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What do OPACY’s New Dimensions Mean for the Team?

New Oriole Park dimensions
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When Mike Elias took over the Orioles Front Office in 2018, he promised changes would be happening to the franchise to make it more stable. Elias has lived up to his promises of building a better farm system with a more analytical approach that was desperately needed. Elias also said that the team needed to change its approach to the international market, which he also did. While all these changes were universally accepted, Elias also said that changes would be coming to the thing that all Orioles fans can agree is near perfect, Oriole Park at Camden Yards. To this point, most of the changes to the ballpark that changed baseball were small, in my opinion. Lights were strung up on Eutaw Street, which was a nice touch at night to give more light to the concourse below.

However, the most significant change to the Camden Yards happened last week when it was announced that construction would be done to adjust the left-field walls, changing the dimensions from 364 to 384 feet in left field, and left-center next to the Orioles bullpen was changed to 400 feet. This change shows a couple of points: the first is that the Orioles are trying to make a fair playing ground and better playing environment for all players, and the Orioles are Elias’s team, not anyone else’s.

While people have complained about how odd the changes look, these changes were unfortunately beyond overdue. Look, I love Camden Yards as much as the next person. I consider it a top-three park in MLB, and it is still one of the crown jewels of baseball. With that said, the dimensions were always a little bit extreme. While 364 to left doesn’t seem that bad, it was noticeable how bad the conditions were for pitchers. While the old dimensions also favored Orioles hitters, the pitchers were always playing at a huge disadvantage. Please consider that the Orioles also play in the brutal AL East with some of the best lineups in baseball. It isn’t surprising Orioles have had pitching troubles. The organization could do a better job building a rotation, of course. No one is saying that the rotations the Orioles have tried to put together have been great, outside of 2012 through 2014, but you can’t deny that Camden Yards has had some effect on the performance of the pitchers. How often have we seen a pitcher make a good pitch, and the hitters either barely pull or go with the pitch, and it barely gets out of the ballpark due to the short porch?

I also don’t get the argument that the new left field looks terrible and can injure outfielders. The part where the bullpen starts with the new dimensions looks weird at first, but PNC Park in Pittsburgh has the same style, and it looks fine. As for the injury part, MLB has to approve the changes beforehand, and do you think if this was an issue that the league would authorize it? No, they wouldn’t; it will just take a little bit of time to get used to looking at it.

I think the new dimensions in left are another example of Elias showing that he is willing to make changes and do what he feels best for the organization moving forward. The changes will also help entice free-agent pitchers, long wary of coming to Baltimore, to give Charm City a harder look.

These changes can also show that Elias has complete control of what he can do with the Orioles, and he doesn’t have push back from ownership. This new Orioles era is all Elias, and their success or failure will fall on him and the people he brought in.

Look, change can be wrong, especially when it comes to changing one of baseball’s crown jewels. However, change can also be a good thing, and the change to left field doesn’t change enough about Camden Yards for me to complain about it seriously. Is it a different look than what I am used to? Maybe, but that doesn’t make it wrong? It doesn’t take away from the feel of the park and doesn’t change the atmosphere. I would argue that the Hilton was a worse change than the new left field. It isn’t like they are tearing down the Warehouse or messing with the skyline.

Significantly, if the new dimensions can help the Orioles develop pitching better and can even lore more free-agent pitchers, I think it will be worth it in the long run.

I also understand that the hitters are losing something here, but the walls aren’t that deep and are pretty standard dimensions for a typical ballpark. Also, the hitters have had such an advantage over the pitchers that I think the hitters can live with standard dimensions.

In conclusion, the changes to left field in Oriole Park at Camden Yards show that the Orioles are Mike Elias’s team and that he will do anything to make the Orioles successful in the future. The changes to the ballpark aren’t that marginal and will help fix the product on the field by allowing Elias to develop better his homegrown pitching and bring in free-agent pitchers.

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