Ed Ryan earlier this week, Sandy Alderson has indicated that there are changes coming to the expansive outfield of Citi Field. In addition to the elimination of the "Mo Zone", plans are being discussed to not only lower the walls in left, but to also bring them in several feet. I'm in favor of both of these changes and would anticipate that that each will have lasting favorable results for the Mets and their fans.
When I say favorable results, I don't mean that bringing in the walls will lead to more wins. The fact is that both teams have to play on the same field. Therefore, by making Citi Field a more hitter's friendly ball park, the long ball will be more prevalent..for both teams. For the Mets, a franchise lacking traditional power hitters and reliable starting pitching, they may be at a disadvantage..at first!
Bringing in the walls at Citi Field is the right decision because despite the initial risks, it will make playing at Citi Field more appetizing. It doesn't take a set of controversial quotes to know that David Wright isn't happy with the layout of Citi Field. The look on his face when he arrives at second base after hitting a double that would have landed in the 10th row at most other parks is more than enough to know there is a problem here. Its reasonable to think that other players, including potential free agent signings, would be aware of such a problem. Will a decrease in the Citi Field dimensions be the reason for a major free agent signing, absolutely not! However, it will eliminate one potential hurdle for Sandy Alderson going forward.
In addition the potential on-field changes, bringing in the walls at Citi Field will also make for a more fan friendly experience. As ESPN said more than a decade ago: "Chicks dig the long ball!". Home runs sell seats...doubles off the wall do not. Another feature of lower walls that isn't often discussed is the ability for outfielders to make plays on short home runs. Neither the "catch" made by Endy Chavez in the 2006 playoffs or the home run stealing catch by Jason Bay only weeks ago could ever happen at Citi Field as it sits today. Although such plays may only happen a few times each season, such opportunities are exciting, and thats what fans come to see.
The Mets franchise that Sandy Alderson took over nearly a year ago, had more than roster problems. Citi Field, for what its worth, is a state of the art stadium that should be used to showcase the game, not detract from it. This decision, while probably not exclusively his to make, will aid in Sandy's retransformation of the team going forward. For all the discussion of the organization's financial concerns, bringing in the walls will to some extent aid in the acquisition of new talent and ultimately inject more excitement at Citi Field. Each of those will help to put butts in the seats. Hopefully those will lead to wins, and thats why changing the Citi Field dimensions is the right decision to make.
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