As it is a piece of Padres news, the recent announcement of the Friars decision to mercifully bring in the walls at Petco Park was greeted with a kind of resigned “about time” shrugging. The most conspicuously pitcher-friendly ballpark in the league gets a long-awaited facelift, bringing in its far-flung outfield fences in to provide a more competitive distance. As opposed to the slight tweaking after the inaugural season in 2004, this is a complete overhaul of the Petco outfield.

The fences will move as many as twenty feet in some sections, as Gaslamp Ball detailed when the news broke in October. Wasting no time, the Padres already set to work on making their beautiful home a treat for both ticket holders and batters alike.

The legend of San Diego’s spacious confines and Marine Layer of cool, damp air hasn’t exactly endeared it to hitters tasked with going deep in San Diego. A frequent and somewhat vocal victim of Petco’s distant fences is Chase Headley. Though he managed to clout 31 total homers in 2012 (13 at home) we see from his hit chart a numbers of balls brought back into play by Petco’s notorious dimensions.

Courtesy of Fox Sports

Reports surfaced earlier this season of the ongoing debate over the size of Petco fuelling some clubhouse strife among pitchers and hitters in San Diego, dating back to 2011. Not unlike the situation at the Mets home park Citi Field, concerns about “having to hit it twice” to get the ball out of their home yard might have crept into minds of Padres hitters. Which, to a pitcher suddenly having a career year in San Diego, looks a lot like sour grapes.

While the initial photos, tweeted by Padres president and CEO Tom Garfinkel, make the changes look quite dramatic, it remains to be seen how the new cosy confines actually play. Will the changes be seamless like those made to Comerica Park those many years ago or ham-fisted, like anything ever done by the Mets?

The greatest concern for the Padres front office might be an interruption of their assembly line of passable relievers, crafted from beef jerky and twine found on the waiver wire. Heaven forbid they abandon their “sign any guy capable of throwing 150 innings” development plan that keeps working so well.

Comments (6)

  1. (Chase Headley’s name is never actually mentioned)

  2. I’ve sat in the RF bleachers at PETCO while on a vacation. Looks like the RF crowd will now feel farther way from the action which is a shame because I remember the seats being good value.

    There is also this:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/sportsbusiness/news/story?id=1783769

  3. Was it “ham-fisted” to help families of 9/11 victims and First Responders? I’m curious to know.

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