Let’s REALLY Bring Those Fences In by Tom Brennan

Are the field dimensions at Citifield too deep?  Is the Grand Canyon just a small crack in the ground? Sarah Palin was asked about Citi dimensions being too deep and she answered with a resounding “YOU BETCHA!”

Anyway, as noted in Wikipedia:

During its first three seasons, the large field dimensions caused Citi Field to play as an extreme "pitcher's park", and home-runs at the stadium were among the fewest in the Major Leagues. Mets' general manager Sandy Alderson changed Citi Field's dimensions in time for the 2012 MLB season in order to make it more friendly to hitters.[20] Changes include building an 8 feet (2.4 m) wall in front of the high 16 feet (4.9 m) wall in left field that many had dubbed the "Great Wall of Flushing", removing the nook in the "Mo's Zone" in right field, and reducing the distance in right center field from (a ridiculous) 415 feet from home plate to (a still too deep) 398 feet.  (Brennan commentary)

So, all in all, the first cut of dimensions for this park was simply poor decision making, for two reasons. First, the sheer depth damaged the hitters.  Don’t believe me, just as Jeff Francoeur or Jason Bay.  One of my favorite recollections back then was in a subway series game, A Rod crushed a ball to the left of dead center.  It caught the top end of the Great Wall of Flushing and ricocheted into play for a ground double.  The camera panned to A Rod who was laughing and shaking his head in disbelief, surely thinking “I hit the ball THAT hard and THAT far and it was just a double.  Thank God I don’t play here!”  Murphy led the team that year with 12 homers in 508 at bats, and Wright had 10 in 535 at bats.  Excruciating.  Fans stayed home and played tiddlywinks for fun.

I finally got fed up wrote a letter to Met ownership (I think late in 2010) indicating that if Jimmy McMillan (who ran for Governor in 2010 indicating the “rent is too d--n high”) were to be asked his opinion about the original Citi fence dimensions, he’d have said they were “too d—n high and too d—n deep.”  I strongly urged changes as a REVENUE INCREASING common sense move.  I also said that they were killing any chances a hometown hero with a real shot at the Hall of Fame being denied that shot by their moving from pitcher-friendly Shea to ridiculously hitter-unfriendly Citi.  Did they read it?  Dunno.  But they did change them. 

When I heard, after the 2011 season, that they were bringing the fences in, I was elated.  When I heard what they were bringing them in to, I was deflated.  They just did not get it!  I wrote them again.  But 2012, 2013, and 2014 had to be suffered through to get them to again realize it is not smart to neutralize the hero’s power (Wright) or to invest 4 years and $60MM in power hitters and have them hit long fly ball outs (Bay, Granderson).

So now they get another chance.  Before making that decision to again move the fences in, one must realize that THIS is the time to get it right – move them in for good, so do it right.

So how are the shorter dimensions of 2012, 2013, and 2014 treating our boys? Do they, like the rest of baseball, hit somewhat better at home than on the road.  NO!!!!!  In fact, the home results, as compared to the road results, are miserable, as seen in the table below, which shows their rank amongst the majors’ 30 teams. 

Obvious solution conclusions?  1) Move the fences in again. 2) Move them in a LOT!


Note: 2014 thru September 10, 2014.

Those are staggering differentials.  They have scored 225 less runs at home over the past 3 years (almost a run per game!), while the league on average scores more at home.  They hit on average 25 points lower…and average about 10 less homers per year at home than on the road.

I attribute 3 reasons: a) depth of fences b) ball does not carry well many games during the year c) field dimensions and poor ball carry gets in the hitters’ heads.

Solution?  Move the fences in – a lot – more doubles, more homers, more hitting confidence, more fan fun.

Here are my suggestions to do it right.  Met management, please read!

Field size
Brennan Proposal
Shorter By
Left field
Left center
Deep left center
Center field
Deep right center
Right center
Right field
335 feet
358 feet
385 feet
408 feet
398 feet
375 feet
330 feet
325 feet
358 feet
378 feet
400 feet
378 feet
358 feet
325 feet
10 feet
0 feet
7 feet
8 feet
20 feet
17 feet
5 feet
I think, because of the fact that the ball does not carry well, that these are not “bandbox” dimensions, but merely slightly hitter friendly ones.  Be fair to your hitters.

And…the pitchers will be hurt by this, but they will 1) adjust and 2) win more games, so why complain?


I have to add this – I seems to be more exorcised over this than David Wright.  David, please be the Captain and speak up.  It’s your career, and these dimensions have hurt you and the team.   We want the team to hit, including you, and hope you’ll get the Hall of Fame.  We want the team to win and this will help.

If you speak up loudly, assuming you have not done so previously, it years late in coming, but there may still be time to boost your #’s.

I speak as a life-long since 1962 Met fan who is sick and tired of seeing the Yanks hit so many more homers than the Mets almost every year, and who is sick of anemic club hitting records like 41 homers in a season.  Bring the fences in RIGHT and let Duda take a crack at that record next year!

Any out there agree? But before you answer, let's get some expert testimony from a NY Post article on Sept. 14 about the resurgent Chris Young that of course reverted to a discussion of Citifield's excessive dimensions:

Collins believes Young’s revival was certainly sparked by a change of scenery, but also from the new ballpark that has come with his new team. Young has played six of his seven games with the Yankees in The Bronx’s friendlier dimensions.

“It’s a little different hitting here,” Collins said of Citi Field. “I don’t think there’s any question about it. I think it’s a fair park (ahh, the diplomat in Terry), [but] I think you got to hit them here … sometimes balls just don’t carry here. We see it every single day. It’s a tough place to hit.”  Oh, I see....fair...but tough.  Gotcha.

Though the dimensions of the field have been altered twice in the stadium’s six-year history, general manager Sandy Alderson said this week the team is considering bringing in the fences in right-center field.

Collins said it isn’t a coincidence so many of the team’s most high-profile hitters have experienced subpar seasons playing half their games at Citi Field.

“I think it’s psychological,” Collins said. “You hit a ball and you think you got it and they run back and catch it. It’s just part of the park here.”

“It affected Jason Bay immensely, it’s affected David [Wright] some, it’s affected [Curtis Granderson] some, it’s going to affect Chris Young.”  But it's "fair", right, Terry? Gotcha.


Reese Kaplan said...

Far be it from me to defend "Coach" but the dimensions of the field are not within his purview to fix.

Who is in the lineup, where they bat, who is pitching, how many times they warm up, how overworked they are, etc...there are plenty of reasons to criticize the man.

bob gregory said...


You could not have said it any better.

The Mets have to finally make a wise decision here.

Good pitchers will do just fine. The purpose is to win games.
The fact that hitting relies so much on confidence, had been ignored in Citifield

Steve from Norfolk said...


When you move a fence, you don't mess around! I thought I was being radical wanting to recreate Shea's dimensions (which would have actually have been 2 feet deeper in deep center), but yours are a decent amount shallower than Shea's were. Shoot, they're a touch shallower than Citizens Bank Park, which I always considered a bandbox.

Not having been able to get up to NYC and see a game at Citi for myself , what makes Citi deader than Shea, in your opinion? Is it because the field is more enclosed, or the difference in the orientation of the field, or something else?

I agree with you all the way. We have a good enough pitching staff to control the opposition. Your dimensions should add as much as 10 HR's to Wright's numbers (if he's healthy)and could even pull Grandy out of his power vacuum.

The only other thing we can do is run an offense similar to the 85 Cardinals, and get a manager who knows how to run that kind of team. I think there's a guy out West somewhere, running some AAA team, Reno or maybe it's Vegas - I forget. Maybe he'll visit NYC someday soon and Sandy can talk to him.

More power to your ideas - this team needs some creative thinking right about now. Time to make the jump from rebuilding to winning.

Thomas Brennan said...

Hey Steve from Norfolk

As far as the balls' lack of carry, I hope the Mets have studied which days and times of year the ball has not carried, and set dimensions with that reality in mind. In my article, Collins notes that the ball sometimes does not carry. I've watched and seen balls that don't carry. Howie Rose has frequently referred to balls that due to conditions did not carry.

Suffice it to say, "carry" in Citi is likely worse than many other parks. So fence depth robs Mets of more homers than another park located elsewhere would.

I appreciate your reference to the 1985 Cards. They were in an even bigger park, and built a highly competent squad with great defensive and speed characteristics. The park was clearly to their advantage over opponents. Of course they also had a bullpen that thru the entire 1985 season did not blow a SINGLE GAME like the one we lost last night. And had the miraculous John Tudor. Hence why the Mets won 98 that year and missed the playoffs.

But I think a team with great speed, great defense, excellent pitching and strong hitting (even if not for power) is a very hard model to replicate.

Steve from Norfolk said...


That was meant as kind of a "Yeah, right!" kind of thing. We'd need to add a few more speedsters whit high OBP, definitely get a new SS, although DD would fit well in that kind of team, which saves us from getting another LF. Nieuwenhuis would have to keep his strikeouts down, and I don't know if Grandy even fits = he's not as fast as he used to be. Wright could handle it, butI don't think Murph could handle the defense.But, we are closer to the 86 Mets than most people realize. we just haven't made the analogue of the Hernandez and Carter trades yet. That's where I wonder if Sandy's going to drop the ball - getting tunnel vision on the pitching and not making the trade or two we need. Plus, how do we break through the security on Fred's wallet and get him to open it enough to pay one or two more good players. They are making a classic mistake - they're not learning from history.

Thomas Brennan said...

If the hierarchy does make a "classic mistake" this winter, it might be because they can't see the forest for the fences!

Sometimes, fence depth doesn't matter. I saw Kingman's homer on You Tube the other day, the ome where he was a Cub in a Wrigley game with the wind blowing out in a gale and 48 runs scored. His homer cleared the fence...the bleachers...the street...and landed 3 houses down. He got all of it, so did the wind, and my guess is it went 600 feet. The stuff memories are made of!

Thomas Brennan said...

One places the fences weren't too deep was the ballfield at St Gregs in Bellerose, Queens where I grew up. I was enamored with Willie Stargell and his blasts over the right field roof in Forbes Field.

Brother Bob would pitch to this 13 year old lefty and I would pull the ball down the right field line and onto the roof there a la Stargell. Only difference? 175 feet to reach the school! I still could dream when I did it though...worth losing the baseballs just to hit them up there. Love the homer, move the fences in, let the boys hit more of them.

Mack's Mets © 2012