Ah, what qualifies for a headline in February:
- Broadcaster Gary Cohen may be able to proclaim, "It's outta here!" a little more often in 2010. And David Wright may not be as inclined to frustratingly fling his Great Gazoo helmet, or whatever protective wear he uses, during the upcoming season.
The height of Citi Field's center-field wall will be sliced in half, making the ballpark more homer-friendly, the Daily News has learned.
Last season, the wall measured 16 feet in front of the sparsely used Home Run Apple. Now, with the second level of padding being removed, it will measure eight feet in the middle of the outfield.
Regardless, the Mets' 2009 power outage wasn't exclusively a Citi Field phenomenon. They ranked last in the majors in road homers last season with 46. Pittsburgh had the second-fewest with 50. The Yankees and Phillies, who play in hitter-friendly ballparks, also ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in road homers with 116 and 108, respectively.
Meanwhile, an average of 1.60 homers per game were hit at Citi Field last season, more than at five other NL ballparks - San Diego (1.59), San Francisco (1.59), Los Angeles (1.57), Atlanta (1.52) and St. Louis (1.48).
Consider this a sop, but a welcome sop. No, it's not going to add enough home runs that you'll notice. We're talking about just a small section of a long wall. But a few disgruntled Mets might notice. Or think they notice, which is most of the battle. What we might actually notice is a few stolen homers, as it's a lot easier to snag a big fly that's eight feet, one inch high than one that's 16 feet, one inch. Considering that a stolen homer is one of the two or three most exciting plays in the game, I consider this change more fan-friendly than Met-friendly.
And since I care a lot more about the fans than about the Mets, this is good news indeed on a dark February day.