The New York Times asks whether or not Citi Field needs some tweaking:
By most accounts, the new park is fan friendly. But a key question — is
the field too large? — has emerged as the Mets, and particularly, David Wright, have struggled to hit home runs at home. And from that question, comes
another: Should the Mets think about moving home plate 10 feet forward
so they could shorten Citi Field’s dimensions without having to knock
down any walls?
This is dumb for three reasons. The first reason is that, as those who have studied park effects have shown, it’s really hard to predict how a park will play after only one season. You have to give it a couple of years before reaching any conclusions about the place.
The second reason this is dumb is because the Mets actually and intentionally set out to build a pitchers’ park because they thought it would give them a competitive advantage over the long haul. If that was the strategy, why abandon it after one year?
The third and most important reason this is dumb is because there’s absolutely no reason to believe that it’s the park, as opposed to a lousy Mets team, that is the reason for the low number of homers. The Mets offense has hit 47 HR at home and 46 on the road (visitors have hit 81 HR in Citi Field and 77 off the Mets on the road). There are still three road games left, but that seems pretty damn even to me.
Upshot: It ain’t the park, folks. It’s the crappy 2009 Mets team that is the reason for the low-octane offense. Leave the fences alone.
Padres starter Jered Weaver lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday afternoon’s Cactus League appearance against the Royals. He yielded four runs on three hits, throwing 31 pitches before getting pulled. His spring ERA now sits at an ugly 10.13.
Weaver said he’s been dealing with a “dead arm” since his last bullpen session, but added he’s dealt with the issue in previous springs, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The Padres signed Weaver to a one-year, $3 million contract last month. The right-hander is coming off of the worst season of his 11-year career. His fastball averaged a career-low 83 MPH and he put up a 5.06 ERA with a 103/51 K/BB ratio in 178 innings.
Earlier, Craig wrote about Dan Duquette’s dogwhistle language in his criticism of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. We have some more dogwhistling, this time coming from Tigers (and Team U.S.) second baseman Ian Kinsler. Via Billy Witz of The New York Times:
I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays. That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.
The goal of the World Baseball Classic, created by Major League Baseball, is to promote baseball across the globe. It’s players like Puerto Rico’s Javier Baez who are doing the best job in that regard, not boring white guys from the U.S. Potential baseball fans are not swayed into liking the sport when a player hits a home run and solemnly puts his head down to stroll the bases. They get excited and energized when players show emotion, flip their bats, celebrate. Baez did more to make baseball appeal to new and lapsed audiences with his premature celebration tag than the entire U.S. team has done this tournament.
Furthermore, it is hypocritical to want to diversify the sport’s audience while squelching incoming cultures.
Jim Leyland also got in on the action:
Go Puerto Rico.