For the first time in the 30-year history of their ballpark, the Orioles are undergoing construction at Camden Yards to adjust the park dimensions in an effort to limit the number of home runs hit to left field and left-center, according to multiple reports.
The left-field wall will be pushed back as far as 30 feet and raised an additional five feet taller. Oriole Park at Camden Yards has been one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in Major League Baseball for the last three decades, particularly for right-handed batters. The 364-foot distance between home plate and the left-center field wall was among the smallest in the sport and the seven-foot fence was the shortest of any left-center field wall in MLB, according to the Baltimore Sun’s Nathan Ruiz.
No one allowed more home runs at their home stadium last season than the Orioles, who served up 155 long balls to opponents at Camden Yards. They also paced the majors in that category in 2019 (175 home runs), allowed the third-most in 2018 (123) and tied for the second-most in 2017 (127).
Though many of those homers can be attributed to the poor pitching staffs Baltimore has fielded during its current rebuild, the team elected to even the odds with several pitching prospects on the way. The Orioles’ top two pitching prospects Grayson Rodriguez and D.L. Hall could both be staples in their major league rotation by the end of the 2022 season. John Means also enjoyed a career year for Baltimore last season and should be back again barring a trade.
Ruiz reports that the Orioles plan for the stadium to be ready by Opening Day, which is tentatively scheduled for March 31. However, the season could be delayed if MLB’s ongoing lockout continues into the spring. The two sides reportedly plan to meet Thursday for the first time since the lockout began.