It's no short porch like right field Yankee Stadium (supposedly 314 feet) or left field at Fenway (an oft-disputed 310), but the cozy dimensions for the first Major League Baseball game in Europe at London Stadum - and a record heat wave across the continent - could send balls flying across the pond today.
Add in MLB's record home run pace (teams had combined for 3,311 entering the weekend and the 1,135 in May were the most ever in a month) and with the Yankees entering the two-game series with the Red Sox having homered in a record 29 consecutive games, and it could be a challenge to keep the ball in the park.
It's just 385 feet to center field (shorter than any MLB park) and 330 down each line. The fence is 16 feet high (compared to say, Camden Yards in Baltimore's 7-foot fences). Also, the stadium is encircled with an overhang that includes metal rings - the outfield ones are 400 feet from home plate and 100 feet high - reachable by a batted ball.
Perhaps offsetting the cozy dimensions is the expansive foul ground. More than any MLB stadium and 3,000 more square feet than the Oakland Coliseum, which has the most foul territory in the majors. Still, it's tight behind the plate with only 43 feet to the backstop from the plate, the third-shortest distance compared to MLB fields.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone seemed more concerned with the speed of the artificial surface that was installed over the natural grass soccer field.
#Yankees manager Aaron Boone isn’t ready to make a call on how the ball will fly here at London Stadium — but he does say the turf plays fast. So expect some sizzling grounders, if nothing else, during the #LondonSeries. #RedSox pic.twitter.com/nWm5iOdL00— Matt Marrone (@thebigm) June 29, 2019
They'll be a few touches of home - "Sweet Caroline" will be played in the eighth inning - and borrowing from the Washington Nationals' between inning "Racing Presidents", this one will feature the enlarged heads of British icons Winston Churchill, Henry VIII, the Loch Ness Monster and Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury in a sprint around the Olympic track that encircles the field.
Which team will the crowd of 60,000-plus in temperatures nearing 90 be pulling for? Red Sox season ticket holders purchased an average of 5,831 seats for each game and Yankees season ticket holders 4,752.
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