The new Yankee Stadium (opened in 2009) quickly gained a reputation for being home-run-friendly. The Colorado Rockies’ Coors Field has allowed the most home runs in a single season, and the new Yankee Stadium was nicknamed “Coors Field East” or “Coors East.” The new Yankee Stadium has also been called the “Bronx bandbox.”
The 1961 New York Yankees team was known for its home run hitters, with both Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle (the M&M Boys) chasing Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record. Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin made the first manned spaceflight on April 12, 1961. By May 1961, “launching pad” became a baseball term for home plate, where the Yankees would “launch” their home run shots. By 1971, Atlanta’s Fulton County Stadium became known for its many home runs—earning that stadium the nickname “The Launching Pad.”
The new Yankee Stadium acquired the nickname “launching pad” by at least April 17, 2009.
Wikipedia: List of baseball jargon
To hit a long fly ball, as if launching a rocket. “Orso, who recently signed with Alabama Southern to play college baseball next season, launched several rocket shots and by far hit the furthest home runs of anyone in the competition. . . .”
Wikipedia: Yankee Stadium
Yankee Stadium is a stadium located in the The Bronx, a borough of New York City. It serves as the home ballpark for the New York Yankees, replacing the previous Yankee Stadium, built in 1923. The new ballpark was constructed across the street, north-northeast of the 1923 Yankee Stadium, on the former site of Macombs Dam Park. The first game at the new Yankee Stadium was a preseason exhibition game against the Chicago Cubs played on April 3, 2009, which the Yankees won 7–4. The first regular season game was played on April 16, 2009, when the Yankees lost 10–2 to the Cleveland Indians.
Much of the stadium incorporates design elements from the previous Yankee Stadium, paying homage to the Yankees’ history. Although stadium construction began in August 2006, the project of building a new stadium for the Yankees is one that spanned many years and faced many controversies. Financing for the stadium has been a very divisive issue, with New York City citizens criticizing the city’s decision to use funds to build the sports venue, instead of using it for other pressing issues. The projected total cost of the stadium is $1.5 billion, making it the second most expensive stadium in the world after Wembley Stadium.
Home run haven
Yankee Stadium has quickly acquired a reputation as a “bandbox” and a “launching pad” due to the high number of home runs hit at the new ballpark. Through its first 23 games, 87 home runs have been hit at the venue, easily besting Enron Field’s previous record set in 2000. Yankee Stadium is also on pace to challenge Coors Field’s 1999 single-season record of 303 home runs allowed, and the hometown Daily News has taken to publishing a daily graphic comparing each stadium’s home run totals through a similar number of games.
The proliferation of home runs has led ESPN’s Peter Gammons to denounce the new facility as “one of the biggest jokes in baseball” and conclude that “[it] was not a very well-planned ballpark." Likewise, Gammons’ ESPN colleague Buster Olney has described the stadium as being “on steroids” and likened it to his childhood Wiffle-ball park. Newsday columnist Wallace Matthews joined in the chorus, labeling the stadium “ridiculous” and decrying its cheapening of the home run. In the same column, Yankee great Reggie Jackson termed the park “too small” to contain Alex Rodriguez and suggested it might enable the third baseman to hit 75 home runs in a season.
A variety of theories have been posited to account for the dramatic increase in home runs at the new Yankee Stadium over the original stadium, foremost among these the sharper angles of the outfield walls and the speculated presence of a wind tunnel. During construction of the new ballpark, engineers commissioned a wind study, the results of which indicated there would be no noticeable difference between the two stadiums. The franchise is planning to conduct a second study, but major league rules prohibit it from making any changes to the playing field until the off-season.
Wikipedia: Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium
Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, often shortened to “Fulton County Stadium,” was a multi-use (baseball, football, soccer, rock concert, revival meeting, and monster truck) stadium that formerly stood in Atlanta, Georgia. Completed in a then-record 50 weeks for $18 million, it opened in the spring of 1965 as Atlanta Stadium. It was intended as the home of the soon-to-be-relocating Braves, but court battles kept the team in Milwaukee as a lame duck for a year. So the new stadium had a lame duck of its own for that first season: the Atlanta Crackers of the International League, whose previous home had been Ponce de Leon Park at 650 Ponce de Leon Avenue. In its first year it also hosted Atlanta’s only Beatles concert, August 18, 1965. In 1966, both the NL’s transplanted Braves and the NFL’s expansion Atlanta Falcons moved in. In 1967, the Atlanta Chiefs of the National Professional Soccer League (re-formed as the North American Soccer League in 1968) began the first of five seasons played at the stadium. In a move intended to acknowledge the financial contributions of the taxpayers of Fulton County, the stadium’s name was changed to the hyphenated Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in 1976, the same year that Ted Turner purchased the Braves. The Falcons moved to the Georgia Dome in 1992, while the Braves had to wait until the Olympic Stadium from the 1996 Summer Olympics was transformed into Turner Field to move out at the beginning of the 1997 season. The stadium sat 60,606 for football and 52,007 for baseball. The baseball competition for the 1996 Summer Olympics was held at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.
Due to the relatively high elevation of the Atlanta area (situated at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains), the stadium boasted the highest elevation in baseball when it opened, at 1,050 feet above sea level. It retained this distinction until the Colorado Rockies were born in 1993. The high elevation made it favorable to home run hitters, resulting in the nickname “The Launching Pad.”
The Dickson Baseball Dictionary
By Paul Dickson
New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Co.
launching oad A ballpark in which home runs are hit with great frequency. After the Baltimore Orioles set a single-month home run hitting record in May 1987, coach Frank Robinson said of Memorial Stadium: “It’s a launching pad” (UPI dispatch, June 2, 1987). Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium long enjoyed the nickname “The Launching Pad.” The term has also been applied to Wrigley Field in Chicago and Coors Field in Denver.
Main Entry: launching pad
(Oxford English Dictionary)
launching pad, the area on which a rocket stands for launching; also fig. and transf
1951 COOKE & CAIDIN Jets, Rockets & Guided Missiles 138 Under a blazing afternoon sun, at 3.14 p.m., a modified V-2 rocket carrying a WAC-Corporal in its nose rose slowly from its concrete *launching pad.
1958 Daily Mail 16 Aug. 1/4 The 88 ft. rocket stands poised on its concrete launching pad here tonight looking like a giant silver propelling pencil.
1959 Encounter Dec. 74/2 All this is by way of a launching-pad for the idea of the Non-Nuclear Club.
8 May 1961, Reno (NV) Evening Gazette, “Yanks Out-Homered, Mantle Hitless” by the Associated Press, pg. 14, col. 4:
New York Yankee plans for turning Wrigley Field into a private launching pad have been postponed indefinitely. The men who live by the home run died by the home run over the weekend and the Los Angeles Angels beat them with their own weapon.
29 July 1961, Indiana (PA) Evening Gazette, “Momentum Will Help Maris—Kiner” by Harry Grayson (Sports Editor, NEA), pg. 8, col. 1:
With the plate turned into a veritable launching pad, especially by the Yankees, once more there is talk about the danger of the home run becoming too commonplace.
31 July 1961, Nashua (NH) Telegraph, “‘M’ Boys In Middle: Never a Club With Such Sustained Power” by Harry Grayson (Sports Editor, NEA), pg. 9, col. 3:
Consider the fact that there are no fewer than 11 Yankees who have a chance to turning the plate into a launching pad every time they swing from the heels. Eveybody but the pitcher is capable of hitting the ball from precinct to precinct. Maris and Mantle are only the middle men in this deal. They are surrounded by home run hitters, including three versatile catchers, Blanchard, Yogi Berra and Elston Howard, who are perhaps the secret to the entire all-round Yankee attack.
13 April 1971, Lubbock (TX) Avalanche-Journal, “Sparky Anderson Happy After Reds Get First Win,” pg. C3, cols. 3-4:
“You get the ball in the air and it’ll go outta here (Atlanta—ed.),” said Anderson, “but all those tonight were legitimate home runs.”
“It’s like a launching pad here,” said McGlothlin, whose blast down the left field line was only the second homer of his career. The other sailed out of Atlanta Stadium last April.
25 June 1971, Danville (VA) Bee, pg. 3B, col. 3:
Big Red Machine Returns
To Launching Pad Tonight
ATLANTA (AP)—Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine, silenced twice by no-hitters this season, returns to the Launching Pad—Atlanta Stadium—just in time to soothe ailing egos and plunging batting averages.
9 August 1971, Ruston (LA) Daily Leader, pg. 6, col. 8:
Both his blank jobs came at Atlanta Stadium, which is often referred to as The Launching Pad because of the way baseballs fly out of the park for home runs.
04/04/09 6:54 PM ET
Early traits revealed in park’s debut
Hard walls, wind patterns, foul territory among observations
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
Seven home runs were hit by the Yankees in the two games, with Mark Teixeira belting a pair on Saturday to pace the wrecking crew. There were not many cheapies in the bunch, which led Derek Jeter to dismiss the idea that the Yankees are moving into a launching pad.
04-17-09, 04:05 PM
Is the new yankee stadium a “launching pad?”
I’ve heard it mentioned several times by announcers, ESPN, and now Pete Abe that the new stadium is a hitter’s park because of all the homeruns we have seen thus far.
Considering it has the same dimensions and is walking distance away from the old stadium, could it have really changed the dynamics of the stadium that much? I don’t think so, but I was curious to see what other thoughts were.
The LoHud Yankees Blog by Peter Abraham
New Stadium a launching pad?
April 17, 2009
There have been 34.5 innings played at the new Stadium and 17 home runs have been hit.
The New York Baseball Scene
Friday, April 17, 2009
Yankees salvage bad week with a 4-3 finish
Another problem that I want to talk about and that the Yankees are facing at the moment, are the many HR’s hit in just the 1st week at the new stadium. Many are already calling the new Yankee Stadium a launching pad of a stadium, and have even compared it to the park in Philadelphia.
The Sportz Assassin
Sunday, April 19, 2009
New Yankee Stadium Is Apparently a Bandbox
The new Yankee Stadium is less than a month old (and just three regular season days old) but it already is getting a reputation.
Forget Coors Field or the Ballpark in Arlington. Go home Great American Ballpark and Minute Maid Park. New Yankee Stadium seems to be the new launching pad.