Smaller Citi Field helped opponents more than Mets
By RONALD BLUM
The Associated Press | September 28,2012
NEW YORK) — Citi Field’s smaller dimensions helped opponents more than the New York Mets.
Of the 46 home runs this year that would not have cleared the old wall, 21 were hit by New York, according to figures compiled by the team.
The Mets erected a new blue fence in front of the old green wall at the 4-year-old ballpark, lowering the height needed for a home run to 8 feet from as much as 16 and cutting the distance from home plate by up to 12 feet.
Home runs increased to 155, up from 130 in 2009, 110 the following year and 108 last season, according to STATS LLC.
But opponents benefited the most. Visiting homers went up to 88, a boost from 81 in 2009, 47 the following season and 58 last year. It was the highest total against the Mets since 91 at Shea Stadium in 2001.
On April 20, rookie Kirk Nieuwenhuis became the first left-handed Mets batter to clear Citi Field’s left-field fence, which had been nicknamed the Great Wall of Flushing under the original dimensions. Nieuwenhuis did it again June 23 and Jordany Valdespin followed on July 20, according to STATS LLC.
“I think it’s a fair park now,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “It’s still a pitchers’ park for me. It’s still a big park. There’s a lot of room in that outfield. But I think the changes in the dimensions certainly lifted the confidence of a lot of guys in our lineup.”
New York was 36-45 at home with 287 runs, its lowest total since finishing with 235 at Shea in 1994.
Citi Field began Thursday 19th among the 30 big league ballparks in home runs per game at 1.89. Yankee Stadium led at 2.83 and San Francisco’s AT&T Park was last at 1.01.
“I think that it’s made the park obviously a little more fair,” Wright said. “Hopefully we can continue to build on that.”
And the new dimension created opportunities for spectacular leaping catches, like the one Pittsburgh right fielder Travis Snider made against Mike Baxter on Thursday.