Construction has begun on the left field area at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Nathan Ruiz of The Baltimore Sun reports, as the Orioles are looking to make their ballpark’s dimensions slightly more favorable towards pitchers. The stretch of the left field wall from the foul pole to the bullpen area in left-center field will be moved back roughly 30 feet, and also elevated to around 12 feet high from its current height of seven feet.
The renovations are expected to be completed by Opening Day. This is the first notable change to OPACY’s dimensions in 20 seasons, though even those changes (increasing the distance between home plate and the outfield wall) were rolled back a year later.
As Ruiz notes, Camden Yards has allowed the most home runs (5911) of any ballpark in the majors since OPACY first opened in 1992. While obviously many new stadiums have since opened and don’t have the 30 years of compiled history, any number of metrics or just plain naked-eye measurements leave no doubt that Camden Yards is one of baseball’s more hitter-friendly venues.
The oft-struggling state of the Orioles’ pitching staff has naturally played a role in those numbers, though it can certainly be argued that Baltimore pitchers might have had better numbers if right-handed batters had more of a challenge in reaching the seats on fly balls to left field. “While Camden Yards will remain a hitters’ park, the hope is for the changes to prevent it from being an outlier in terms of home runs,” Ruiz writes.
Orioles pitchers have allowed the most homers in baseball in each of the last three 162-game seasons. That includes a 2019 campaign that saw Baltimore pitchers set a new MLB record with 305 home runs allowed in a single season. The use of the livelier ball led to a huge surge in home runs league-wide in 2019, yet while the five highest single-season homers-allowed totals in history occurred during that season, the Orioles’ 305 total still comfortably led the pack (the Rockies were second, surrendering 270 home runs).