Though the craze seems to be for MLB teams to move in their fences, Miami Marlins management say they see no need to change the dimensions at newly opened Marlins Park.
Over the last 20 years most new ballparks have opened with some fairly spacious outfield dimensions. The thinking was straightforward: fair dimensions mean fair games, giving pitchers a fighting chance during an era when good pitching is hard to find and keep. Give a high-profile free-agent pitcher a choice between pitching in a hitter-friendly park and a pitcher-friendly park, and the pitcher-friendly park will win every time.
So while a pitcher-friendly park may play well with front offices and pitchers, it may not play well with home-run hitters and fans who prefer a 10-9 slugfest versus a 2-1 pitchers’ duel. It’s all about drawing crowds in Major League Baseball.
This season the New York Mets pulled in the fences at Citi Field after batters complained about the spacious power alleys and outfielders complained about the asymmetric dimensions. They’re not alone: both the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies pulled in the fences after their new ballparks opened. The San Diego Padres are looking at pulling in the fences at Petco Park, and the Minnesota Twins are ignoring calls to pull in the fences at Target Field. (Closed circuit to Jason Kubel, a critic of the Target Field fences: your three home runs this season for the Diamondbacks isn’t exactly setting the National League on fire. Maybe the ballpark wasn’t totally to blame.)
The debate is now turning to Florida, where the Miami Marlins front office is already being lobbied to move in the fences at Marlins Park, which is proving to be a very pitcher-friendly facility thanks to some spacious power alleys. Marlins President David Samson says there are no plans to move them in: “Here’s how we built it: We want it to be pitcher-friendly, but fair to hitters who get all of it,” Samson said. “No cheapies. If you get it, we want it to go.”
RELATED STORIES: New fences at Citi Field not a factor — yet; Padres looking at moving in Petco Park fences; Mets retooling: closer fences, more hospitality; Twins: We like Target Field fences where they are; It’s official: Mets altering outfield fences for 2012; Mets already reconfiguring Citi Field: report; Mets considering offseason changes to Citi Field
This story first appeared in the free weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter. Are you a subscriber? You can sign up here.
Share your news with the baseball community. Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.