Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Modified Citi Field Will Benefit Much More Than The Current Roster

Photo Courtesy of Michael Baron
I suppose its true that when things aren't going well, people will find a reason to complain.  For some reason there has been much debate over the Mets' decision to alter the dimensions of Citi Field.  A change no doubt fostered by Sandy Alderson himself, the new configuration will provide more of a balance to the once pitcher-friendly environment.  At first glance, one might think that Alderson hopes this change will bring with it increased production from several core players.  While I would argue that this is correct, I think it is far from the only reason to make the change.

Lets be fair, its foolish to think that the struggles of David Wright and Jason Bay didn't have something to do with this.  While the shortened, lowered walls won't double their home run totals, it will make a difference.  What it may also do is ease the minds of these two sluggers who have become overwhelmed with the thought of hitting at Citi Field.  If each can regain the natural swing, not only will it help the team in the short term, but it may go a long way restoring their values on the trade market.  These, however, are not the only or even most important benefits of these new dimensions.

From the standpoint of a general manager, this change makes too much sense.  After a third consecutive losing season, and five since making a playoff appearance, Mets fans are itching for change.  With the future of Jose Reyes hanging in the balance and ownership seemingly devoid of major funds, altering the walls not only has the potential to help the team on the cheap, but it may also appease a wide range of fans who've been unhappy with the ballpark since it opened.  Is this earth shattering?  No...but anything that improves fan morale is a benefit.

Most importantly, at least in my opinion, is that this change has the power to help the New York Mets for years to come.  With the organization's farm system in disrepair, the front office will eventually need to, at least in part, look to free agency in order to build a contender.  If Citi Field maintains a reputation as being unfair to hitters, it may deter sluggers from signing in Queens.  If altering the field dimensions can turn the Mets' home field into a fair park from both a hitting and pitching stand point, this is one obstacle that might be avoided.  Let us not forget, it may also aid in the retention of current players (David Wright) as well.

Now, I understand that these changes won't come without consequences.  The Mets pitching staff was suspect last season.  Making Citi Field a more hitter friendly ball park certainly won't help their plight, but I think we're all in agreement that the Mets are going to win a World Series with this current group.  Ultimately, I think this is a minor decision that should help the team long term.  I personally don't foresee the team winning anything prior to the arrival and maturity of the Zack Wheeler and Matt Harveys of the world.  Its for that I focus on the positives rather than the negatives.  Ballpark alterations will not solely lead the Mets to the post season...but it certainly can't hurt.

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