Last month we brought you the story of New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson being open to the idea of making changes to Citi Field in an attempt to make it more hitter friendly. At the time we didn’t know if any changes to the ballpark that, according to statistical data provided by Alderson, was among the worst in baseball in terms of home runs being hit would actually take place. During a press conference today the team announced that changes will be made to the stadium’s dimensions.
The distance to the right-center field power alley will be reduced from 415 feet to 398 feet and the distance to right field will become a uniform 375 feet, eliminating a notch in the wall. It will continue to be 335 feet down the left-field line and 330 feet down the line in right field.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said the large dimensions had become a mental drag on the team’s hitters who struggled in the power department for 81 games each season.
Alderson said a study concluded that the Mets would have hit 70 additional homers during the first three seasons at Citi Field — their opponents 60 more.
The changes will begin in November and are expected to be finished in about six weeks.
The Mets finished last year 11th in the NL in team ERA at home (3.89) and were 12th in home runs surrendered at home (58). Both numbers would figure to increase a bit next season, even with a (hopefully) healthy Johan Santana in the rotation. As far as hitting goes New York doesn’t have many home run hitters in the lineup, outside of David Wright and Jason Bay, so the benefit may be marginal. Carlos Beltran led the Mets in home runs last year with 15 (9 at home) but he was traded to the Giants in July. David Wright was second with 14 (5 at Citi Field) and Jason Bay had 12 (6 at home).
Fans like to see home runs, which could mean better attendance than the 30,108 the team averaged at home last season. The Mets’ financial problems were well documented and Alderson mentioned last month that providing entertainment did play a part in the considerations. Hopefully New York will benefit more from the changes than their opponents and they will result in a few more W’s. Atleast one Mets player is happy about the idea of alterations to Citi Field.
“I don’t know if relief is the right word,” (David) Wright said. “I think it’s a great idea. I think when you go play in a park, you’d like for it to be fair. So I’m excited that’s going to happen.”