SBD/Issue 98/Facilities & Venues

Mets Sought Fair Dimensions For Citi Field, Could Tweak In Future

Mets Debate A Pitcher-Friendly Or
Hitters' Ballpark
The Mets "set out to build a challenging, but fair, replacement for Shea Stadium, a noted pitcher-friendly park, and Citi Field’s spacious, asymmetrical dimensions and noticeably high outfield walls seem to support their goal," according to Ben Shpigel of the N.Y. TIMES. Mike Sabatini, Senior Designer for Citi Field’s architect HOK Sport, said, “We’ve had clients say that they want a hitters’ ballpark with a lot of home runs, if you will. And we’ve had a lot of ballparks go the other way, where they don’t want that to happen. They want it to be more playable. In working with the Mets, I know they’ve thought about this a lot, and they want it to be as neutral as possible.” Mets COO Jeff Wilpon: “I want the balls that are hit well to go out. I didn’t want this to be a bandbox. As long as it doesn’t play like a bandbox Day 1, we’ve got plenty of tweaks we can make to make it play fairer.” Shpigel noted regardless of how the ball carries in ’09, the Mets “would wait at least one more season before mulling those tweaks.” Wilpon said of the ballpark, “All the pitchers want it to be big, and all the hitters want it to be small -- that’s just how it is. We decided to just build it big, thinking we can always change it later” (N.Y. TIMES, 2/7).

STOP PAYMENT? NEWSDAY’s Brand & Baumbach reported Citigroup is in the last year of a 10-year, $2.3M naming-rights deal for the independent Atlantic League Long Island Ducks’ ballpark, and the chances of keeping the bank’s name on the facility "might not be as good" as retaining the rights to the Mets' Citi Field. Ducks Owner Frank Boulton said that Citi has “not only canceled [its] seats but sponsorship of the pocket schedule holder, both expenses incurred on an annual basis” (NEWSDAY, 2/7).

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