If you've been to Bradenton for spring training, you think you know why Marauders' players hit so well in the summer. The park has modest dimensions (335 down the lines, 375 in the alleys, and 400 to center), and the winds can turn routine fly balls into adventures (or even home runs). And the ball carries very well. Plus, you've seen the park factor stories that tell you about all the hits and home runs in McKechnie compared to other FSL parks.
But what you know really isn't true. McKechnie is pretty much a plain vanilla A+ park in the summer time. It ranks 14th out of 34 A+ parks in terms of hits per game and home runs per game. The winds usually calm down, and it gets hotter and much more humid. Calmer winds mean more balls get caught. Balls carry better when it's hot and worse when it's humid. On balance, playing half of your FSL games at McKechnie does not inflate statistics much.
It's the other FSL parks that get weird, and wind is a major factor. It's not uncommon for the gusts of March to turn into strong summer winds that suppress offense. For example, in Brevard County the wind often blows in from left, and in Palm Beach it's usually a cross wind or one blowing in from right. And the summer humidity doesn't help.
What doesn't much get talked about much is that Blair County Ballpark and Victory Field are really tough places to hit a home run. Altoona is a fairly neutral park in terms of hits, but only the hot, humid parks in Birmingham and Pearl, Mississippi allow fewer home runs among AA parks. Victory Field in Indianapolis appears to suppress hits a bit and sharply limit home runs. Among AAA parks only Gwinnett had a lower home run rate. So, don't get carried away by AA or AAA pitching stats. And if a hitter puts up power numbers in Altoona or Indy, pay close attention (unless he hit them all in Erie or Columbus).
That brings us back to the title question: Why are Altoona and Indianapolis such hard places to hit? Anyone?