Before Baseball America released its minor league park study, I had an idea that Lake Olmstead Stadium was a homer-suppressing park. I had no idea it was so serious.
To be ranked 119th out of 120 parks in the country in home runs per game is pretty astounding. No matter the league, quality of players, weather or dimensions, it says something to be ranked that low out of that many parks.
Players and coaches offered different observations and reasons, but the main cause I heard was the wind. It often blows off Lake Olmstead, which sits across the street from the park, close enough to where a hard foul ball to left field can roll down the bank to the water. If you regularly attend GreenJackets games, you may notice the flags in center blowing left to right, or even in. Rarely do they blow out in any form.
Next time you attend a game, check out the flags and how they move.
Something that jumped out at me while going through box scores over the past three years is notable names and their home runs. Rome's Evan Gattis knocked two out of the park in Augusta in 2011, two of his 22 that season. One was an opposite-field shot to right, which is extremely rare at Lake Olmstead; for one, players at this level usually don't have the strength to muscle it out opposite-field style, and two, right field doesn't see nearly as many home runs as left field. It's not surprising Gattis is mashing in the majors.
Charleston's Slade Heathcott, ranked second in the Yankees system, also hit two home runs in 2011. Heathcott is one of the bigger prospects to homer at Lake Olmstead over the past three years.
Augusta's Chris Dominguez hit three walk-off homers in 2010, including two in consecutive nights. I would have a difficult time even putting that into words. It's an amazing feat.
You can't scout a box score, but every one tells a story. Every GreenJackets box score over the past three years tells the story of extreme home run supression, and within that, there are those nuggets worth remembering.