Mets to shrink home ground

2011-11-01 11:49

New York -The New York Mets will reconfigure their outfield fences next season in a bid to boost offense at their 3-year-old Citi Field ballpark.

The Mets said Monday that not only will they bring the walls in by as many as 12 feet (3.6m), they will lower the height of the home run-defining barriers to eight feet (2.4m).

"We're targeting to try to fit in, to be more normal or more on average with everybody," Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said of the changes, which will allow for some 100 new seats in left field.

In left field the new fence - blue with an orange line at the top - will be erected in front of the current imposing 16-foot black fence dubbed "The Great Wall of Flushing".

"You just keep looking at that thing, and that left-field wall kept getting higher and higher," general manager Sandy Alderson said of the current wall's intimidating effect.

Mets slugger David Wright hit .279 at home with 22 homers, 103 RBIs and 179 strikeouts in the club's first three seasons at Citi Field, down from a .335 average at home with 37 homers, 118 RBIs and 105 strikeouts in their final three years at Shea Stadium.

Alderson said the move isn't intended to benefit Wright or any other Mets player specifically.

"It's really about having a more neutral ballpark and maybe to even some extent, given that I think offense is exciting for many fans, maybe it will be slightly more entertaining," Alderson said.

Alderson said that Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen thinks the change could also benefit the team's pitching staff.

"His point was maybe our pitchers got a little complacent here and it had an effect on the road as well," Alderson said, "so he felt that these dimensions, that they were fair, would force our guys to maybe bear down a little more here than they have."

The Mets won't be the first team to move the walls in a new-ish venue.

The Detroit Tigers brought in their fences at the three-year-old Comerica Park in 2003.