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Oh, Shea Can You See?
2002-11-07 16:14
by Mike Carminati

Oh, Shea Can You See?

The Mets are changing the dimensions of Shea Stadium to bring in the walls to help the Mets' anemic batting. Jeff Wilpon, that proponent of nepotism, had this to say:

"Just because we say we're going to reconfigure doesn't only mean coming in. They could come in and go up." Wilpon said part of the thinking would be to add some "nooks and crannies" to Shea's symmetrical outfield... Teams have combined to average 8.1 runs at Shea this season, 26th among the 30 major league parks.

It all seems perfectly logical, right? Like the Indians moving their walls out to accommodate speedster Alex Cole (remember that?). My friend Mike sent me this information and here's my email back to him:

Actually, there is some rationale for this. The Mets were tied for 12th on the road in runs scored and 26th at home. But will changing the fields dimensions help?

They were tied for 21st in road HRs and 17th at home. So it's not the long ball that causes them trouble (at least not more trouble).

They were 29th in doubles at home and tied for 26th on the road. So it's not that they want to convert doubles off the wall into HRs.

Actually, I see no reason why they scored more runs on the road. The are 23rd in walks at home and on the road. Also,their pitching was 12th in runs allowed at home and on the road, which possibly means this was just an anomaly.

The only thing that I see is that the struck out a tremendous number of times more at home (10th) than on the road (20th). However, I don't think there is something inherent in Shea that causes it since their pitchers are 10th in MLB In K's at home and 10th on the road, too.

One last thing, I checked out the ground outs to fly outs for the Mets pitchers (they don't record it for batters) and I found that the Mets rank 23 at home and 22 on the road in ground outs to fly outs. So it's not that they are getting killed by too much foul territory.

I have no idea why the Mets would score fewer runs at home. Can you think of anything else? I can't imagine how changing the dimension will help. The scores will go up but for both sides. The Mets will now lose 7-5 instead of 5-3. Big deal!?!

To which he replied:

In an era when everyone seems to have a hitter-friendly clone of Camden Yards, I find it refreshing that we still have some 60s-era anachronisms like Shea Stadium and Dodger Stadium. Plus, there's no good reason for a ballpark located in a parking lot to have nooks and crannies in the outfield fence. At Fenway, where there are streets around the park, quirky dimensions make sense. At a place like Shea (or Arlington) it's just phony.

Evidently, Fred Wilpon needed a project to justify his son's presence on the team. It could be worse: he could have made Jeff GM. Speaking of which as Mike pointed out if they had better players, monkeying with the fences would not be needed.

By the way, the top part of the article is devoted to the Mets' attempt to lure Tom Glavine to New York by prying Leo Mazzone away from Atlanta. Moving the fences in may not be in line with this strategy however.

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