After plenty of deliberation, the Detroit Tigers today announced new Comerica Park outfield dimensions for the 2023 MLB season, with adjustments made mostly by lowering the fences and moving in the center-field wall.
The height of the outfield wall in multiple key areas will be lowered, most notably above the out-of-town scoreboard from 13 feet to seven. These will not be huge changes; according to a Ilitch Companies press release, the move of the center-field fence and the lowering of fences will lead to the following:
- Reward hitter outcomes on balls hit to the deepest parts of the park
- Maintain the high number of extra-base hits on balls in play to the gaps, resulting in action on the basepaths
- Lowered wall height encouraging more electric defensive plays like home run robberies
“This has been a topic of conversation for quite some time within our organization,” said Scott Harris, Detroit Tigers President of Baseball Operations, via press release. “We’re confident that this plan accomplishes our goals of improving offensive conditions on the hardest hit balls, while maintaining Comerica Park’s unique dimensions and style of play. These updates come after a great deal of research and feedback from all stakeholders in and around the organization, including our fans, players and front office. The outfield wall changes, combined with new rules from Major League Baseball in place this season, have the potential to create even more excitement and on field action for years to come.”
Interestingly, as part of the process of determining possible changes, the team took more accurate laser measurements of the outfield wall and determined that many measurements were inaccurate. The left-field corner will be re-labeled from 345 to 342, and the center field distance will be reduced 10 feet to 412, as the existing wall was measured at 422.
The new dimensions put Comerica Park more in line with MLB ballparks. The 412-foot center field will stand as the second deepest in baseball behind only Coors Field at 415, while the league average is 402.
The foundation of the entire outfield wall will be reconstructed with material and padding that enhances player safety.
Image courtesy Detroit Tigers.