Petco’s New Fences Year 1: The Saga Continues

By: Lonnie Brownell

Corey Brock, esteemed Padres beat writer and epic beer maven has issued the official report on the new fences and their effect on home run production. After mine came out. Coincidence?  Maybe. Anyway, Corey’s done the kind of thorough examination of the numbers that we expect from him.

Except his number of New Fence HRs (NFHRs) is different than mine.

This is not terribly surprising, as mine were calculated by watching video and examining ESPN Hit Tracker path charts, while the Padres were probably done by a cadre of guys with advanced military-issue laser beams and such. Let’s dig in and see if we can find the discrepancies, shall we?

Corey broke it down by month, which I didn’t (gee, I wish I’d thought of that). So now I have, and we agreed on the totals for all months except for May (my eight to their four) and September (my four to their three).  Quick, what’s the total difference? Yes, five. I have FIVE MORE THAN THEY DO! I WIN! Don’t I?

Since we agree on everything but May and September, let’s look at all of the alleged NFHRs in those two months–they’ve gotta be in there. And, since I have more, it must be the case that some I thought were NFHRs actually aren’t. Each has a link to a video of the home run, and in one case where that alone won’t tell you, the HR Tracker path diagram, so that YOU CAN MAKE THE CALL. Or you can just trust me.  Or Corey.  But, really, me.

Remember as you play along that the back wall of the Jack Deck is the old right field wall/fence. The out-of-town scoreboard may have added another foot or so of depth, which means that anything hitting within about the top foot of that back wall might have been caled a home run last year.  Maybe. Tough call. For my purposes, anything that hit that wall I counted as new.  Even so, I don’t think any were that borderline.

The May List:

  • The one I counted as an ultra-rare left field NFHR that the Padres did not was Gerardo Parra’s on 5/3.  I was at that game, but over on the other side of the left field bleachers, in the outlook by Neil the Beerman’s shop, and couldn’t see where it landed. It’s also hard to tell from the video–it’s a wall-scraper in left-center, but where in left center? Looking at Hit Tracker’s path chart, it’s pretty obvious this is a NFHR. The blue dot is where it hit, which is in front of the old left field bleachers corner (the green dot is where it would’ve hit the ground, if there were no impediments). The old fence went straight across as part of the bullpen wall to intersect with the corner of the bleacher wall.  That ball would not have been out with the old configuration.

  • On the same night, Yonder Alonso hit this bomb, which SHOULD have been out in prior years, but wouldn’t have been–note that the fans leaning over into the Jack Deck couldn’t get it, as it dropped in front of them and went behind the trash cans (easier to see in the replay).

  • Endy Chavez hit this one on 5/30 that bounced off the top of the front wall of the Jack Deck–a wall that wasn’t there last year.

 

The September list:

  • Will’s September shot, on 9/6…well, look at the video. It’s in the Jack Deck. No question.

 

These all look like the real NFHR deal to me. So…what’s up, Corey? Need to calibrate those lasers, maybe? We can compare notes further, over a bear or two–but hey, who’s counting?

 

If you want to look at the raw numbers, here’s my Google Drive spreadsheet.

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  • Lonnie Brownell

    Now that I’ve ranted and raved, I took a look at a picture of the wall in right field from July 2012, and you can too, below.

    The out of town scoreboard is down a few feet from the top of what is now the back wall of the Jack Deck. And…notice that little yellow line connecting the Petco Porch to the top of the scoreboard?Yep. THAT’S the old HR line–not the top of the wall.

    I now seem to recall in years past a ball landing on top of the scoreboard being called a HR, but I don’t think I can ever recall one bouncing off the exposed wall area–and this year there were four that would’ve, maybe. Possibly. Don’t know which four yet, but it had to be some of those near the top of the wall.

    The fifth disputed NFHR is Parra’s in left center, which I stand by.

    So the correct number is: Between 21 (or 22) and 26. Yay lasers.

  • Lonnie Brownell

    And…these are could be the four:

    In May:
    Alonso’s that went behind the trash can.
    Tracy’s in the corner by the Petco Porch. That one for sure.
    Descalso’s slam. This one is mighty close.

    In September:
    Goldschmidt’s bomb. Maybe. Close too.

    Except that the Padres discounted two Padres NFHRs. I only have one above. Harumph.

  • Lonnie Brownell

    AND HERE IS THE FINAL TALLY. I swear.

    Thanks to the ever-helpful Corey Brock and his baseball operations buddies at the Padres, I got the low-down on exactly where our numbers differed. And given my new understanding of the old fence, I agree with all, except Parra’s on 5/3 to the left field gap, so I’m keeping that one in the list.

    The ones I had as NFHRs that the Padres didn’t: Alonso 5/3, Parra 5/3, Tracy 5/17, Venable 5/20, Brown 6/25 and Goldschmidt 9/24.

    But that’s six! Ah, one I should have counted but didn’t was Yasiel Puig’s (THAT GUY!) on 6/20. Looking at it again, my first thought was sure, that would’ve been out in ’12. It’s down at the end of the right field stands where that new staircase is next to the beach. Spacial relationships are sometimes HARD. After I got my orientations right, it became obvious it wouldn’t have been out in the past. So score one more for the Dogers ™.

    So now I declare there were 22 total, 14 for the opposition, 8 for us. Venable is still the leader, but with 3. Jason Marquis gave up the most (3), with Street and Brach tied for second with 2 each.

    But, the kind of a big deal about this is that it changed the NFWs total to 4 for the Padres, 2 for opposition. The new fences now have an lbWAR of 2.0 (and taking away Parra’s wouldn’t change that).

    So, repeat after me: Yay, new fences!

  • ballybunion

    How many were/wouldabeen doesn’t matter. It’s the psychological effect on Padres players that matters, and they now feel the hitting atmosphere is more fair than before. It may just be the placebo effect, but that’s what matters most. I’m happy about the discrepancy, because the muddled tally preserves the players’ belief that the field is more forgiving.