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Padres bring in the fences at Petco Park

Oct 22, 2012, 6:18 PM EDT

Petco Park

Petco Park will be a little less pitcher friendly when it begins its ninth season of play in 2013. The Padres announced Monday that they’d bring the right field wall in 11 feet and shorten the distances from home plate to right center from 402 feet to 391 and from home to left-center from 402 feet to 390.

Petco has been viewed as baseball’s toughest park for hitters since it opened in 2004, and it’s been especially tough on left-handers. Still, it’s hard to argue that it’s been a bad thing for the Padres. It’s certainly helped them lure free agent pitchers who were hoping a year in San Diego could help them rebuild their value. And while free agent hitters have stayed away, it’s not as though the Padres were ever interested in spending the money to lure big names anyway.

In eight years in Petco, the Padres have gone to the postseason twice, won at least 87 games four times and lost 90 games just twice. They’ve had a payroll over $70 million just once in that span, and it was actually in their worst year: a 2008 season in which they went 63-99.

Still, today’s changes probably won’t radically change the way the ballpark plays. It figures to remain pitcher friendly, just not as much so as in the past.

  1. protius - Oct 22, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    Alex K.:

    Never mind.

    • Alex K - Oct 22, 2012 at 9:33 PM

      Right?

  2. ptfu - Oct 22, 2012 at 6:38 PM

    During the day the ball carries a lot better due to relatively warmer, drier air. (One reason Petco’s so pitcher-friendly is the cool dense nighttime air.) Now that the power alleys are more reachable, look for more daytime homers.

  3. cambodianbreastmilk - Oct 22, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

  4. APBA Guy - Oct 22, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    Now that they have two legitimate young hitters with Grandal and Alonso this move gives them and their offense a bit more of a chance.

    • yahmule - Oct 22, 2012 at 11:45 PM

      Seems more like a love letter to Chase Headley.

  5. xmatt0926x - Oct 22, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    Good pitching plays well in any kind of park. The only thing playing in these canyon stadiums does is wreck your offense. The hitters change their hitting style to try and compensate and it ruins their morale as they are always bitching about it. All you hear every season from the teams that play in these parks is how the offense is horrible because of the dimensions. You never hear a team gushing that the large stadium fits their style perfectly. It just seems to be more trouble than it’s worth to have these giant parks. I think teams prefer the chance to get a few runs quick with a bomb than always having to string together 3 or 4 hits in the gap.

    • schlom - Oct 22, 2012 at 7:35 PM

      That’s simply just not true. The Giants had the best road offense in the NL this season (and only scored 9 less than the Angels without the benefit of the DH) and play in the most extreme pitchers park in baseball. The Padres actually had an average offense on the road this season and during their good period (2004-2007) had top 10 road offenses. If extreme pitchers parks wrecked their offenses, wouldn’t they have finished lower down?

      • js20011041 - Oct 22, 2012 at 10:24 PM

        I agree. I think that in part, this belief stems from the fact that the Mets and Mariners have put up poor numbers offensively. This is only partially caused by their home ballparks. The much larger factor, in my opinion, is that those teams (particularly the Mariners) have fielded poor offensive talent. Pitching plays in any ballpark but the reverse is also true. Good hitters will hit no matter how big the park.

    • echech88 - Oct 23, 2012 at 12:24 AM

      Interesting rant given that we are about to start a World Series with two teams that play in huge ballparks.

      The Padres do not have a good offense because their lineup is typically full of guys that are cheap journeymen or just-promoted prospects that aren’t a finished product.

      Weak argument. Could just as well say having a hitters paradise in Colorado isn’t worth it either.

    • critter69 - Oct 23, 2012 at 2:53 AM

      I guess the Giants had a difficult time getting other teams to play at their old stadium, the Polo Grounds, in New York, correct? After all, it’s been said that you could see Yankee Stadium from the Polo Grounds, and the trolley dodgers home field was just a few miles away in Brooklyn.

      In fact, the Yankees played several dozen ‘home’ games each season at the Polo Grounds before and while Yankee Stadium was being built, even if The Polo Grounds was considered by almost all to be the worst hitter’s park ever.

      Left-Center – 450 ft
      Center Field – 483 ft
      Right-Center – 449 ft
      (although the left and right field fences were considered much more friendly at 279 ft [85 m] and 258 ft [78 m] respectively.)

      Why was it called The Polo Grounds? Because the first of the four stadiums at the site was specifically built to accomodate the stands for the game of polo.

  6. 13arod - Oct 22, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    they should have done it way earlier

  7. prestigious1 - Oct 22, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    This won’t bold well.

    • hcf95688 - Oct 22, 2012 at 10:18 PM

      You may be right, but I have to wonder how it will bode.

      • protius - Oct 23, 2012 at 12:10 AM

        I think it will bode well, if they’re not too bold about it, but some fans might not be bowled over by the idea.

  8. mikeincmn - Oct 22, 2012 at 9:15 PM

    I suspect part of this also has to do with trying to draw a few more fans. Obviously winning cures all, but it has to be a bit of a hard sell to bring fans in to watch constant 2-1 “grind em out” games.

  9. mrlaloosh - Oct 22, 2012 at 10:52 PM

    Wow! Who knew San Diego had a MLB team.

    • ptfu - Oct 22, 2012 at 11:27 PM

      Spoken like a man with a five-cent head.

  10. icanspeel - Oct 23, 2012 at 12:05 AM

    I dunno if there is a spray chart showing fly balls at Petco which would turn into home runs with the changes, but it’d be interesting to see if there was.

    • protius - Oct 23, 2012 at 12:14 AM

      Pardon me, while I whip this out.

      Nope, sorry, it’s not a spray chart.

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