In an era where many MLB teams have moved fences in to give hitters a boost, Baltimore is moving out and raising the Oriole Park left-field fence to give pitchers a boost.
While Oriole Park isn’t the most batter-friendly ballpark in the majors–that honor perennially falls to Coors Field–it does have a reputation for being a homer-friendly venue. So the Orioles are working to even the odds by moving out the left-field fence, per the Baltimore Sun:
This club told The Baltimore Sun it began construction this week to alter Oriole Park at Camden Yards’ left-field dimensions to try to reduce the stadium’s propensity for home runs. The changes — the first to the size of the iconic ballpark’s playing area in two decades — will raise the wall’s height from 7 feet to about 12 feet and move it back as much as 30 feet, according to information provided by the team. Major League Baseball approved the adjustments, which will cover the area from the left-field corner to the bullpens in the left-center field.
The new measurements fall in line with other major league parks. As of 2020, Camden Yards’ 333-foot distance from home plate to the left-field corner was about average for the 30 major league stadiums, though its 364-foot distance to left-center was one of the league’s most reachable for batters. Oriole Park was one of only eight ballparks with a wall shorter than 8 feet in left and had the shortest wall in left-center field of any venue. A 12-foot left-field wall would be tied for the sixth-tallest in the majors.
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. Although the Orioles in recent years have deployed inexperienced pitching staffs who have set several records for home runs allowed, Oriole Park has always been a hitter’s haven.
In the past few years we’ve seen the Miami Marlins, New York Mets and San Diego Padres to move the fences in to create more home runs and scoring. So moving the fence out–by 30 feet, no less!–is a pretty aggressive move for the Orioles.
The changes are expected to be in place for Opening Day.