I’m very glad to see that the Wilpons finally agreed to change the color of the outfield walls to blue. I still can’t for the life of me understand what the logic was behind black and orange, but thankfully that chapter of Citi Field is now behind us.
While I’m quite pleased with the aesthetic and cosmetic changes, the more important thing will be the new slimmed down version of the playing field itself, which has the walls coming in 25 feet and also being lowered to 8 feet from the left field foul pole all the way to the right field foul pole.
From what Sandy Alderson said yesterday, the Mets would have hit about 81 more homers over three years with these new dimensions. The changes will have a significant impact and in my opinion it should have a similar effect to adding a 30 home run hitter to the line-up and doing it without even spending a dime for it in free agency.
Consider full and healthy seasons from Lucas Duda and Ike Davis from the left side, and David Wright and Jason Bay from the right. It’s very conceivable that Wright and Bay could return to their 35-HR forms, while Davis and Duda chip in with 30 home runs each as well. Regardless of whether or not you believe their power numbers all suffered because of Citi Field – particularly Bay and Wright – there can be no denying the park messed with their heads and swings.
Wright and Bay are both relieved and ecstatic with the planned renovations. Here is what the Mets third baseman had to say about it:
“You’d be lying if you said you enjoyed hitting at Citi Field,” Wright said. “I don’t think anybody would say they enjoyed hitting in such a pitchers’ ballpark. Any time you talk to a hitter about making a park more hitter-friendly, it’s a thing that we’re all for. I very briefly looked at the pictures and those dimensions and everything. It just looks, obviously, fair. I don’t think we ever looked at the field and it intimidated us. But obviously it’s frustrating at times when you hit a ball good and you don’t see the results that you want to see.”
Incidentally, yesterday Sandy Alderson also reported some good news on both Duda and Davis. He assures us that both are doing well and will be ready when Spring Training begins.
Also, for those still up in arms over the Jose Reyes situation, keep in mind that of all the hitting styles on the Mets, the changes would probably effect Reyes more adversely than any other of the other starting players. The gaps just got smaller and the odd angles have been eliminated which could mean less triples, and with defenders now playing 20 to 25 feet shallower, many of those bloop hits and doubles Reyes racked up, may be reduced as well. So in addition to the injury risk that is ALWAYS THERE with Reyes, keep in mind that with dimensions that mimic Shea Stadium, you should expect numbers like he used to post from 2005-2008, but with half the stolen bases? Good seasons, yes, but probably not worth $20 million dollars a year. Sorry to some of my MMO brethren, but I just can’t see paying that kind of money for a leadoff hitter.