Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wonders why
a right-handed power hitter like the Mets covet — i.e., Jason Bay or
Matt Holliday — would want to play in Citi Field, calling it a “death
valley for righthanded hitters.”
Cafardo is surely using David Wright
as his case-and-point, which is just lazy journalism when you realize
that he hit just as many home runs at Citi Field (five) as he did on
the road (five). It’s throwaway lines like Cafardo’s that have
perpetuated Citi Field’s reputation as a park where home runs go to
die, which really couldn’t be any further from the truth.
Consider for a moment that according to homerun park factor
Citi Field was actually 12th in majors in 2009 at 1.057, higher than
even Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. This means that 5.7% more home
runs were in games at Citi Field than in games played on the road.
Only 81 regular season games have
been played at Citi Field thus far, and for the great majority of them,
the Mets were a poor hitting team, especially when it came to power (last in the majors with 95 home runs).
The dip in team home runs isn’t much of a surprise when you remember that Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran were sidelined for most of the season.
The truth is that nobody can be certain of how Citi Field will play, as these park factors can fluctuate from year-to-year. However, what is certain is that the Mets are among a select
few teams who can afford to give Bay or Holliday the money they want.