The Phillies have been very active this offseason, and no, I don't mean that Ed Wade is going mall-walking. The Phillies are hoping to remake their lineup along with their fortunes before the start of the 2003 season. They have signed Jim Thome and David Bell. They re-signed lefty reliever Dan Plesac for $2 M (while better, younger lefty relievers remained on the free agent market). They vehemently pursued Tom Glavine and Jamie Moyer until they chose other suitors.
One pattern seems to be forming for Phils. They are emulating the Yankees. No, I mean besides the overpaying for talent. The Phillies seem to be building a predominately left-handed lineup. Now, why would they go and do a thing like that in the symmetry lover's paradise that is Veterans Stadium?
Well, I'll tell you. The Phils new stadium set to open in 2004 is still a shell, but the architects have done a little analysis. It seems that the Vet Mach II (so named for Spinal Tap's short-lived, free-form jazz ensemble), based on Shibe Park, will favor lefties.
If you take a look at the plans, you will not notice any lefty favoritism though the lines seem pretty short on both sides, but the study that was conducted belies simple dimensions:
The Conclusions of the Baseball Trajectory Study
- North winds have the most overall impact on the flight of the baseball due to the open design of the Ballpark.
- West-Northwest and East winds tend to have a relatively minor effect on baseball trajectories due to the blockage provided by the Ballpark.
- Batted balls are generally assisted by winds coming from the South.
- Batted balls to right and center field are significantly assisted by winds from the Southwest. [Bold mine]
-In general, the greater the baseball launch angle, the greater the affect the wind will have on the ball.
After seeing that, I wouldn't be surprised if the Phils offered Chuck Finley a pot of gold. It also explains the Phils' crush on Tom Glavine when the superior Greg Maddux is available (that or perhaps the dimensions of the Phillie management's crania). If the Phils don't land Finley-I hope-, then will probably go after the Yankees' lefty Andy Pettite. The Yanks have some numbers issues in the rotation and Pettite can be had (maybe for some relief help and/or Jeremy Giambi).
Whatever happens before 2003, if this study holds true, I would expect the Phils to become even more left-handed as the 2004 opener looms. On a related note, I hear that Bob McClure and Tony Fossas are planning comebacks.