Was That Supposed to be Fun?
Why teams build parks in which balls fly out on seemingly routine fly balls is beyond me. Last year, Citizen's Bank Park ranked second in park factor for homeruns and six stadiums had a 1.195 or above. Disturbingly enough, the Phillies moved their fences back as far as they could and raised the wall a bit and none of that seemed to matter yesterday. Seven balls left the park and if it were not for a ridiculous highlight reel play by Sugar Pants, the Mets might not have won.
However, they did win and all ended well. It just seems that a bad brand of baseball is being bred with these small parks. The walls are closing in on all sides to 'increase the fan experience' (like they care about anything but money) and while I appreciate that, there needs to be some sanity. Less room for foul balls means more balls in play and more runs. More balls in play with shorter fences means more homeruns. What is being done to help pitchers? I am not begging for all new parks to be pitcher's parks, but there has to be a happy medium.
Baseball should implement some type of minimal square footage when it comes to foul areas and/or a minimum square footage for the fair and foul grounds combined. I get that the Rockies cannot help it and a major faux pa was committed when people thought it would be a good place to stick a team. However, cities like Philly have no excuse. Words cannot express my gratitude to the Wilpons for seemingly getting it right in their proposed park. They shorten the field down the lines, but added some in the power alleys. Of course no one will know how the park is going to play until games start getting played there, but it certainly looks like a neutral stadium that both pitchers and hitters should be able to succeed in. Why any team would every build something else is just a mystery.
The Mets take over the top spot by roughing up the fourth-ranked Dodgers and the reeling Diamondbacks while shedding the disappointing Kazuo Matsui (.256/.308/.363, .239 EqA in his MLB career). Carlos Beltran is red-hot, as he's now hitting .297/.406/.631 for the season and has surpassed last season's home run total in 100 fewer games; he and teammate David Wright are both in the NL's top five in VORP. Patching up a weak back end of the rotation are the Cuban duo of ancient Orlando Hernandez and rookie Alay Soler, who both toss two complete games--including Soler's two-hit shutout of Arizona--and yield just two runs in 25 innings.
Oh, that is nicey nice.
They also throw the Kansas City pitching staff under the bus when talking about the Blue Jays.
The staff's underlying problem is vulnerability to the long ball; they're yielding 1.46 gophers per nine, worse than every major league team except the Royals, who don't really count as a major league team.
Xavier Nady (appendectomy) played five innings in rightfield and went 2-for-4 with a double in an extended spring game yesterday in Port St. Lucie. He was eligible to come off the DL yesterday, but is more likely to return next week ... Billy Wagner didn't pitch in his return to Philadelphia last month, but admired the fans for their creative signs. "I'm impressed they could spell rat," Wagner said.
"I've got 10 years in. I'm more concerned with trying to win a championship than going out there than impress the Philadelphia fans, or Philadelphia," Wagner said. "I'm trying to win for the Mets. That was my only concern."
"Third base isn't out of the question," Little said. "But we wouldn't ask him to do that unless he goes through some games at Triple-A at that position. I would kind of like for him to (do that), but whether he'll do it, you would have to ask him."
Izturis is going to be one unhappy camper that is for sure.