BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The outfield dimensions at Oriole Park at Camden Yards will undergo their first major change in more than 20 years to create a ballpark “that is fair for both pitchers and hitters.”
According to an email sent to Birdland Members whose seats will be eliminated by the change, the team has decided to push back and raise the left-field wall. It’s the first alteration since the 2001 season, when the team reconfigured the diamond, adding up to seven feet to the outfield. That change was undone the next year.READ MORE: Severe Thunderstorms Bring Heavy Rain, Tornado Watch, To Maryland Counties
Standing at seven feet tall, the left-field wall is currently 333 feet down the line and 364 feet away in left-center. The wall will be pushed back as much as 30 feet at points and grow five feet taller by the start of the 2022 season, the email said.
Moving the wall back and making it higher could change a park known for its propensity for home runs. The decision was made after “extensive research” by the team’s Baseball Operations and Analytics departments.READ MORE: Baltimore's Light Rail Trains Waylaid By Fallen Tree On Tracks
In 2021, Orioles pitchers had a league-worst 5.84 ERA and gave up 258 home runs, the most in Major League Baseball. At Oriole Park at Camden Yards, their ERA went up to 5.99 ERA, also worst in the majors. They gave up 155 of their 258 home runs there.
“While Oriole Park will remain a hitter’s ballpark, it will no longer be an outlier among the parks,” the team said.
The team assured Birdland Members they’ll still have the best seats in the house. Though they’ll be moving further from the infield and home plate, members will maintain their proximity to the field, the team said.MORE NEWS: Firefighters Battle Two-Alarm Fire Amid Thunderstorm In Baltimore's Riverside Neighborhood
The change comes as Oriole Park celebrates its 30th anniversary. The park opened in 1992 and ushered in a new era of downtown stadiums with retro-design features.