Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mets Eye Shorter Basepaths and Collision-Proof Fielding Zones In Next Round Of Citi Field Changes

On Monday October 31st the Mets made official their planned changes to the configuration of CitiField's outfield walls.  They will be coming in, they will be getting lower, and they will become blue.

While this has caused some of the more mediocre pitchers on the staff to start looking for alternative careers it has put a toothy grin on the face of David Wright and Jason Bay, among others.

In general the reception this announcement has received has been so positive among depressed fans of the team that they have decided to take the next step in reconfiguring a ballpark that seems to be stacked against the home club.

We spoke to a high ranking club official who prefers to remain nameless but we'll call him Paul DePodesta.

THE APPLE: We hear you may have something bigger planned for the ballpark.  Can you let us in on it?

DeP: As you know from MONEYBALL, the book, and MONEYBALL, the movie, we are constantly looking for those small edges, preferably ones that don't cost us money that we don't have.

After exhaustive video review we found that 51.7% of all the bang bang plays at first base in 2010 involved Mets batters while the remaining 48.3%, of course, were our opponents.  In almost all of these cases our batter/runner would have been safe if the bag were just a bit closer to home plate than the actual 90 feet.

Last year this is a bang-bang play. 
We determined that our team batting average would be up at least two points if the firstbase bag was 86 feet rather than 90 feet so we plan to move it closer starting in April of 2012.

THE APPLE: That's incredible.  Are you sure you can do that under the rules?

DeP:  I'll address that point in a moment because it's not the only thing we'll be changing.  It seems that our pitchers in general have a harder time covering first on grounders that are to the firstbaseman.  The opposing pitchers make it to the bag at a better rate than our pitchers.  The exact figure escapes me and if I recall correctly our starters were particularly bad as they were old, slow, or fell off the mound awkwardly.  So we will be moving the mound 3.7 feet closer to firstbase.  This should help in that department and will have the secondary benefit of decreasing the range needed by our secondbasemen.  Neither Turner nor Murphy have the most range in the world so now the pitcher will be able to snag some balls that would ordinarily scoot past Justin and Daniel.  Whether we have Jose at short or Ruben they should be able to handle the extra range needed up the middle.

THE APPLE:  I can't imagine that this plan is workable under the rules of major league baseball.

DeP:  We thought of that.  The reality is that we owe MLB $25 million.  With no money in the till our chances of coming up with that amount depends on our winning more games, we think we can get Commissioner Selig to "look the other way" on these changes to the field if we can convince him that it makes our product more viable.

THE APPLE:  Wow, is that it?

DeP:  We are mulling one other thing.  We may have some new lines placed on the field to denote what we call the POP FLY FIELDING ZONE of each infielder.  We feel that if they had been on the field last year they would have told David Wright that he'd infringed on Ike Davis' territory.  This would have prevented that awful collision that so injured Ike.

As long as everyone stays out of the "Wright Zone", no one will get hurt.
We are holding off on doing this since someone raised the question as to how we would handle fly balls that figure to come down directly on the separating line.  That's a toughie, right?

All articles featured on The Apple are fictitious. No Mets were harmed in the writing of this story. Story by Larry Smith.  You can follow Larry Smith on twitter @dr4sight      

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