The offensively-challenged Seattle Mariners are said to be mulling changes to the dimensions of Safeco Field, with the park’s power alleys receiving special attention. Lookout Landing’s Jeff Sullivan lands on the side of those favoring the adjustments, writing, “the deep fences presumably haven’t been the problem, as much as talent has been the problem, now people will have to talk about something else.”
It’s been no secret that Safeco Field has been extremely pitcher-friendly from the start. The original batter’s eye in center field didn’t help, and that was taken care of, but if memory serves only Petco Park has been more extremely pitcher-friendly over the last while. It’s fine for variety to exist in the way that different ballparks play, even though when you think about that it’s weird, but there was always the argument that Safeco was too extreme. The Mariners at last agree with the sentiment, after years and years of having the same conversation and settling on inactivity.
It’s obviously way too soon to say how the park’s going to play going forward, but it’s going to be friendlier, if you’re patient with it. Note that you might not really see significant changes in 2013. After last season, the Mets made adjustments to Citi Field in order to make it less pitcher-friendly. In 2011, run scoring was down nine percent in Citi Field, compared to on the road. In 2012, run scoring has been down 13 percent in Citi Field, compared to on the road. The average road Mets game has lost 0.4 runs, but the average home Mets game has lost 0.8 runs. This is instructive, because it shows how one season, even a full season, can still be too small of a sample size. Citi Field should be friendlier than it used to be. That just isn’t yet showing up in the numbers.