Update (9:00am Thursday): Someone requested a PNC/Citi Field dimensions comparison graphic, and I aim to please! And hey, lookie…PNC is deeper in left than at Citi Field!
If you tune into the radio or read a newspaper today you’ll probably hear some praise regarding the Mets’ agreement with Jason Bay…but you’ll hear much more disdain. Just on my way into work I heard the following quote on Fox Sports Radio, “Jason Bay’s home runs over the Green Monster will land on theÂ warning track in the Grand Canyon of Citi Field.” Aside from claims about his home runs decreasing in New York, a lot will be said about how much more field Bay will need to cover in Citi Field. Because of his “terrible” defense, Bay will probably look like molasses in left field. (this is what I’ve heard and expect to hear over the next several weeks, not my own thoughts)
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so take a look at this simple dimensions overlay of Fenway Park and Citi Field. (below)
It turns out that some of the claims about the expanded coverage in left field may actually be accurate! The shaded light blue areas in left field represent the extra area Bay will need to cover in 2009 (albeit in only half of his games – which isn’t something to be forgotten). Though since the Green Monster is so much taller than Citi Field’s fence, Bay will have the luxury of chasing down many less carems off the wall. Additionally, with a potentially healthy Carlos Beltran in center, Bay will likely get some extra leeway with balls his to his left (left-center field). If the combination of these two factors don’t make the ballpark comparison a push, they only make Citi Field slightly harder to defend in. Certainly nothing worth breaking out into a sweat and screaming bloody murder over.
But, how will his home runs stack up? Thanks to HitTracker, I was able to overlay Bay’s 2009 home runs onto Citi Field’s dimensions. (below)
Hey, look at that…they’re almost all still homers! I should start off with a disclaimer though – only 15 of these home runs were at home, while 21 were hit in an opposing ballpark. So really, less than half of his home runs are even in question! Though out of the 36 as a whole, 27 (75%) would definitely maintain their HR status in New York, while 32 (89%) would at have had the good possibility of heading out of the park. If we convert those percentages to only his home runs hit at home (if this is getting confusing, I apologize), we find that he would have had between 32 and 34 home runs last season after converting Fenway to Citi Field.
Two to four less home runs…is that what the media is having a field day with? In the course of a season, it’s worth noting, but not much more!
A I wrap this up, here’s another quick disclaimer. While the ballpark shapes I made were drawn from correctly proportioned dimensions graphics, they had to be re-sized to fit with each other (this goes for the home runs as well)…so while my overlays should be a very close fit, they’re probably not an exact fit.
Hopefully this analysis will ease the minds of some readers who may have questioned the Bay signing. I didn’t go into great detail about Bay’s defense, but I highly recommend stopping by MetsMerized and reading this post defending Bay as a left fielder.