Blog Entry

Mets bringing in, lowering Citi Field wall

Posted on: October 31, 2011 2:18 pm
Edited on: October 31, 2011 5:59 pm
 


By Matt Snyder


Moving the outfield walls in to make Citi Field more hitter-friendly has been discussed pretty much since the ballpark opened and started sucking the power from the Mets' lineup. Whether it was among fans, sports talk radio or people who actual have decision-making power, the dearth of home runs has long been a subject when it comes to how Citi Field plays. And it's all about to change.

The Mets announced Monday they are moving in the walls in several areas and the new wall will be blue. Check out the graphic above, which was provided by the Mets. The blue lines are where the new walls will be, while the orange lines depict the position of the original walls.

From the press release:
The Mets will erect a new wall in leftfield starting between the New Era and Caesars signs and angled to the Citi sign in left-centerfield (see attached renderings). The new wall will be closer to home plate by approximately 4 feet in leftfield and up to approximately 12 feet in deep left-centerfield.

A new wall will start in right-centerfield and extend toward the bullpen, and be as much as approximately 11 feet closer to home plate. The fence in front of the Mo’s Zone/Modell’s Clubhouse will move in approximately 10 feet. The distances from home plate to centerfield and the foul poles in leftfield and rightfield will remain the same.

“We wanted to make Citi Field fair to both pitchers and hitters,” said Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson.

“After conferring with Sandy and all members of his staff, Ownership concurred with the recommendation to change the dimensions at Citi Field,” said Mets COO Jeff Wilpon. “We decided to change the outfield wall from black to Mets blue, which many of our fans have wanted.”

As a result of moving the walls in, the Mets will create a unique seating section in leftfield between the new and existing wall to accommodate about 100 fans. The club will also expand the Modell’s Clubhouse in rightfield to incorporate an outdoor seating area for approximately 40 additional fans.
Citi Field was last in the majors in home runs during its first three seasons with an average of 1.43 per game.

One player in particular has gotten tons of attention for his lack of power: All-Star third baseman David Wright.

Wright averaged 29 homers per year from 2005-2008. He hit just 10 home runs in 2009 and 14 last season (in just 102 games). He did hit 29 homers in 2010, but 17 of those came on the road. So he's seen a dip.

"Any time you talk to a hitter about making a park more hitter-friendly, it's a thing that we're all for," Wright said about the changes to ESPN New York. "I very briefly looked at the pictures and those dimensions and everything. It just looks, obviously, fair.

"You'd be lying if you said you enjoyed hitting at Citi Field," he added. "I don't think anybody would say they enjoyed hitting in such a pitchers' ballpark. 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."

It's not just Wright, though. What about Jason Bay, for example?

Since signing with the Mets as a free agent, Bay has fallen apart. He hit 36 home runs with 119 RBI and a .921 OPS for the Red Sox in 2009. For the Mets he has 18 home runs, 104 RBI and a .723 OPS in 218 games.

Obviously the move will alter the ballpark and benefit opposing hitters as well -- not to mention that there are other factors at play for the likes of Bay and Wright -- but I've got to believe this helps the psyche of the Mets' position players. It would be awfully hard to play in a park where fly balls go to die for 81 games a season. Just ask the Padres.

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Comments

Since: Apr 23, 2008
Posted on: November 7, 2011 1:13 pm
 

Mets bringing in, lowering Citi Field wall

@DBOWMAN: I agree with the substance of your post that the team that plays one half their schedule in a certain venue should adapt to that.  Just like in golf, if the course has a lot of dog legs you have to be able to put your drive away in favor of a club that won't send the ball through the fairway.  You adapt.

However the problem the Mets have is that their two most expensive and potentially important position players, Bay and Wright, are getting killed in the current config at Citi and they have no trade value at this moment.  While this certainly seems like a knee-jerk reaction by the Mets, it might also be the most practical move they can make.



Since: Oct 20, 2006
Posted on: October 31, 2011 8:03 pm
 

Mets bringing in, lowering Citi Field wall

Moving the fences in will expose the fact that the Mets starting pitching is mediocre at Best

Here are last season's road era's   Pelfrey 5.49, Niese 5.33, Caouano 5.42 Gee 5.74

Once these pitchers lose the benefit of pitching 1/2 of their games in a pitcher's park, their careers will spiral downward.

 



Since: Jan 2, 2010
Posted on: October 31, 2011 7:38 pm
 

Mets bringing in, lowering Citi Field wall

The fenes are still too far back at the foul poles. most parks are the league minimum 325'. the Mets are at 330'-335'. That's the difference between warning track power and home run power.  Then... if you add in the tweaks this would work. Anyone that saw the design of this park knew it would lack home run power.



Since: Jan 2, 2007
Posted on: October 31, 2011 6:35 pm
 

Mets bringing in, lowering Citi Field wall

Mo, don't think I was suggesting somebody go back to playing Whitey Herzog's game.  That wasn't what I had in mind for the Mets.  However, I think it could be done if the right mix of players came together.  Very few teams have that mentality anymore about actually producing runs by tearing up the basepaths.  It would take just the right mix, but it is likely a thing of the past.



Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: October 31, 2011 6:01 pm
 

Mets bringing in, lowering Citi Field wall

I watch a lot of baseball in St.Louis & elsewhere & have for many years. No team can do the Whiteyball thing anymore for several reasons.
1. Pitchers & Managers now spend an enormous amount of time preventing stolen bases, including adinfinitum throws to 1B to take the jump out of legs, constantly stepping off the rubber, etc., etc.. Boring as hell !
2. Umpires call a large percentage of players stealing 2B out when they are safe. They always have the runner between themselves & the bag. More mistakes are made here than anywhere else on the field & 90% of the mistakes are OUT calls not SAFE ones.
3. Astroturf is mostly gone, that was the biggest home field advantage in Whiteyball.
4. Balks are almost never called on the pitchers. They get away with murder, especially the LHer's. Maybe the unpires are reacting against all the time wasting tactics above.



Since: Apr 22, 2009
Posted on: October 31, 2011 4:25 pm
 

Mets bringing in, lowering Citi Field wall

The CITI field is because of CITI ryhmes with __________ and that is what the METS are _____________.  Move the fence in and drop them, WILL not matter because the METS are_________________.  The ___________ Field.



Since: Dec 27, 2007
Posted on: October 31, 2011 3:12 pm
 

Mets bringing in, lowering Citi Field wall

They need to adapt their roster to the ballpark they play in because it will give them an extreme advantage at home and their style of play would translate to any other ballpark in the Majors
 They are. Odds are Reyes is gone, so the additional 25 feet in right-center won't be needed for his triples. Bay and Wright will both benefit especially Wright whose power is to right-center. The Mets also have Davis returning and Duda has power. In the minors the Mets have Cory Vaughn, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Wilmer Flores and Reese Havens who they all envision to be power hitters on some level.

They wouldn't have an advantage @ home next year because their rotation will be at best pedestrian and Reyes is probably not returning. They're hoping to be a more dynamic offensive team(aka power-ladened) which would not only translate to more wins, but importantly fannies in those empty seats.


the Mets should have a contact-hitting lineup that strives for higher OBP
They have one already. They were second in the NL in OBP. They're hoping by lowering the fences those players won't be stranded on base, but will be jogging home. So it does actually make sense to lower and bring in the fences.


Even with the reduction in RCF, LF and the MoZone, this is a very fair park. When Harvey, Wheeler and Familia are throwing 95+ in
2013 or so, they're not pitching in a band box. The park was poorly conceived by its architect Jeff Wilpon. Need I say more about that guy?

IMO, this is yet another wise decision  by Sandy Alderson who actually thinks things through before acting.




Since: Dec 27, 2007
Posted on: October 31, 2011 3:00 pm
 

Mets bringing in, lowering Citi Field wall

Moving the outfield walls in to make Citi Field more hitter-friendly has been discussed pretty much since the ballpark opened and started sucking the power from the ' lineup. Whether it was among fans, sports talk radio or people who actual have decision-making power, the dearth of home runs has long been a subject when it comes to how Citi Field plays. And it's all about to change

They're going to reduce right center to 390 feet from 415 feet. They're eliminating the Mo Zone porch. They're also constructing an
8ft wall in LF in front of the 16 ft wall. Those are all facts, that this thread creator left out.



Since: Jan 2, 2007
Posted on: October 31, 2011 2:47 pm
 

Mets bringing in, lowering Citi Field wall

Big mistake on the part of the Mets.  Ever since Coors Field changed the way teams were constructed I've subscribed to the idea that you change your team to fit your ballpark -- not the other way around.  When the Mets are worried they don't hit for enough power, they're being short-sighted.  They hit for power just fine on the road; they just don't do it as Citi Field.  So what!  They need to adapt their roster to the ballpark they play in because it will give them an extreme advantage at home and their style of play would translate to any other ballpark in the Majors.

With the fences where they are now, the Mets should have a contact-hitting lineup that strives for higher OBP -- not slugging numbers.  Their pitching staff should be stronger at home than they are on the road (which they are).  On the other hand, if the Mets change their ballpark to fit their roster as it's constituted now, they give up any home field advantage they might have been able to develop.  Think back to old Busch Stadium and the small ball Whitey Herzog used to play with St. Louis.  They lived on that AstroTurf and could run anybody out of the ballpark.  Nobody else was built to play that way and they used that to their advantage 81 times a year in their home games.  The Mets should be thinking the same way.  It's not often that a home ballpark can give such an advantage to any one team.


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