Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 10/2/12
2013 Dimension change

The Seattle Mariners announced today that they are altering the Safeco Field dimensions in preparation for the 2013 season.

The park is a notorious stomping ground for pitchers. Long renowned for it’s big outfield and tough home run fences, The Safe is  one of the best pitching spots in the Major Leagues.

Thought to be cursed by Ken Griffey Jr.—it is believed by that the move to the park was a deciding factor The Kid wanting to leave Seattle—it’s high time the park became more hitter friendly.

The big question is how exactly is the park changing, and how much difference will it make for the Mariners.

  • The left field corner to left center will be moved in four-feet
  • From left center to straightaway center the wall will be moved in as much as 17-feet
  • From straightaway center to right center the wall will be move in four-feet
  • The left field power alley will move from 390-feet to 378-feet, while the right field power alley will move in from 385-feet to 381-feet
  • The distances to and from each foul pole will remain the same
  • The hand held scoreboard in left field will be moved; this will shorten the height of the wall from 16-feet to eight feet.

The first thing that really stands out are the changes to the left field wall.

They’re bringing the wall in a lot, which will make an immediate impact. But management isn’t stopping there, going as far as to make the wall shorter in height.

This is going to make the park a lot better for right-handed hitters, which is interesting due to the abundance of lefties at Seattle’s disposal.

That outfield’s about to get a lot smaller

These moves are tailored made for guys like Jesus Montero and Justin Smoak. Both have shown a lot of raw power, but have been too inconsistent.

A more well rounded outfield should help get their bats the jump start they need.

The only adverse effects will be seen in the pitching staff. But Seattle’s put together a really strong bullpen, and is in the process of putting together one of the youngest—and most talented—rotations in baseball.

The talent of a guy like Felix Hernandez will far outweigh the changes.

Is it good? Is it bad?

At the end of the day this is the right decision for the club. Right handed hitters have long been plagued by the effects of Safeco.

Seattle has a great young core of bats—and if things with the pitching prospects go right—this could have Seattle in contention in two years.

The most recent example of stadium modifications is the New York Mets and Citi Field.

While it’s not a perfect example of things working out—they’re the Mets, what do you expect—the team has seen a 34% increase in home runs at Citi Field.

That amount of increase in Mariner home runs would put the team at 165 on the year. Enough to boost the team total from 20th in the Major League’s to 14th.

Of course this is just a projection, but there’s no reason to believe this is a bad idea for the M’s.

And hey, the team has tried just about everything else, why not this?


© Jonathan Irwin for North West Sports Beat, 2012. | Permalink | No comment |

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Post tags: Felix Hernandez, Jesus Montero, Justin Smoak, Ken Griffey Jr., Mariners blog, Safeco Field, Safeco Field Dimensions, Seattle Mariners, Seattle Mariners News

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