Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Centerfield Fence Gets the Axe: Still Hard to Hit Homers at Citifield

According to the Daily News, it looks like some fans have gotten their wish: The Mets are lowering the centerfield fence a CitiField.  Specifically, the move will be to lower the 16 foot-high wall in front of the home run apple to 8 feet.  Essentially making it a straight 8 feet high wall straight accross centerfield.

Alright, while I'm totally on board with this move, I sincerely doubt there this is going to make more than a 5 homer difference all year.  Realistically how many times was that extra 8 foot rectangle in front of the apple hit?  Off the top of my head, I can think of two balls all year that I remember hitting that box.  I guess this is the Mets giving in to pressure to have more homers, without bringing in the fences.

With guys like Luis Castillo and Omir Santos still in the starting line-up for the Mets, the bigger issue here is finding guys in the line-up who can make this move relevant.  Castillo couldn't hit a ball there if he tried, and Santos would be hard pressed to do the same.  Wright's problem is that he drives the right-center field gap, which is really deep, and Bay is a pull-hitter.  So, I really don't see how much this will ACTUALLY increase the number of homers hit there next season.  In fact, I think this will have MUCH less of an affect on the overall team home runs numbers than Reyes returning to the line up will.  More Reyes on base = more fastballs from pitchers not wanting him to run on them = more of a chance to drive the ball.

The Mets line-up was the problem last year, because as Rubin remarks in the article, "visiting teams actually hit two more homers at Citi Field last season than they did at Shea Stadium in '08."  But that also could have been because of weak pitching...

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