In today’s Daily News, Jerry Manuel stated that the Mets must adjust to the dimensions of the ballpark in order to take full advantage of it.
To that, I would like to present Manuel (a.k.a. Captain Obvious) with a new award, the “Duh, me!” Award.
Of course, the Mets will have to adjust. They obviously haven’t adjusted to Citi Field offensively, having hit fewer than 50 home runs there. As a matter of fact, since the home run apple rises during the seventh inning stretch, fans attending games at Citi Field have been more likely to snap pictures of it during “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” than after an actual home run. As of Friday night’s game, the apple has risen 79 times during the seventh inning stretch and 49 times after home runs hit by Mets players.
Captain Obvious went on to talk about David Wright’s power failure at Citi Field this season. He made an interesting observation when he said,
“The real question is: Will David Wright come back and be the home run hitter that he is? That’s the only one that we’ve really been able to evaluate in this particular park and say, ‘Hey, we could have had this amount of home runs, but didn’t.’ ”
“How does that affect him going forward, or was there some mechanical, fundamental thing that he could have done differently to hit more home runs, on the road, or what have you? I don’t think we’ll make any adjustments as far as the ballpark goes, but as individuals and hitting programs go, there’s a possibility of some adjustments being made.”
Oh, really? What happened to that 80-pitch drill in spring training? You know the one. It’s the one where hitters were given 80 pitches to swing at in six minutes so they could hit to the opposite field naturally when they became fatigued during the drill.
The opposite field for David Wright at Citi Field is the bullpen and the Mo-Zone, or Death Valley. Whereas the opposite field for Wright at Shea Stadium was anywhere from 371 to 396 feet, Death Valley at Citi Field ranges from 378 to 415 feet.
Friday night’s game was an example of how Death Valley added another double to David Wright’s total instead of a home run. In the bottom of the first inning, Wright hit a ball that bounced just before the 415 sign in front of the Mets bullpen and bounced over for a ground-rule double. With one more double, Wright will have his fourth consecutive 40-double season, despite the fact that he will have played in fewer games this season than in the previous three 40-double campaigns due to his DL stint.
Is it possible that if players hadn’t been encouraged to hit the ball the other way so much in the 80-pitch drills, they might have hit with a little more power this year? Opposing players haven’t had much a problem hitting home runs at Citi Field. Just ask Mark Reynolds. He seemed to have made a few friends in the second deck of the left field seats when the Diamondbacks made their first and only visit to Citi Field by hitting four home runs in the three-game series.
I hope Howard Johnson plans to teach them how to pull when pulling the ball is warranted. After all, as any long-time Mets fan would know, no one pulled more home runs in a Mets uniform than HoJo. Maybe then, the home run apple will make more appearances during a home run trot than during Lazy Mary.