Third baseman Josh Donaldson is no longer in the American League West, having been dealt in the off-season by Oakland and now continuing his All-Star ways with Toronto.
But he played enough at Globe Life Park the past two seasons to feel comfortable enough to confirm, almost interrupting a line of questioning to Prince Fielder during a Home Run Derby press conference, that the Texas Rangers’ home indeed is no longer a hitter’s paradise.
He’s not the only one who has noticed a difference in how the ball carries in Arlington, but doing so on national TV on All-Star Monday brought the subject to life again.
The jet stream is long gone, Donaldson said later during the annual media free-for-all. He knew that the opening in the stands behind home plate no longer allows for the winds coming from right field to swirl as strongly and carry flyballs over the fence in right and right-center field.
“Yes it is,” Donaldson said. “I certainly don’t think of it as a hitter’s park. The park itself is huge. The dimensions are bigger than the majority of the major leagues, and whatever that [change] was, they completely took away the jet stream to right-center.”
Donaldson selected Michael Young, the Rangers’ all-time hits leader who was never regarded as a power hitter, to prove his point.
“I remember seeing Michael Young hit balls into the bullpen,” Donaldson said. “I’m not here bashing Michael Young by any means, but I remember last year I absolutely bolted a ball and it barely went out. I was like, ‘I don’t think Michael Young has more juice than me.’ “
Donaldson contends that every AL West ballpark is difficult to hit in, even Minute Maid Park in Houston. He agrees that the Crawford Boxes in left field make for some cheap homers, but homers to center field are rare.
“You’ve got to go down the lines,” he said. “It’s pick your poison.”
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760