After discussing the possibility of bringing in the fences at Safeco Field, Mariners manager Eric Wedge wants to walk back from talk about ballpark disadvantages after his team tanks at the plate.
There’s a real danger in bringing up perceived deficiencies in a ballpark: if you begin talking about a new ballpark, the issues with the old ballpark becomes much more apparent; and when you discuss potential changes in the middle of an existing campaign, you run the danger of spooking your players, almost taunting them with a vision of an alternate reality where the fences are closer and warning-track outs are magically transported into the stands.
As you can tell, we’re not huge fans of moving in the fences to stimulate run scoring, and we’re certainly not fans of discussing fence changes in the midst of a season. So we’re of the opinion Seattle Mariners Eric Wedge is getting what he deserves when he earlier addressed the possibility of moving in the Safeco Field fences: since then his team has suffered at the plate and not showing any home-field advantage. From the Seattle Times:
…[T]the first two-thirds of his post-game media session was dominated more or less by a long commentary from him about the state of all things Safeco Field.
“We’ll get it,” he said. “They’re good hitters. I think they’re trying to do a little too much here at home. But like I said to everybody early on, regardless of where you’re playing, or what the temperature is, at home or away, you’ve still got to go up there and put up the type of ABs and do the things situationally that you need to do to score runs.
“These guys don’t make any excuses. They’re very accountable for what they do. Amd they’re very aware of what’s happened, so that’s half the battle. So now, it’s just about myself and all of these coaches helping these guys get over this hump at home…offensively.”
The danger: the Mariners could let the season slip away very easily in the weeks leading up to the All-Star Game. The Mariners are 10 games below .500 (27-37), 10.5 games out in the mediocre American League West but just can’t win at home: the M’s are a competitive 17-20 on the road and a miserable 10-17 at home. Safeco Field helped make Paul Abbott a 17-game winner in 2001 — when the team notched 116 wins — and certainly presented a formidably home-field advantage for the Mariners. Building some momentum is key this time of year, but a team shut down by journeyman Jason Marquis probably gets what it deserves — and by bringing up the spacious dimensions of Safeco Field, so does Wedge.
RELATED STORIES: Wedge: Let’s look at moving in Safeco Field fences; Marlins: No plans to move in ballpark fences; 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
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