Last night was the first chance for most fans to catch a glimpse of Safeco Field’s new dimensions, though it appears to be just more of the same. The M’s pitched a shutout and failed to hit a home run of their own. Time will tell if moving the fences will play into the Mariners plan as they beefed up their offense this winter. I’m sure hosting the Astros has something to do with the lack of runs, but that’s just me.
The San Diego Pardres play in an even more “extreme” ballpark than the Mariners, and they take their new yard out for a spin this afternoon when they host the Dodgers at new look Petco.
In very similar pieces on each respective MLB.com site, players on both teams pointed to the psychological effect of playing in a more “neutral” stadium. If the players think it plays more fair, then it must, right?
Additionally, both pieces not the real problem with scoring runs in Seattle and San Diego: the air is damp and heavy. No amount of fence moving can combat those atmospheric effects, they can simply try to minimize them.
On top of playing very pitcher friendly, these are two of the most visually appealing parks in the game. Messing with them is something the teams did not take lightly. Just as the Padres were somewhat reluctant to toss out the old dimensions, as it housed four straight winning seasons and two straight division titles.
The Padres found a way to make Petco work, just as they’ll find a way to make the new dimensions work as well. The key? Talent. Get good players and they’ll play well, big ballpark small park or whatever. Pitchers might like the effect on their ERA but they count wins all the same. Old Petco Park is dead. Long live Petco Park.