After an uneven split between home and road homers in 2021, the Baltimore Orioles are taking steps to making things closer to normal next season.
An Orioles spokesman confirmed to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN) that the wall in left field at Oriole Park at Camden Yards will be moved back "as much as 30 feet" before the start of the 2022 campaign.
"For the start of the 2022 season, the distance from home plate to the left field wall will be pushed back as much as 30 feet, in varying increments at different points in the wall, and the height will raise approximately five feet," the club told fans in an email shared with the AP.
"By pushing back the left field wall, we've created a playing field that is fair for both pitchers and hitters. While Oriole Park will remain a hitter's ballpark, it will no longer be an outlier among the parks"
Per BallparksofBaseball.com, Camden Yards has the seventh-longest left-field foul pole in MLB at 337 feet. The stadium also has a seven-foot-tall fence.
Moving the fences back could take a huge strain off Orioles pitchers in 2022. Their starters ranked last in MLB in innings pitched (735.1) and ERA (5.99) last season. Their entire pitching staff had a 6.00 ERA at home in 2021, more than one full run higher than the second-worst team (Chicago Cubs: 4.99).
The Orioles are trying to improve on their recent run of ineptitude on the field. They have lost at least 100 games in three of the past four seasons and have finished last in the American League East four times in the past five seasons.
Their only season with fewer than 100 losses and not in last place during that span was the pandemic-shortened 60-game season in 2020 (25-35, fourth in the AL East).
Orioles hitters had 122 homers at Camden Yards, compared to 73 on the road. Their pitchers allowed 155 home runs at home and 103 in road games.
Assuming the MLB lockout doesn't impact the start of the regular season, the Orioles will host the Toronto Blue Jays at Oriole Park on Opening Day on March 31.