A.L., a mere 173 during a season that produced the most in history. The 209 hit in Detroit, the 220 in Cleveland and the 231 in Chicago, the three other A.L. Central cities in which Minnesota played a combined 37 games, placed those stadiums in the bottom third of homers allowed.
All those home runs, unfortunately, did not help the Twins in the postseason, where they were swept by baseball's most storied franchise. Nevertheless, that short stay in the playoffs should not diminish the unexpected power supply resulting in an MLB record of 307 home runs as a team.