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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Changing the distance to the outfield wall: Mets now, who is next?

Somewhere Charlie Finley is smiling.  As I recall Finley, then owner of the Kansas City Athletics (yes, the As, not the Royals) in the 1960s wanted to move his fences during the season depending on what opponent was coming to town.  For the Yankees, Finley wanted to move the fences back to thwart Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris.

Mets Bring In Fences, Again
By TIM ROHANNOV. 18, 2014 The New York Times

The Mets unveiled a new outfield fence on Tuesday that shortens the distances in right-center field ...

All such changes must be approved by Major League Baseball, though there is no limit to how often a team can ask to alter its park’s dimensions. Teams must submit a diagram of the proposed changes, and in many cases a league official conducts a site inspection...

John Dewan, a founder of Baseball Info Solutions, said teams should check the analytics of their home parks regularly. He said he envisioned a future in which clubs changed their fences about once every 10 years to accommodate their evolving rosters.


Try that in the NFL or NBA. Let's see the Giants change the dimensions of their home field or the Knicks alter the distance of the three point line in some spots. What the heck is it about baseball that makes us so stupid that we accept such nonsense?

In 2014 new Met right fielder Curtis Granderson, who for the Yankees had played center and hit over 40 homers in 2011 and 2012, had 282 at bats (AB) both home and road with 7 homers at home and 13 on the road. The Mets hired fired Yankee batting coach Kevin Long to help Granderson regain his home run prowess.

Curtis Granderson: home run rate Detroit v. New York. Friday, December 6, 2013

Curtis Granderson took advantage of playing his home games in Yankee Stadium to hit more home runs.

But Granderson will be 34 years old in 2015 and he will be joined by Micheal Cuddyer (36 in 2015). They will flank 2014 Gold Glove center fielder Juan Lagares. That means less ground for the old corner OF to cover but it also means less value from the good fielding but light hitting Lagares. The Mets might as well get a CF who can hit but might cover less ground. No mention of that either from the Mets or the writers of the articles I've read.

Plus, Matt Harvey will return after missing all of 2014 to lead the starting pitchers. Maybe he'd rather have the fences returned to their original 2009 distances.

The point is not whether the Mets made a good decision for themselves. The point is the absurdity of non-uniform playing areas. I know, that's the way it's been since pre-historic times but it does not make sense and, more fundamentally, it's not fair. It undermines the integrity of the game. Bud Selig, what do you think?

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