Coutinho: Moving In Fences At Citi Field Is The Wright Thing To Do

By Rich Coutinho
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Over the past few seasons, I’ve gotten to know David Wright very well. He is as politically correct as they come — and sometimes that’s quite a chore when you consider this is New York. The media corps here sure does love to kick someone when they are down.

But he has never complained about the spacious power alleys at Citi Field.

For a guy who is more of a gap hitter than a down-the-line hitter, an offensive threat who thrived in the right-center field gap at Shea Stadium, I would imagine Wright is thrilled to hear the Mets are moving in some of the fences at Citi Field.

I had the chance to talk to David about it late last year and he was hopeful some adjustments would be made.

“My feeling is you cannot worry about things you can’t control,” said Wright, “but it is disheartening to hit the heck out of the ball and see it hit off that high wall in left center. But it is the same dimensions for everyone so you have to keep plugging away.”

He was right, but the difference between Mets players and everyone else is they had to play in these dimensions 81 times — while at best, a divisional opponent played here 10 times. For guys like Wright and Jason Bay, these new dimensions could mean five to 1o more homers per season. More importantly, it could mean the difference between a two-run inning and a five-run frame.

Even Ike Davis, whose power has trumped Citi’s big dimensions, will benefit from a shorter fence in right field.

“I generally do not get caught up in park talk,” said Davis. “But I think it hurts some guys. Remember though, we also benefited from it when the other team was at the plate.”

And that is important to consider here as well. Shortening the dimensions may make it easier for opponents, especially guys like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Brian McCann, whose power swings will play well in a smaller park.

But to me, that’s a risk that must be taken because of one simple fact: it will be easier to attract great hitters to Flushing if the ballpark dimensions are fair.

Players talk to other players. I firmly believe most major leaguers knew the Mets were spooked by this park. If for no other reason than they were spooked by it as well. I remember Alex Rodriguez looking out at a screaming line drive he hit to left-center and appearing shocked when it did not leave the yard. And so the baseball world knew what a player would be up against offensively if he came to call Citi Field home.

Will it affect pitchers on the Mets? My thought here is a simple one: these changes will not make Citi Field a launching pad — they will merely make the dimensions fair and equitable. And the Mets are trying to build an array of good young pitching. We’re talking talented arms that will be able to pitch in any ballpark.

Remember the old adage, “good pitching stops good hitting,” is not “good pitching stops good hitting only in big ballparks.” I always thought Shea Stadium was about as fair a stadium as there was in the National League, both in height of the fences and the distance from home plate.

David Wright thrived in that atmosphere as a feared opposite-field slugger who, with two strikes on him, became hell-bent to drive the ball the other way.

That is why moving in the fences is the right thing to do.

Or more precisely, the Wright thing to do.

Mets fans: how do you feel about the Citi Field makeover? Be heard in the comments below…

  • chris

    Yo why are yankee fans making comments no one said anything about the yankees stop hating bra. The old yankee stadium was alaunching pad just like this one is. Let the mets do what they want and worry about your own team losers.

    • Dennis

      Chris, you’re calling Yankees fans losers, you’re lame team hasn’t won a title in 25 yrs, so what does that make you?

      I’ll make it easy & tell you. You’re an envious & jealous Mets fan who cries whenever someone mentions the Yankees because you know your loser team could never be compare to a winner like the Yankees & you wish your loser Mets were like them, but could never be.

      You sound like that other idiot Mets fan who posted name Joe.

      Maybe you both are one of the same, and if you’re not, then you two are truly what all Mets fans are, morons cry babies.

  • Marc Weiss

    For over 50 years the Yankees played in a ballpark who’s left center field area was nicnkamed “death valley”. They won a ton of pennants playing there by tailoring their team to the park’s dimensions. Why did the Yankees turn their park into a strength, while the Mutts turn it into a whining point ?

    • joe

      it was also 305 feet down the line. only one part of the field was deep. and moron, go check the article. did any player actually whine about it? no.

      • What a Whiner

        Joe you’re an idiot, if it was 305 down the line, then how can only part of the field be deep?

        Old Yankees Stadium dimensions were,

        Left Field – 318 feet (97 m)
        Left-Center – 399 feet (122 m)
        Center Field – 408 feet (124 m)
        Right-Center – 385 feet (117 m)
        Right Field – 314 feet (96 m)

        There was a reason on why they called Center Field “Deep Valley”, but you knew that right because as a Mets fan you’re so smart & know the Yankees history.

  • ace11

    Coutinho: you once again are a total Jack A**

    Instead of changing the Park

    Change the Players, Moron

    WahHHHHH, can’t hit a HR, WAHHHH

    Mets fans are really something else, and you lead this caravn of idiots

  • Kyle

    If they are going through with this, change the colors of the walls to blue too

    • G$

      Yes I agree, make it more a Mets ballpark. The Giants and Dodgers are still in existance and the Mets are not a replacement team for those teams who just moved to the west coast.
      And just remember, if the Mets are going to benefit from moving the fences in then so is every other team. I hope the media doesn’t go crazy about the number of MORE HRs the Mets actually give up, especially if they aren’t hitting any themselves..

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