mikcou wrote:Why are they moving back the fences???
Sporting News Quote:
KAUFFMAN STADIUM RETURNS TO PITCHING ROOTS
It seemed like just yesterday the Royals were moving in their fences. With the change from artificial to real grass in 1995, the franchise took the opportunity to turn its doubles and triples alleys into homer havens. Well, it worked -- for opposing teams. Now consider the mission aborted. The Royals will move their fences back 10 feet to their original spots for the 2004 season.
In recent seasons, Kauffman Stadium had become one of the most favorable hitters park in the majors. In fact, based on indexes on homers, batting average and runs scored, it was the second-most favorable park for hitters, behind only Coors Field. But those numbers were skewed by the Royals' pitching struggles at home. As Joe Posnanski notes in the Kansas City Star, the Royals have been outhomered at Kauffman by 268 homers. In the past three seasons, opponents have outscored Kansas City by 290 runs. Last season, the Royals posted a Coors Field-like 6.01 ERA at home.
While teams might continue to outscore the Royals at Kauffman, the swelling of those numbers will decrease with the change. Before 1995, it was one of the top pitchers parks in the land. Who knows what this move will do, but we can guarantee it won't be the second-most favorable hitters park next season. Fantasy owners are about to lose the most favorable hitters park in the American League, which is only part of my trouble with this decision.
How can the Royals liberally change the dimensions of their ballpark to suit their taste? I realize it will have been nine years since the squad moved in their fences, but nine years is a short time relative to the stadium's 31-year history. I don't see how the Royals can be allowed to abandon the experiment because their personal numbers support it.
In 1995, the team had a slew of veteran hitters who could capitalize on the smaller ballpark and youngsters who could build their prowess in it. Veterans such as Gary Gaetti, Mike Macfarlane and Wally Joyner immediately took advantage, and youngsters such as Tom Goodwin, Johnny Damon, Mike Sweeney, Michael Tucker and Joe Randa suddenly became better players.
Now the organization is loaded with pitching prospects, including Zack Greinke, Jimmy Gobble, Jeremy Affeldt, Miguel Asencio and Runelvys Hernandez, so the team switches back to a pitchers park.
I don't like it. I could understand if there were technical reasons behind it, such as new seating. But something just seems foul about this.
In a friendly e-mail banter, senior managing editor Mike Nahrstedt, always a voice of reason, notes, “As long as all teams have the option of adjusting their home park, it's a fair deal.”
He adds, “I've always thought it odd (but incredibly appealing) that baseball is the only sport that allows the playing field to differ from place to place. In every other sport (except hockey, which allows for some variance in rink dimensions), it's a given that the field is a (uniform) size. But in baseball, almost anything goes, at least when it comes to the outfield. That's part of the game's appeal to me.”
Duly noted. I like the ballpark differences, too. I would have a lot less to write about without them. But it seems beyond the spirit of the game that a team would move the fences of its almost-flawless ballpark twice in nine years to suit the talent in its organization.