The Rangers, Cubs and Rays all play with what Fox Sports’ Gerry Fraley might call a home field disadvatage, but the former Milwaukee scribe saves his harshest criticism for the Amazins’ new home, writing “only the dysfunctional Mets could turn the opening season for a ballpark into a summer-long disaster.”
It’s no wonder center fielder Carlos Beltran (above, right) broke down. Center field is ridiculously large. Beltran is cool to the idea of returning to center next season, which creates another need.
With high walls and long distances, Citi Field crushes hitters’ spirits. Entering Wednesday’s play, the Mets had only 46 homers for 70 home games, and no players had more than five homers at home.
The park forced third baseman David Wright to change his swing, and he has gone from averaging 29 homers over the last four seasons to eight homers this season.
Without the home run, the Mets struggle to rally at home. They began Wednesday’s play with 15 comeback victories at home this season, but the deficit was only one or two runs in 13 of the wins. The Mets were 2-27 for home games in which they trailed by three or more runs with at least one inning remaining.
The Mets need a flurry of hits to get multiple runs. By comparison, division-leading Philadelphia can accomplish the same thing in its scaled-down park. The Phillies have six wins when trailing by three or more runs with at least one inning remaining.
Ownership is unwilling to change the layout, because that would be both expensive and amount to admitting a mistake.
This is the first I’ve read of Beltran hoping to play another position in 2010 ; if I’ve simply missed such a quotation, wouldn’t it make sense for Carlos B. to experiment with left-field in the otherwise meaningless September ’09 games rather than risk further injury patrolling Citi’s spacious CF?