The first three years at Citi Field were marked by the incessant whining of fans, players and announcers about how unfair the stadium played.
Last year the Mets moved the fences in and it only yielded one benefit ... nobody is talking about the dimensions anymore!
I thought it would be interesting to see what impact, if any, the fences actually had on team production (it's a slow news day, unless you consider the acquisition of Aaron Laffey to be news).
We all knew that more home runs were going to be hit, that was a given. Did the Mets hitters benefit overall from the change? Were Mets pitchers harmed by the change? Most importantly, what was the impact on winning and losing? I included a graphic that compares the 2012 season to the prior three seasons combined at Citi Field.
There are many ways you can choose to interpret the results but, no matter how you try to spin it, you can not argue that the changes were beneficial.
The team home OPS ranged from .718 to .748 in prior seasons at Citi Field before plummeting to .679 in 2012! An OPS of .679 is downright anemic and it underscores what I have said since day one, the Mets offensive woes are due solely to personnel and the configuration of the stadium is not to blame.
The Mets have not had a five hundred season since they moved into Citi Field. However, their combined first three years in Citi Field, the Mets home winning percentage was a notch above five hundred. Last season they had a .444 winning percentage at home, slightly worse than their away winning percentage of .469.
Met pitchers allowed more home runs at Citi Field than on the road but Met hitters hit a lower percentage of the total home runs hit at Citi Field than in the first three years of it's existence.
None of this matters because the changes are popular and they are here to stay. But perception and reality have always been in conflict on this topic.
The Mets had a home field that had a very distinct personality and they could have built their team to take advantage of it. However, the field has been returned to a more standard configuration, much to the delight of fans, hitters and commentators ... with the exception of one lone blogger.
Jason Bay did not become the worst hitter in major league baseball because of dimensions ... he simply lost his skills. Josh Thole would be a punch and judy hitter even if he played all his games at Wrigley Field with the wind blowing out. They can move the fences in to Williamsport distance if they like, Mike Nickeas would still struggle to hit above the Mendoza line.
The notion that a field can be unfair just makes no sense. Both teams have to deal with the same environment, all fields by definition are fair (except maybe the Astrodome when they toyed with the air conditioning for Jimmy Wynn).
I hate to say I told you so (actually that's not true, I kind of like it) when it comes to the impact the fences had on the Mets fortunes but the numbers don't lie. All the talk about Citi Field being unfair was simply a perception ... not a reality.