Construction has begun on moving in the outfield walls at Citi Field to make the ballpark more ‘hitter friendly.’ To date, the new stadium in Flushing has been a cavernous structure where home runs go to die.
The Great Wall of Flushing and the Mo’s Zone right center gap have left hitters thinking home run out of the box but realizing that the ball had hit the wall, or worse, landed in an outfielder’s glove.
Several Mets players including David Wright and Ike Davis have expressed their excitement that the team decided to decrease the dimensions. It can result in possibly 5-10 more home runs per player over the course of a season. And with the way the Mets play at home, every run counts.
But looking at the team’s current roster and its offseason plans (or lack thereof), it seems as though the Mets opponents may benefit more from the reduced dimensions than the Mets.
The whole point of building Citi Field to be extra large was so that the team could bring in quality pitchers into a pitcher’s park. Though the attempt has been made, the experiment hasn’t exactly worked out.
Also, large gaps allowed Jose Reyes to turn doubles into triples. While that worked for a time, odds are that Reyes will call another city home before too long.
For some players like Ryan Howard, Dan Uggla, Mark Reynolds and Mike Stanton, even Citi Field is no match for their tremendous power. But for someone like Wright who has good but not great power, shorter fences could help in him driving the ball out of the park.
However, other teams have players like Wright with good power that could come to Flushing and terrorize the Mets with home runs. Gaby Sanchez, Freddie Freeman, Chase Utley and Ryan Zimmerman—all of whom happen to play in the NL East—immediately come to mind as guys who could benefit from the shorter fences.
So if the Mets don’t find a way to improve their pitching, it can be a long season of watching opponents circle the bases.
But hey, hopefully we can also say that we’re seeing the Home Run Apple pop up at a greater rate.
Originally posted 12/1 at 8:30 PM