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  1. More like COMPLEX-ity, am I right, Jeff? You work on those pun skills and you may one day have a shot at the fine homepage of the MLB, kid.

    Comment by Mr. McGillicutty — October 3, 2012 @ 3:42 pm

  2. Seems like one year’s worth of data could easily be distorted by changes in the performance of Mets pitchers and hitters between this year and ’09 through ’11. For instance, Wright was healthy and played all year, R.A. Dickey became an ace, etc.

    Comment by Bradsbeard — October 3, 2012 @ 3:45 pm

  3. On a one year sample, isn’t the improvement in the Mets pitching staff likely a significant factor? The Dickey Effect?

    Comment by grant — October 3, 2012 @ 3:48 pm

  4. As he admitted, but again, like he said, one year of data is better than no data and its the best we’ve got at the moment.

    Comment by Ralph — October 3, 2012 @ 3:52 pm

  5. I believe the stats given were comparisons between games the mets played at home and games the mets played on the road. So improvement in the team should be normalized out since the same team played in away games.

    Comment by Kevin — October 3, 2012 @ 4:08 pm

  6. Could the decrease in walks be due to hitters being more aggressive since the fences are closer? Has that ever been looked at in other ballparks, especially those that change their dimensions?

    Comment by MikeS — October 3, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

  7. One imagines that a certain paucity of Pagans and Reyes’s might have been (a) responsible for the decreased triples and (b) by extension the less depressed doubles rates.

    Comment by JMS — October 3, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

  8. I rather like the bigger parks. Doubles and triples are more exciting to watch than homers, particularly with runners on base.

    Comment by Ken — October 3, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

  9. Its not the distance to the fences that makes a park a hitter or pitchers park. Look at Coors, the most infamous park of them all. Nothing can be done because the dimensions are already huge. It’s the air. It’s the barometric pressure. If the ball doesn’t fly, it just plain doesn’t fly.

    Comment by Daniel — October 3, 2012 @ 4:20 pm

  10. I’m pretty sure it says that those splits are home game performance in 2012 relative to away game performance in 2012, not relative to the performance from ’09 to ’11. Unless Dickey made an inordinate amount of starts at home, I don’t think that would have made any difference.

    Comment by Michael — October 3, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

  11. Simple as it is, the table really needs to be captioned. Apparently some are seeing it as raw totals changes, by the comments.

    To which end, the Marlins park changing from pro-pitcher to neutral would account for some of the 2012 change of Citi re road games.

    Comment by Richie — October 3, 2012 @ 4:28 pm

  12. How is Citi “more extreme” now? I missed that. (sorry if it’s obviously in there somewhere)

    Comment by Slartibartfast — October 3, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

  13. Wasn’t Dickey nearly as good in 2010 and 2011?

    Comment by Ralph — October 3, 2012 @ 4:33 pm

  14. When a small sample leads to a nonsensical result, all the more reason to doubt the small sample.

    Bringing in the fence will change some amount of fly balls (XBHs and fly outs) to home runs. And transform a triple or two into a double, as the closer fence enables an outfielder to get to the ball off the wall a step or two quicker. And perhaps lead to outfielders playing just a bit shallower, so transform a few singles into outs.

    Of course moving in the fence helped offense at Citi. Just not that much, as noted by a previous commenter visibility, altitude, weather all play a role, too. And this season combined with other noise to subsume the closer fence.

    Comment by Richie — October 3, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

  15. Try being a Mariners fan and watching a number of balls crushed by your offense die in the outfield and be caught. Then you may change your mind a bit. Hitters purposely have loft on their swings for the purposes of hitting homeruns and so I doubt doubles have a perfect inverse relationship with homeruns. You would have to develop your hitters to use a completely different swing plane that way.

    I like a good pticher duel about as well as anyone but watching an offense flounder because the field castrates the hitters isn’t much fun. Especially night after night and the opponent pitcher isn’t that great. There have been many times I watch King Felix get matched by another pitcher because Felix is dealing and the park is helping the other guy. It’s not much fun. Thank you Seattle for finally changing things.

    Comment by Average_Casey — October 3, 2012 @ 5:17 pm

  16. No disrespect intended at all, but I’m not sure what the point of this article is. I think it’s pretty intuitive that just bringing the fences in, while holding everything else more or less constant, would lead to an increase in home runs and a decrease in all other hits. The balls that were dying on the warning track or hitting the fence now leave the ballpark which leads to a decrease in doubles, triples and BABIP (since BABIP removes home runs from the calculation of what constitutes a “ball in play”). But isn’t the point of bringing the fences in to increase the number of runs scored, as opposed to increasing the various component statistics? The idea being that home runs generate more runs than any of the other discrete offensive events that occur during the course of an average baseball game so teams like the Mets (and now the Mariners) are willing to sacrifice the latter in favor of the former. I haven’t seen the numbers, and they’re not included in the table, but I would think such a substantial increase in home runs year over year would lead to an increase in the overall run scoring environment. Or at least would, once the statistics are given an opportunity to normalize over time (i.e. I’m not sure a two percent decrease in OPS in a given season can be ascribed to anything more than noise and random variance).

    Comment by Renan — October 3, 2012 @ 5:27 pm

  17. It reduced overall offense by more in 2012 than it did in 2009-2011. Maybe it’s random noise but that’s what we have to go on for now.

    Comment by Jeff Sullivan — October 3, 2012 @ 5:29 pm

  18. Citi reduced OPS by more than it used to. In 2011, there were 8.6 runs per Mets home game, and 9.4 runs per Mets road game. In 2012, those numbers were 7.8 and 9.0.

    Comment by Jeff Sullivan — October 3, 2012 @ 5:32 pm

  19. The players in the stadium also changed.

    Comment by Ben — October 3, 2012 @ 7:21 pm

  20. I think the numbers are for the same players home vs. away, not comparing 2012 vs. 2010-11 rosters. i.e. absence of reyes wouldn’t show here. rather, only the guys on the mets during 2012 are counted, and those guys (and opponents too) hit fewer triples at citi vs. on the road.

    Comment by brendan — October 3, 2012 @ 7:21 pm

  21. As did the players on the road

    Comment by Jeff Sullivan — October 3, 2012 @ 7:35 pm

  22. Both saw declines albeit a little more at home.. I think it has more to do with the change in players than the change in stadium dimensions. You mentioned it yourself that you can’t really read too much into it because of the small sample size.

    Comment by Ben — October 3, 2012 @ 8:36 pm

  23. I agree with this:
    “When a small sample leads to a nonsensical result, all the more reason to doubt the small sample.”

    But, I don’t think you’re giving enough weight to this:
    “And perhaps lead to outfielders playing just a bit shallower, so transform a few singles into outs.”

    From my completely unscientific observations of baseball, I think there is a higher percentage of shallow-outfield pop flies and short fliners each game than there are 350-foot fly balls. Of course, the effect of each long fly ball that is now a homerun or double on offensive output is greater than each single that wouldn’t have been during 2009-2011. So, I don’t know.

    Comment by Mcneildon — October 3, 2012 @ 8:37 pm

  24. Closer fences also means there is less ground to cover for the outfielders, so fewer balls fall between them. It means less of a distance for the defenders to cover when throwing the ball back to the infield to nail an advancing runner. Depending on exactly WHERE the in play XBHs went, moving particular pieces of the fence in or out could potentially rob XBH without necessarily adding the equivalent offense in HRs. Moving the dead center fence can affect the batter’s eye, resulting in a change in their ability to pick up pitches … affecting Ks and BBs most immediately, but possibly quality of contact as well.

    Comment by David — October 3, 2012 @ 9:26 pm

  25. The Mets home record was also much worse than their road record. The team didn’t just play worse at home, it played worse relative to their opponents at home. It’s hard for me to believe it’s not noise.

    The other thing they were saying was that the team was changing it’s approach to hitting (i.e. not trying to hit it out) to compensate for the home ballpark’s dimensions, thus making it harder to hit homers on the road.

    Comment by metsfaninLA — October 3, 2012 @ 10:27 pm

  26. Reasons and outcomes.

    Since we’re all baseball fans, we probably have seen one or two instances when brilliant plans don’t work out, because… baseball. I’m with Jeff- we just don’t know what this change will do.

    That said, I’m full of Mariner optimism. Here’s why: I think that extreme run-suppressing limits the value of elite pitchers. If Felix allows 2.5 runs/game in an environment where teams normally score 5 runs/game, that’s more valuable than if he allows 2.5 runs/game in an environment where teams score 4 runs/game. Obviously Felix has to deal with the new dimensions, but he’s Felix, so he will. The Mariners may see another elite starter emerge in the next year or two. The benefit to hitters, like Montero, is obvious and discussed everywhere.

    Seems like a win-win, based on reasons. So I won’t be surprised to see Tajuan Walker destroyed by home run problems because baseball is where randomness happens as often as the best laid plans (chump ass Angels).

    Comment by danny — October 4, 2012 @ 12:51 am

  27. This sounds like a well-informed version of the argument I had with my buddy at the game today at Safeco. Thanks for the statistical value backup that I can throw in his face.

    Comment by Gabriel BatCat Bogart — October 4, 2012 @ 2:55 am

  28. Good job taking the one park where this might actually be a legitimate point and generalising from that. Are you seriously trying to suggest that the size of a park doesn’t affect how the park plays?

    Comment by Simon — October 4, 2012 @ 6:49 am

  29. With the long running emphasis in big contracts on power hitting and starting pitching, it seems like a low budget team would do best to have a big park with good defensive outfielders (range and arms). Then all you need is average pitching.

    I don’t see any teams do that. Cameron Maybin and Chris Denorfia at San Diego seem OK. But Carlos Quentin and Will Venable are not.

    The Tigers gave up on Commerica and became the Red Sox. So they didn’t need to try the low budget way.

    Sure you would have a hard time signing a slugger who wants to hit 40+ homers. But I’m talking small market here. They don’t have much chance with those guys anyway.

    The park could be tailored to high average gap hitters who make contact. A small foul territory for instance. Could you imagine if Coors looked like this?
    Lines: 370
    Power Alleys: 400 feet
    Center Field: 425 feet

    Get guys like Michael Bourn and Gerardo Parra out there. Who would need an Adam Dunn? Lets face it, speed is a young man’s game and young players in baseball are less expensive than older slower power hitters.

    But the talk is always the other way. I expect the Padres will soon announce that the fences at Petco will be moved in as well. I realize a team has to win on the road. But if you are running a team on $60 million in payroll you’ve got to find an edge.

    Comment by Doug B — October 4, 2012 @ 9:05 am

  30. The Mets had a crazy stretch in Aug/Sept when they could not score at Citi. I think it was 15 straight games of scoring 3 or fewer runs (and only scoring 3 runs in 4 of those games). Over that period they were 13-92 with RISP. For whatever reason they could not hit for that stretch at home especially with runners in scoring position.

    Comment by Brian — October 4, 2012 @ 10:03 am

  31. Jeff, I’m rather disappointed that you didn’t include a gif of a Mets pitcher demonstrating lax execution of a pitch followed by another gif of Dan Warthen shaking his head disapprovingly.

    Comment by Mcneildon — October 4, 2012 @ 10:28 am

  32. The basic point here is sound, and it can be approached another way: by comparing park effects at different ballparks. Dodger Stadium, for example, has historically favored homers but suppressed doubles, while Fenway Park favors doubles but not homers. Induced wind effects (the higher structure behind home plate at Fenway) make a difference; changing the amount of foul ground affects BABIP and offense overall. It’s complicated.

    Comment by Mr Punch — October 4, 2012 @ 10:31 am

  33. According to the Mariners PR guy, 30-40 outs and XBH’s per year in the current configuration would have been HR’s if they had been using the planned configuration.

    Comment by hk — October 4, 2012 @ 11:50 am

  34. The comparisons are between the Mets home stats and away stats. Improved performances by a couple of players are irrelevant.
    Jeff mentioned several times that one year’s data can be misleading.
    If you had actually read this very fine post instead of skimming it, you might have gotten something from it.

    Comment by Baltar — October 4, 2012 @ 12:59 pm

  35. See my reply to the comment above.

    Comment by Baltar — October 4, 2012 @ 1:00 pm

  36. Three totally ignorant comments in a row is not a record on this site, but you people who can’t even read the post correctly are really annoying me.

    Comment by Baltar — October 4, 2012 @ 1:03 pm

  37. I’m with you 100%, Ken. To me, home runs are boring: the ball went out of the park, so all the action stopped.
    The game is exciting when there are baserunners, and especially when there are baserunners in scoring position.

    Comment by Baltar — October 4, 2012 @ 1:05 pm

  38. While the dimensions of the park are important too, Daniel has a valid point. This is part of the Safeco problem. Cold heavy air blowing in from Puget Sound deadens the ball. The ball just plain doesn’t fly.

    Comment by nemo1 — October 4, 2012 @ 9:04 pm

  39. It’s not Jeff’s fault that some people are morons.

    Comment by nemo1 — October 4, 2012 @ 9:05 pm

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