Can Citi Field Become The Mets Home Field Advantage?

An article by posted on May 20, 2014 0 Comments

citi field opening day 2013

Kristie Ackert of the Daily News writes that the Mets acknowledged after the 2011 season that Citi Field was unfair to hitters, so they went ahead and moved the fences in. But just last week the Mets told the Daily News that the team was not considering another adjustment of the fences, but Sandy Alderson did not rule out the possibility.

“That is something we might consider at the end of the season, something I am sure will be taken into consideration,” Alderson tells Ackert. “But right now it is not something we are talking about.”

Just last week the Mets played two amazing games at Yankee Stadium where they scored 21 runs, but after returning to Citi Field the next two nights they did not score a run. Could that be chalked up to the great pitching performances of Masahiro Tanaka, Chase Whitley and Dellin Betances, or that the Mets sluggers just do not feel they have the same advantage at home as they do at the opposing ball parks.

In home games over the past three seasons, the Mets have scored 883 runs, which is 26th in the majors, with a .679 OPS and they scored 1,104 runs with a .719 OPS on the road.

One ex-Mets slugger, who spoke on the condition of anonymity with the Daily News, say, “It’s brutal. You don’t realize it when you come in to play there once in a while. When you play there every day, it’s just brutal.”

The last time ownership became aware that the park was just not built to favor the hitters, they decided to take action after Mets hitters complaints and in 2011 lowered the 16-foot wall in left-center to 8 feet, and brought in the walls in the gaps by as much as 17 feet.

The idea that a ball park could wreck havoc on a hitters psyche and truly change their game, can be more of just thinking too much, and even the Mets pitching coach preaches to the hitters how to be successful in any at bat home or away “We always preach the same approach, keep the same approach, don’t change anything,” said hitting coach Dave Hudgens. “But I think what happens a lot of time, they will hit a ball good, it doesn’t go out, they don’t get the results, they try a little bit harder the next time. It’s just human nature. . . . We preach stay in the middle of the field, line drives, don’t try to do too much and don’t worry about the ballpark.”

One former teammate even went on to suggest that David Wright‘s numbers would be better if not for Citi Field, “It kills David’s numbers. He is so much better than the numbers he has and it’s because of that park.”

But David Wright doesn’t believe that is the case, “Ultimately you want to be rewarded for good at-bats and making solid contact. I think it can be frustrating, but as far as getting in your head, no,” Wright tells Ackert.

And when looking for high priced players to come and play for the Mets, the issue may not just be about the money, “It’s something that is still in the (players’) heads, that it’s a tough park to hit in,” said one agent who requested anonymity to protect his clients, tell the Daily News. “They see what David Wright went through there and it makes them a little nervous, I think.”

This is not an issue that will be resolved any time this season, so the hope is that the sluggers will finally breakout and disprove the theory that Citi Field is ruining the home team and turn this field into a home team advantage, but that is easier said then done.

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About the Author ()

David was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and is a lifelong Mets fan. He is the Senior Editor for MMO and also the Executive Editor for our Minor League site, MetsMinors.Net. David is also a photographer and shares his great photos here on MMO.