The baseball press has been all atwitter this season trying to figure out why so many homeruns are being hit at the new Yankee Stadium. Is it the wind? Is itÂ theÂ wall? Is it the steroids? Is it making a mockery of the game?
Meantime, across town,Â Â another new ballpark is changing the way the game is being played, and no one is saying a word. Shea Stadium was a pitcher’s park. Citifield is a National Park.
The Mets top homerun hitter this year is Gary Sheffield. He has 9. That’s good for 40th in the National League.Â He also has the most homers at Citi, with 5. In fact,Â there haveÂ been just 59 homerunsÂ hit in QueensÂ so far this year.
But the main evidence comes in the form of David Wright who has hit 27,26,30, and 33 homerunsÂ over the past four seasons. This year, he has four. No oneÂ has lost moreÂ round trippersÂ than theÂ All Star third baseman, who regularly hits laser shots into the outfield powerÂ alleys, only to have themÂ caught on the warning track.
There are obviously some extenuating circumstances. If a traditional power hitter like Carlos Delgado were playing, perhaps he would be having more success clearing the fences than his replacements in the lineup. If Wright wasn’t the only offensive threat taking the field for the amazins for most games, perhaps he would be swinging for the fences more often.
But that does not change the fact that it is exceedingly difficult for playersÂ to hit home runs at Citifield.
Is it good for the game? Probably no better or worse thanÂ Yankee Stadium’s inflated home run numbers. But, for whatever reason, the issue hasn’t gotten any coverage.