Tuesday, September 21, 2010
No dimension changes planned for Citi
By Adam Rubin
The toughest ballpark in which to hit home runs in the National League is not expected to have any dimension changes or altered wall heights for 2011, according to a source familiar with the plans of New York Mets officials.
The source suggested to ESPNNewYork.com that the only way Citi Field alterations would be considered for 2011 is if a new GM is hired that has strong feelings about the subject. The Mets are weighing options including changing the responsibilities of GM Omar Minaya or firing him outright if a new hire for that type of role wants Minaya out.
In Year 2 of Citi Field, there have been 1.34 homers per game between both teams.
According to HitTrackerOnline, that’s comfortably the fewest in the National League. Next up is San Diego’s Petco Park and Florida’s Sun Life stadium at 1.55 homers per game apiece, followed by St. Louis’ Busch Stadium at 1.57 homers per game.
On the high side, Arizona’s Chase Field has surrendered 2.48 homers per game and Milwaukee’s Miller Park 2.46 homers per game.
Including the American League, Citi Field ranks No. 28 in homers per game, ahead of only Seattle’s Safeco Field (1.22) and Oakland’s McAfee Coliseum (1.30).
As is the case throughout baseball, Citi Field homers are down from 2009. In the first year of the ballpark, the teams combined to hit 1.60 homers per game.
Last year, David Wright had a career-low 10 homers -- five at home and five on the road. This year, he has 24 homers, with nine coming at Citi Field.
Jason Bay, who has been out since suffering a whiplash-induced concussion in Los Angeles in late July, saw his home run total plunge as he shifted from cozy Fenway Park to spacious Citi Field.
Bay had 36 homers in 531 at-bats last season, with 15 of the long balls coming at home. This year, he had six homers in 348 at-bats, with three of the long balls coming at home.
After last year’s modest power numbers, the Mets made one small modification, roughly halving the height of the line on the wall in dead center directly in front of the Home Run Apple. That did not result in one extra homer this season, since no balls struck above the new line that would have remained in play in 2009.
According to HitTrackerOnline, Citi Field is the third most spacious ballpark in the majors with 114,600 square feet of fair territory. Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium ranks first at 116,600, followed by Colorado’s Coors Field at 115,600.
The Mets’ former home, Shea Stadium, had 109,300 square feet in play, which would place it 11th had it not been demolished and Citi Field built.
“Fair-territory data doesn't take into account that the fences at Citi Field are so tall, especially in left field,” added HitTrackerOnline founder Greg Rybarczyk. “That just makes it that much harder to get one over those walls.”