The rumours of changes the dimensions of Citi Field first surfaced in late September, when Getting Blanked wondered aloud if any of these changes would make any kind of difference.
At that time I stated my belief that environmental factors impacted the play at Citi much more than the proximity of the fence. Welp, guess what: they’re changing Citi Field anyway.
The Mets are building new walls and creating new opportunities for well-heeled Long Islanders to throw cash around “exclusive” new eateries and fancy seats. The New York Times has the details, including the sad end of the supposedly signature high wall in left field.
For the 2012 season, new walls will be constructed in three areas of the outfield to substantially diminish the outfield’s overly large dimensions. Most notable, the imposing 16-foot wall in left field, often called the Great Wall of Flushing, will now have a new eight-foot wall in front of it, with several rows of seats to fill in the gap between the two structures.
The Mets (repeatedly) liken some of the ballpark changes to Fenway Park and, based on some of the changes, you can see why. Observe the proposed venues for drink-quaffing and Shake Shack-sharing.
The Mets swear up and down the new dimensions for Citi Field are not a knee-jerk reaction to a down year for a high-priced club. Nor do the Mets insist these changes are intended to mask personnel decisions made by the baseball operations staff. Yet here we are, apparently appeasing David Wright.
The new wall in right-center field, located in what many people consider to be a sweet spot for Wright, will be as much as 17 feet closer than the existing one. The old distance of 415 feet was considered particularly cumbersome for Wright and was recently singled out by Atlanta’s Chipper Jones as having hindered his Mets counterpart.
Chipper Jones, who famously named his daughter Shea because
he lives to troll Mets fans extra, superduper hard of his long history of success at the Mets old home, is surely out for David Wright’s best interests. Wright copped to making changes to his game as a result of Citi Field’s vast dimensions — 415 feet to the power alley is a long-ass way — so, just maybe, there is something to this. The Tigers brought the fences in on their re-imagining of Tiger Stadium and nobody seems too upset at the evolution of Comerica Park.
“I think cutting down the space in the outfield will help improve the defense, which in turn should help the pitching,” Bay said.
Right you are, Mr. Bay. A new, smaller ballpark will help you and your leaden-footed friends turn many triples into doubles. At least you’ll be 17 feet closer to the infield when you pick that ball off the warning track. That is good for business, no doubt.