Along with 2023 ballpark changes already announced, the New York Mets and Detroit Tigers are reportedly looking at bringing in the fences at Citi Field and Comerica Park, respectively, for next season.
Both opened with fairly spacious outfield dimensions in an effort to make each into a pitcher-friendly venue. The Mets have been wiling to tinker with the Citi Field dimensions over the years, moving in the left-field fences in 2012 and the right-field fences in 2015, setting up a 370-foot straightaway right-field fence then.
According to the New York Post, the right-field fence will be moved in from 370 feet by 8 feet, 6 inches, but not for baseball reasons–rather, to add more higher-end seating to the ballpark. There’s already seating in back of the right-field fence, and that area will be expanded with deluxe seating featuring “living-room style seating with personal TVs and menu items patterned after New York’s famous speakeasies.” In this case we’re assuming bar menu, not food menu–the speakeasies concept is trendy in this age of designer/retro cocktails–but we’ll find out next spring if this renovation takes place.
In Detroit, it sounds like the Tigers are farther away from a decision about moving in the fences at Comerica Park. The Tigers, too, have tinkered with the fences at Comerica Park, but nothing since 2003. The dimensions certainly are spacious–398 left center, 420 center, 402 right center–so moving in and perhaps lowering the 11.5-foot-tall fences in right center field would play well with Tigers hitters. (Pitchers, maybe not so much.) There always is a tradeoff when you tinker with the outfield fences, of course, and for every fan boy bemoaning the fact that Javy Baez should have hit more homers at home, there’s a pitching coach already challenged by the fact that the Tigers didn’t have a pitcher on the current roster winning 10 games. The Tigers finished 66-96, but maybe the reason wasn’t that the team didn’t hit enough homers.
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