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As I watched New York Yankees’ third baseman Todd Frazier practically one hand a pitch from former Pittsburgh Pirates Charlie Morton over the right field fence Monday night to give the Yankees an early 3-0 lead it got me thinking about the short porch in right field at PNC Park.
The Yanks have traditionally been able to take advantage of their short porch in right field. While these Yankees are mostly a right-handed hitting team now, throughout the past couple of decades they have been able to load up on enough left-handed hitters that have been able to launch balls into the second and third decks in right field (314 feet) of Yankee Stadium.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have not.
Granted the Yanks can afford to get the bats they need and the Pirates can’t, but when PNC Park opened in 2001, it was thought that left-handed hitters would have a field day launching balls over the Clemente Wall, which is only 320 feet from home plate.
Throw in the fact there is a spacious outfield in the rest of PNC Park and Pirates pitchers would also have an advantage as the Bucs athletic outfield would be able to run down balls in the gap.
Things haven’t played out the way many thought in terms of the Pirates hitting a lot of homers over the Clemente Wall though.
Brian Giles had two years in PNC Park where he hit 35 and 37 homers and Pedro Alvarez had a couple of decent power years, but other than that the organization has had trouble finding the power- hitting left handed bat that would excel in PNC Park.
That would be nice to have in the middle of the Bucs lineup, especially these days when homers are flying out of ballparks at a record pace.
However that is something that will likely be missing from the Pirates lineup for years to come.
Power hitters aren’t cheap and there is the problem.
One of these years the Bucs may end up with a left-handed slugger that can truly take advantage of the short right field at PNC Park and it truly may become a home-field advantage.
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