Hot topic: Why the Padres should modify PETCO’s dimensions


(Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

My brother (Brian) and I have been studying the affects of PETCO Park and lobbying for a modification for several years now. We decided to join forces and make a case for moving in the fences now that the Padres front office is open to the idea.

Ridding ourselves of the disadvantage created by PETCO Park

Ownership has claimed that we have some sort of non-existing competitive advantage for several years now. Most people opposed to moving in the fences make arguments that assume a home-field advantage. Why listen to the facts when you can take ownership’s word for it? The fact is we do have a home-field advantage just like every other team in baseball. What people don’t realize is, our advantage is minimized by PETCO Park and the advantage is smaller than what most teams in baseball experience.

Josh Byrnes made this point perfectly when he said, “Since the Padres moved into PETCO Park, this club has the smallest gap between home and road winning percentage in the major leagues,” according to Bill Center of the Union Tribune.

That’s exactly what Brian set out to prove when he created the statistic he like’s to call “Home Field Advantage.” He added each team’s home wins from 2004-2011 and subtracted each by their away wins during the same time period. The higher the number, the more wins they had at home compared to the road and the more they benefited from playing in their home park. This statistic doesn’t measure how good a team is and is independent of the quality of each team. It specifically shows how much better each team does at home than away, and how each compares to the rest of baseball. The Padres ranked 29th in this statistic from 2004-2011. This clearly shows the Padres did not have any kind of competitive advantage. In fact, it suggests that we have experienced a disadvantage since PETCO opened.

Rank
Team
More wins at home than on the road
1
Rays
96
2
Rockies
91
3
Brewers
85
4
Pirates
84
5
Mariners
82
6
Red Sox
78
7
Blue Jays
76
8
Astros
74
9
Twins
72
10
Yankees
71
11
Rangers
69
12
Athletics
65
13
Tigers
60
14
Nationals
59
15
Braves
57
16
Dodgers
57
17
Diamondbacks
53
18
Reds
51
19
Giants
49
20
Cardinals
49
21
Indians
46
22
Royals
45
23
Orioles
44
24
Mets
40
25
White Sox
37
26
Cubs
31
27
Angels
27
28
Phillies
25
29
Padres
18
30
Marlins
12

 

We also analyzed the home/road run differentials. Not only do they provide more evidence of this disadvantage, but they also corroborate the results of the Home Field Advantage statistic. The Padres are the only team in all of baseball to score more runs on the road than they have given up, while giving up more runs at home than they have scored. Again, the Padres are the only team to accomplish this during this eight-year period. Only four teams, including the Padres, had a better run differential on the road than at home. The Padres being the worst, with the Marlins, Phillies and Angels right behind them. The same four teams are at the bottom in Home Field Advantage. That is no coincidence. This clearly dispels the claimed advantage and suggests the opposite — that we’ve been at a disadvantage.

Ridding ourselves of the psychological effect

According to Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune, Byrnes said, “I think the way PETCO Park is configured now is too distorted against the hitters, bad for the fans and affects the psyche of our club.”

We couldn’t agree more, Mr. Byrnes. The psyche plays a big role in baseball, and many Padres have been affected. Players have changed their swings and approaches in PETCO Park. Players have complained about the way the park plays. There is no doubt that PETCO Park gets into players’ heads and affects their psyche. Pitchers are more aggressive in PETCO Park. Pitchers know they can get away with pitches over the plate, so they challenge hitters. PETCO takes away the hitter’s confidence and hands it to the pitcher.

Finding out how many balls hit by the Padres and the opposition — that would have been home runs had the fences been built 10-20 feet shorter — isn’t as simple as placing a current spray chart over one with the proposed changes. The affects on each side’s approach completely change the dynamic of every single pitch. This changes the outcome of every single at-bat.

If you have any doubts about whether or not our players psyche has been affected, check out these quotes from the past:

In an article by Dan Norcross of the San Diego Union Tribune, players were asked if they were looking forward to getting away from PETCO Park. Jason Bartlett’s answer was, “Definitely.” Bartlett added, “I could sense frustration on a lot of guys.”

Norcross wrote: Playing anywhere other than PETCO, Ludwick figures he’d have twice as many homers. “I could be at 10 instead of five, no doubt about it, which builds confidence,” he said. “I’ve told everyone, I’ve had a rough go here (since coming to San Diego from St. Louis last July). But I think the difference between last year and this year is I’ve made a lot of hard outs, more consistent, hard contact. Do the fans in San Diego see that? Probably not. Because all they’re doing is looking at the box scores. But my manager sees it. He tells me. And my teammates see it.”

Bartlett also said, “I don’t want this to sound like an excuse, but for the offense, it’s better to get on the road.”

Tim Sullivan has quoted Chase Headley as saying, “I don’t care who you bring into this ballpark, it’s not going to be an offensive club.”

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN quoted Adrian Gonzalez as saying, “If you put the best lineup in baseball in our park, the numbers would be bad,” He also reportedly said, “When we get on that plane out of San Diego, every hitter is a happy hitter.”

It’s not just our players taking notice. Current Pirates manager Clint Hurdle saw a lot of games in PETCO Park during his tenure as the Rockies manager. Hurdle has said, “The damage that was done was to the home team when this park was built,” when asked about PETCO Park.

This obviously isn’t something we are making up.

Ridding ourselves of the limitations ownership has set by trying to build a team to fit the park

Building a team that fits PETCO Park sounds like a great idea on the surface. This idea might hold more water if PETCO only affected home runs, but it doesn’t. PETCO suppresses all offense including singles. The atmospheric conditions coupled with the dimensions have made PETCO an offensive black hole.

It is the hardest place in baseball to score runs. We’re not sure there is a player who could take advantage of the way PETCO plays. How many players are there in baseball who make exceptional contact, have plus speed, plus defense, a knack for the clutch hit, and the acumen and fortitude to be successful in such a difficult hitting environment? How much does that kind of player cost? To us, that sounds like a player you build around, not players you fill the lineup with while sporting the lowest payroll in baseball. Building a team that fits this park is unrealistic, and that philosophy has been irresponsible. Trying to do this with a lack of resources is impossible. The Padres have tried for years and failed. They haven’t failed to put winning teams on the field, but they’ve failed to make PETCO an advantage.

Building a team that fits the park limits the type of players you can go after in the draft, international market, free agency and in trades. If you’re drafting, signing and trading for a specific type of player, you’re most likely passing up more talented players who may not be suitable for the way PETCO plays. The Padres traded Anthony Rizzo because of this irresponsible philosophy. That outcome remains to be seen. Many considered Cory Spangenberg an overdraft. Was that decision made because of the type of player he is and the ballpark we play in?

Ridding ourselves from the difficulties of signing free-agent position players and retaining those we have developed

According to Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune, Kevin Towers once said, “You can’t put up the numbers at PETCO Park that you can elsewhere. Hitters and agents know it. PETCO Park is not going to help a hitter’s career or negotiating power.”

“The Padres past three general managers – Kevin Towers, Jed Hoyer and Byrnes – have agreed that it is hard for the Padres to sign quality hitters as free agents and to extensions given the dimensions of PETCO Park.”

This disadvantage is self-explanatory. Hitters just don’t want to play here for obvious reasons. Why wouldn’t Adrian Gonzalez give the Padres a hometown discount? Do people honestly believe Adrian was afraid of affecting the market in a negative way for his peers? Give me a break. Adrian didn’t like PETCO Park and spoke out about it numerous times. One example has already been stated. We realize that isn’t the only reason Adrian departed, but we’re convinced it played a role. This is just one example of this disadvantage.

PETCO also hurts the development of our young position players. The hardest step for a prospect is the move from triple-A to the big leagues and PETCO makes it that much harder.

Increasing entertainment value

Our reasoning behind moving in the fences is, and always has been, about entertainment value. Games in PETCO are lowered artificially because of the way PETCO plays. PETCO is diluting the quality of baseball for Padres fans.

A fellow blogger who goes by the name of Field039 once said, “PETCO is an equal opportunity destroyer, it suppresses all offense. During the period of 2004-2007 the Padres put average-to-above offensive teams on the field, yet the basic perception was that the offense sucked. That perception was driven by the suppressive nature of PETCO. No one wanted to hear that the road numbers were well above average, when what they saw at home was a series of one- and two-run games. The other problem with that type of suppressive environment is that it is extremely difficult to dominate when the run differential is suppressed. In other words, when the Padres put a sucky team on the field, PETCO helps to hide the suck. When they put a good team on the field, PETCO tends to neutralize it. I do not want a field that hides the suck; I want a field that separates the men from the boys. If that means they look worse, until they actually put a championship caliber team on the field, so be it.”

We’re not interested in an advantage when we field poor teams. We’re interested in getting rid of the disadvantage PETCO gives us when we field a good team. We think this will put more pressure on the Padres to field a better team and expose weak teams. We don’t want the park to dictate whether we win or lose. We want the talent on the field to dictate our record. We don’t want to win because of a gimmick.

We also feel we speak for the majority of fans when we say more offense is more entertaining. We’re not talking about making PETCO into Coors Field. We’re suggesting exactly what Tom Garfinkel said in the Union Tribune, “We want PETCO Park to remain a pitcher’s ballpark. What we would be considering is an adjustment to eliminate the extreme.”

People love to cite how exciting pitchers duels are, and I couldn’t agree more. Mat Latos dueling Roy Halladay is extremely exciting, but Walter Silva dueling Livan Hernandez is not. Pitchers duels are exciting when they happen between two of the best in the game, not when two scrubs are dueling because of the suppressive nature of a park.

People opposed to moving in the fences claim the opposition doesn’t have a problem hitting here. That simply isn’t true. PETCO suppresses all offense. The offensive numbers put up by the Padres from 2004-2011 are almost identical to the opposition. In fact, our .240 batting average during this period is identical to the opposition’s over the same time period. The opposition has beat us only slightly in each offensive category, and they should have, considering they’ve had over 1,200 more at-bats than us due to the home team losing the last half an inning every time we’re ahead.

Home Runs

Padres

504

Opposition

534

Hits

Padres

5097

Opposition

5379

Extra Base Hits

Padres

1573

Opposition

1680

Runs

Padres

2419

Opposition

2477

Strikeouts

Padres

4599

Opposition

4882

People opposed to moving the fences in claim that our pitchers will be equally affected by a modification. Well, our pitchers and hitters aren’t equally affected by PETCO. This has been proven by the home/road differentials. Our hitters suffer more than our pitchers are aided. These facts suggest our hitters will benefit from the modification more than our pitchers will suffer.

People opposed to moving the fences in also like to pretend we fans blame everything on the fences. That isn’t the case either. We agree, first and foremost, the Padres need to spend more money and increase the talent on the field. We feel moving the fences in would put more pressure on the Padres to do this and expose the poor teams they field. We aren’t blaming their poor play on the park. We are lobbying for them to fix one of the many problems that need fixing, and statistics suggest that moving them in could have a positive affect on wins.

I keep asking the question no one can seem to answer unless the answer is based on some non-existent competitive advantage.

Why shouldn’t we move them in?

More quotes from the Union Tribune say it all:

“Padres players, even a couple of pitchers, support the idea of adjusting the distances at PETCO Park.”

Pitchers should support the idea. Our pitchers are constantly let down by lack of run support and experience more pressure in these artificially lower-scoring games. These artificially low-scoring games have caused us to pull starters early and rely heavily on our fantastic bullpens.

“I’d be in favor of moving them in,” said manager Bud Black.

“I’m very much in agreement with what Tom is talking about,” Byrnes said.

When asked Wednesday about moving in the fences, Black said: “Why not? It’s a great idea to discuss it.”

The players want it, the coaches want it, the front office wants it, and knowledgeable Padres fans who understand the facts want it, so I’ll ask everyone again: Why not?

comments

32 Comments

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  1. Thanks man. I agree with you. I would still like to see Petco play as a pitchers park. With the atmospheric conditions, its hard to imagine it [Petco] playing near hitters friendly in RF, unless they moved them into little league dimensions. I appreciate the feedback, and I am glad it could provide some further insight on a very important subject for many fans in San Diego.

  2. The “should they or shouldn’t they move the fences in?” debate is almost always argued with quick generalizations based on opinions. This article gives incredible insight into the real statistical variances between home/away splits. I’ve been on the fence (so to speak) about this issue, but this article has pushed me securely over to the “move them IN” side. I’d still like to see it as a pitcher’s park, because MLB has plenty of bandbox parks, but not the cavernous park it is. It amazes me that engineers who designed the park (seem to have) ignored the atmospheric effect on the balls hit in the park, especially given the recent history of ballparks built with very specific environmental conditions affecting play (Safeco, Fill in the Telephone Co Park in SF, Coors Field, Fill in the Bank Name Park in PHX).

  3.  What do you not understand about your comment being a misconception?

    “And so do any other decent players from opposing teams”

    ANY? DECENT? Unfortunately for you, the statistics over the last 8 plus years do not back up your comment.

    Historically the opposition is almost hindered identically than the Padres. So, they do Cherry pick stats for a few games here and there if you will. Spin away.

    “As for the San Diego brass and Buddy Black supporting change, why not?
    Anything to help the “Mendoza-hitting” Padres score runs is on the
    table, starting next year when hope is again eternal. But what about
    this season?”

    A possible modification, is not about a reactionary change to solely help the Padres current offensive woes. Bigger picture.

  4. I had planned to put this thing to bed, giving you the last rebuttal. But I see that you’ve decided to drag me back in.

    Adrian, Kemp, Braun, Stanton (yesterday) or dozens of other good hitters have no problem launching bombs at Petco. Two nights ago, the Padres own Mark Kotsay hit a walk-off home run. The problem with the Padres is that they aren’t a power hitting team. Is that a misconception?

    As for the San Diego brass and Buddy Black supporting change, why not? Anything to help the “Mendoza-hitting” Padres score runs is on the table, starting next year when hope is again eternal. But what about this season?

    Hey, pal, you win. I’m throwing in the towel.

  5. Of course we realize that it would raise offense for us and the opposition. What we’re saying is that our offense and our pitching are not equally affected by Petco, so we theorize that the move will help our offense more than it will hurt our pitching because our offense is hurt by Petco more than our pitching is helped. We think this difference is caused by the psycological affect you’re talking about. Playing a series or two each season here is a lot different than playing 81 games a season here.

  6. I have to say I was very against the fences being moved in as I like the quirk of Petco and also prefer to see pitching duels. I also thought that it would aid opposing teams with better players than it would the Padres. However, this article has put a few doubts into my mind and I am now sitting on the fence (pun intended) with regards to moving them in. Good work!

  7.  “You don’t have misconceptions, you just have a different view than the
    Kokes’ and when it comes to this topic they don’t like that.”

    This is one of Steve’s quotes from another piece regarding the fences below:

    “Good hitters like Adrian did just fine at Petco, Mickey. And so do any other decent players from opposing teams”

    Well, that’s a HUGE misconception.

    So, that simply not true at all! Facts>opinions.

    “Has anyone heard what the Padres pitchers think about the fences being moved in?”

    Bill Center said on an article from the U-T that “some” of the pitchers even chimed in and were for a change. Bruce Bochy, Bud Black, Josh Byrnes, Tom Garfinkel, (all for a modification) even the Milwaukee manager was quoted as saying he would welcome a change. Clint Hurdle, another manager who believes the Padres are at a disadvantage.

  8. You don’t have misconceptions, you just have a different view than the Kokes’ and when it comes to this topic they don’t like that.  I personally could care less where the fences are as long as the Padres start winning consistantly.  Has anyone heard what the Padres pitchers think about the fences being moved in?

  9. Re: Park factors–the parkfactors site you dismissed doesn’t explain where their numbers come from, but I’m guessing it’s different that ESPN’s formula, which compares total runs/hits/whatever at a given ballpark against the home team’s  games on the road (e.g., total runs, etc., for both teams in all games).  Interesting metric, I think it blurs the effect of the park a bit.  Parkfactors is likely simply adding up the runs and HRs at each park, regardless of team, finding the mean, and placing parks above or below that mean.  Which, to me, seems more about the park and less about the team.  But whatever, perfect metrics are hard to come by (and I agree that analysis of spray chart data is a hard predictor of what’s to come, but it can give some kind of idea of what might’ve happened).

    In any case, looking at ESPN’s PF values for last year, Busch was the sixth worst, whilst Petco was 3rd; for HRs, Busch was the fourth worst, Petco the seventh.  You’ll see similar stats going back thru 2008, which is what the parkfactors site uses.

    Looking at this year–small sample size warning–Busch is rockin’ it, at number 11 from the TOP in HRs (Petco at 27th), and second in runs (Petco at 23rd).  Note that Citi Field, with their new shorter dimensions, is worse in both categories this year than Petco.

    What do we make of this sudden statistical jump in Busch?  Well, SSS, sure…but I think it’s because they got rid of that dead weight that was Pujols. (note:  Joking)  Whatever it was, it wasn’t due to park dimension changes.  And maybe the other factors at Citi field are a bigger deal than the fences.

    Maybe it has more to do with the teams involved.  I think so.

    BTW, one missing link, for me, in the Koke Bro’s argument, is why you think that changing the dimensions won’t raise all offensive boats, visitors and home alike?  It’s been pointed out how visiting team batters also hate coming to Petco and can’t wait to leave, after having been “Petco’d”.  I’m no psychologist, nor do I play one on TV or the interwebs, but I could postulate that it’s because they don’t play here every day, so that when they come in, they aren’t quite as beaten down as the hometown boys are, so their game is less affected in their heads, even if it is still affected.  Is that it, or is there something more to it?

    Finally, to reiterate my initial point, I’m not totally against changing the dimensions, I just think at this point, it’s not our biggest problem.  All else being equal (which maybe it isn’t, due to psychological issues imposed by Petco that may carry over to road performance as well), that changing it before we improve the team may actually result in more losses at home than ever before.

  10. The bottom line; after eight plus years at PETCO park, knowledgeable fans such as yourself, still have misconceptions regarding PETCO park.

  11. I’m only speaking as a Padre fan who lives in San Diego, Mickey. and a  “knowledgeable fan” at that. I can’t speak for the other fans who commented on your piece, but to assume that they are not knowledgeable is short-sighted. You seem to feel that I’m personally attacking you, which is simply not true. As writers we are subject to public opinion, and no matter how strongly we feel about our views, we sometimes have to listen. If you were to ever comment on one of my columns, critically or not, I would accept it as another person’s take and weigh it accordingly. After all, none of us are perfect, myself included. There’s really nothing left for me to challenge regarding your story, since I would just be repeating what the other posters have observed.

    Covering the Padres is your gig, man. You can write what you want. But it’s a free country and if I, speaking as a Padres fan, do or don’t agree, I’m going to respond. That said, I meant it when I mentioned that I admired your ability as a writer.

  12. Why are you so concerned with what he writes about? If you’re not interested in discussing this topic, why are you here? We are obviously very passionate about this topic and have been for several years. The Padres haven’t made a decision. What better time to recap our opinions than when the decision is limbo? Haters…

  13. Fans still after 8 plus years still have misconceptions regarding Petco, unfortunatly. I cover everything Padres. As I said before, it was a coincidence ownership came out changing their stance as we were going to update the statistics regardless.

  14.  As usual, when you respond you’re critical. I can’t say I am shocked lol

    “As one reader mentioned, however, you’ve used this site as your forum on this subject on several occasions.”

    And as Brian pointed out, the articles were completely different.  And, I talk about all things Padres. From the big  news, and signings or trade etc, to even utility infield battles. Remember that one? I bet you do.

    The last article regarding the fences was calling out ownership for
    telling fans to find something else to champion. This is an overview of
    why they need to be moved in now that ownership has changed their stance.

    “You really don’t need to keep hammering away to solidify your stance. Everyone gets it.”

    I believe the people who matter get it. It was coincidental that the Padres came out during the same time my brother and I, were updating the statistics.

    “I guess what a lot of us who follow the Padres don’t understand is why this matter is so important to you (and your brother).”

    Maybe it just has something to with your preference opposing this view? Just a guess.

    “Even if the dimensions at Petco are altered, no final decisions will be
    made until this winter, after the season is over. Don’t you think there
    are a lot more immediate issues to cover about the Padres?”

    Of course, and his has not been ignored. Again, I cover all things Padres. To imply anything else is extremely misguided.

    “How about ideas on how to fix this team NOW, with over 130 games left to
    play? As a person “in the know,” why don’t you at least speculate on
    the frontrunners for new ownership, and whether or not they intend to
    spend any money improving the product on the field.”

    One thing at a time. And who are you to tell me what to focus on? 

    “These are things that are important to fans. But instead, you (and your
    brother) would rather report on your passionate cause to move in the
    fences, something that has nothing to do with the 2012 season. Maybe
    that’s why attendance at Petco is on pace to be at its lowest point in
    years.”

    It’s a huge discussion. Again, we were going to update it (a completely different premise) regardless of the recent change in stance. You assume a lot. Again, I cover all Padres news. You are focusing on one. One that is important obviously, but not just to us. Obviously or else the Padres ownership wouldn’t be making or disusing a change.

    “As a fellow journalist, Mickey, I don’t mean to be critical.”

    I think you do, but I have no problem explaining it to you either.

    “But judging from reader reactions here and on the Padres site, many
    “knowledgeable fans” either disagree with you or would rather discuss
    more pressing concerns.”

    And many of those “knowledgeable” fans still have misconceptions regarding Petco.

    Did you want to challenge the premiss of the article, (add anything on the subject at hand) or just call yourself as constructive criticism again?

  15. Were you only hired to write on the fences? Why do you guys care so much? The Padres already came out and said they will be exploring moving the fences in this offseason, so why do we still need to talk about this? Move on to something important… like baseball lol

  16. It’s obvious that you (and your brother) have left no stone unturned in your tireless campaign to modify the fences at Petco Park. And all the research you’ve both done over the years is mind-boggling. As one reader mentioned, however, you’ve used this site as your forum on this subject on several occasions. You really don’t need to keep hammering away to solidify your stance. Everyone gets it.

    I guess what a lot of us who follow the Padres don’t understand is why this matter is so important to you (and your brother). Even if the dimensions at Petco are altered, no final decisions will be made until this winter, after the season is over. Don’t you think there are a lot more immediate issues to cover about the Padres? How about ideas on how to fix this team NOW, with over 130 games left to play? As a person “in the know,” why don’t you at least speculate on the frontrunners for new ownership, and whether or not they intend to spend any money improving the product on the field. These are things that are important to fans. But instead, you (and your brother) would rather report on your passionate cause to move in the fences, something that has nothing to do with the 2012 season. Maybe that’s why attendance at Petco is on pace to be at its lowest point in years.

    As a fellow journalist, Mickey, I don’t mean to be critical. Far from it, as I respect your abilities and enjoy reading your posts. And I know the fence subject is controversial and promotes reader interest, especially when presented as a feature story. But judging from reader reactions here and on the Padres site, many “knowledgeable fans” either disagree with you or would rather discuss more pressing concerns.

  17. “Check it out–Busch Stadium has the second worst overall offense-suppression rating behind Petco, and their home run suppression is worse than Petco’s.”
    This comment was ignored because it simply isn’t true.  Not only does Busch Stadium NOT have the second worst overall offense-suppression rating behind Petco, they haven’t even ranked in the bottom 5 in runs for park factor since Petco was built.  Petco on the other hand has ranked dead last 4 times, 29th once, and 28th twice.  Petco has never ranked higher than 26th in park factor for runs.  Busch has ranked as high as 11th.  How do you figure that Busch Stadium’s HR suppression is worse than Petco?  Petco has ranked dead last 3 times and 29th twice.  Busch has never ranked last or 29th and has ranked as high as 8th in HR for park factor.  The same goes for hits.  Busch has ranked last only 1 time in hits for park factor and otherwise hasn’t come close.  Their next lowest ranking for hits in park factor is 23rd with several rankings in the teens.  Their highest in hits was 12th.  The Padres have never ranked higher than 27th in hits for park factor.  They have been dead last 3 times, 29th twice, and 28th twice.  You’re comment is not true and Busch Stadium doesn’t even come close to the suppressive nature of Petco Park.  

    “If Petco is an offense-sucking beast across the board, moving the fences won’t help much.  How does that  help generate more singles?  It won’t.”

    That is your opinion and it depends on how the fences are modified.  Moving in the fences completely changes the dynamic of every single pitch.  Your suggestion of comparing spray charts isn’t a perfect science and this was addressed in the article.  Players change their approach as do pitchers.  Pitchers will not be able to be as aggressive and hitters will get some confidence back.  Baseball like all sports has a lot to do with the psyche.  Taking confidence away from the pitcher and giving it back to the hitters will completely change the dynamic of games in Petco.  There are ways to avoid what you are suggesting might happen.  Instead of moving the RCF gap in, they could move it back to where it was originally.  Then, they could extend the porch significantly and angle it toward the batter rather than immediately angling out.  This would keep pitchers honest by creating a large portion of RF at a very reasonable if not easy HR distance, but keep the outfielders honest because of the enormous power alley in RCF.  This would promote HR, triples, singles, and doubles IMO.  By the way, this wasn’t my idea.  It was suggested to me by another poster. 

    That was a great game last night and an awesome pitchers duel.  Lots of good pitching by good pitchers and an extremely rare HR to RF at night in Petco.  

  18. Re: Cost. The Mets have kept mum on what the project cost.  They also added seating, which would add a lot to the cost, but would be kinda silly in Petco, given how hard it is to fill the seats we have.  $1MM is a larger bag of peanuts to a $52MM salary than to a $100MM salary.  And $1MM is a number I threw out–it’s probably larger.

    I notice you chose to ignore the data about Busch Stadium and the Cardinals.  I don’t think their players are intimidated by their hit/run inhibiting park, and neither would a team who hits a collective .250 or better be intimidated or crushed by Petco.  See the 2010 team for an example.BTW, looking at the blogs and fora for the Mets indicates that move wasn’t greeted with uniform optimism, either.  Several fans were concerned how the move would hurt Jose Reyes’ performance, as it would likely cut down on his doubles and triples (which are, for my money, more exciting than home runs).  Fortunately, they don’t have to worry about that anymore (from him anyway), but that applies to any other hitter with that kind of profile (fast guy, hits line drives).

    If Petco is an offense-sucking beast across the board, moving the fences won’t help much.  How does that  help generate more singles?  It won’t.  Would turn a few warning track hits into doubles, as well as a few more home runs, but it will also cut down on triples and the rare but awesome inside-the-park HR.  And, of course, this applies to both the Padres and the other teams.  The ones with, you know, hitters.

    As for spray charts, the data is there, it just takes plotting it.  See http://www.katron.org/projects/baseball/hit-location/ for a sample application that makes use of the freely available Gameday xml files.  It only goes back to 2008, but it’s pretty cool–the basic idea is to show you how hits in a given park would map onto another.  You can chose, however, to map a park’s hits onto itself, which shows you where stuff landed in that park, for that year.  I’m trusting that Garfinkle’s folks will look at that, whether they make it public or not.

    If it happens in 2013, I certainly won’t howl at the moon in anguish.  But I think it would be better timed–assuming we actually are on a path to actually increase payroll and start bringing up our awesome farm hands over the next 2-3 years–by pushing it out another year or two.

    Nice 2-0 win by the Pads tonight.  Pitcher’s duel AND the impossible after 9PM pinch-hit home run!  Amazing!

  19. Well, Brian collaborated with me on this piece. We have both been talking about this issue for 8 years plus now. We have a very similar view. If he beats me to a response, of course I am not going to be repetitive, and post an almost identical response. Seeing as our views are so close. Or try not to.

    “Great feedback”. Incredibly insightful.

  20.    “Let’s get the payroll up into the $80MM range or above–or, really,
    whenever we get some real hitters on the team–and then put money into
    such an endeavor.  What do you think it would cost?  I’d bet it’d be
    over $1MM.  That won’t buy much, player-wise, but I’d rather it go into
    that pool first in any case, as its a secondary effect, really.”

    The Padres ave the deepest farm system in baseball. I would like to see these kids come up and flourish, not be stifled or intimidated. Citi field, during the off-season made a far more dramatic change to their park. Not only on in specific section, but all the way around the park. I should look to see what their cost would be. In the long scheme of things, 1MM is peanuts.

    From the UT- Braun called it a “special night,” particularly
    because it happened at Petco Park. Before the game, Brewers manager Ron
    Roenicke backed the recent talk about moving in the fences at Petco
    Park.

    Another manager backing the fences.

    Said Braun:
    “There is no doubt that this is one of the most challenging, if not the
    most challenging, place to hit a homer in the league. These nights are
    few and far between.”

    Moving in the fences has always been about entertainment to my brother (Brian) and I. However, when we came across certain statistical evidence that supports we could (not only NOT be at a disatvantage) but possibly gain a competitive advantage compared to other teams. So, suffice it to say, its very interesting, telling and to us. a no brain(er).

    I don’t know if we will see any spray charts privy to the public. Not ones that would show 2004-2011. Bottom line, there is many reasons to modify the fences. Some of the afformentioned reasons above. What’s wrong with making right field, play closer to how left field plays (very big)?

  21. If St. Augustine were alive and in charge of this decision, I’d go with her presumed answer:  “Let us move the fences in…just not now.”

    And what I mean by that is:  Let’s get the payroll up into the $80MM range or above–or, really, whenever we get some real hitters on the team–and then put money into such an endeavor.  What do you think it would cost?  I’d bet it’d be over $1MM.  That won’t buy much, player-wise, but I’d rather it go into that pool first in any case, as its a secondary effect, really.

    Blaming the low home/road win differential on the fences is a bit of a stretch, especially since you make the point that Petco penalizes both the Padres and the visitors equally.  That said, I quibble with that a bit, because the differences on all those hitting stats do favor the other team, and are in the 6-7%range (not insignificant), except for runs, which is 2.4%.  Which also points out that, even though we won more than the other teams, they still tend to outscore us!

    The statistical data I’d like to see are spray charts, with splits for the Padres vs. visitors.  It can be mined from Gameday xml data, but that’s kinda like work.  I’m guessing it’ll show that, historically, moving the fences in would have helped the visitors more than the Padres.  So, until we get ourselves some hitters, we’d see the offensive numbers skew even farther their way, and the win differential with it.  This is not something I’d like to see.  To go from seeing 3-2 losses (and victories) to 8-4 losses is not my idea of a good time.  I hated last night’s game, for example, when Braun brought DOWN the fences.

    Ever look at parkfactors.com?  Check it out–Busch Stadium has the second worst overall offense-suppression rating behind Petco, and their home run suppression is worse than Petco’s.  And yet, look at them winning world series and having power hitters hitting the ball out of the park.  As we agree, it’s players.  That’s the primary concern.  Deal with that, then let’s move the fences.

  22. I’m not sure that having your brother as the article’s most vocal commenter is an effective way of advancing your argument.

  23. Oh please, Mickey writes about all things Padres.  That is a flat out lie.  The last article regarding the fences was calling out ownership for telling fans to find something else to champion.  This is an overview of why they need to be moved in now that ownership has changed their stance.  Care to add anything to the discussion? 

  24. It’s frustrating when people are arguing points already adressed in the article.  You either didn’t read it very well, or it went over your head.  I’m not trying to attack you.  I’m just telling it like it.  It’s a lot easier to run away than challenge my points I guess.

  25.  The article addresses the team. It’s not solely about this years offensive woes. This team is bad. No one is denying that. Bigger picture. It’s not nearly the same article. And for many reasons.

  26. This author only writes about moving the fences in. How about covering the team? We understood from your first article that you want the fences moved in. No reason to re-write the same article again.

  27.  And with that, I give up on commenting. Thanks for impugning my intellect instead of trying to have a reasonable discussion. I at no point attacked the author of this piece (or you) and yet you insist on being pugnacious and implying that I cannot understand your arguments.

    I definitely disagree with you but I have the ability to do it in a civil manner. I’ll be taking my leave of this thread, and this blog, now.

  28. No one is blaming the poor team on the park.  That was specifically addressed as was your comment on the difference in winning percentages.  I guess those points went straight over your head.  Every single team in baseball has a better winning percentage at home than on the road over that 8 year period.  Every team has the advantage of the last out among other things.  When you compare those winning percentages at home and on the road to the rest of the teams in baseball, it clearly shows that we have not been advantageous in PETCO.  Like he quoted from Byrnes, “Since the Padres moved into PETCO Park, this club has the smallest gap between home and road winning percentage in the major leagues,”  You’re ignoring the facts and restating the same old weak arguments.

  29. Feel free to add any of that evidence. Moving that very small section didn’t change the offense because it was an insignificant change.

  30. I would also add that your last sentence really decimates any sympathy someone might have for your perspective when you say this: “and knowledgeable Padres fans who understand the facts want it”

    All your credibility goes down the drain when you insist that anyone who disagrees with your perspective isn’t knowledgeable or somehow doesn’t understand the facts. There is plenty of evidence that suggests that moving the fences won’t boost offense, including the fact that they already tried this and it didn’t change offense.

  31. How about because offense fell off in every way after the fences were moved in after 2006? Unintended consequences. Just because it seems like moving in the fences will boost offense doesn’t mean it will. It could just as possibly further impede offense (doubles and triples could decrease dramatically, as well as base-hits of any kind as defenses have less ground to cover).

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/petco-park-revisited/

    And what do you do when you move the fences and the Padres offense still doesn’t change? At that point, you’ve given into the “extreme park” mentality twice without any success. Doesn’t that pretty much mean at that point that you have to look at the hitters, rather than the park, given that you’ve done everything you can to make things easier for them?

    Finally, the Padres are currently 652-668 since PETCO opened (current game not included), good for an overall winning percentage of 0.493 Over that same time frame, they are 340-322 at PETCO, good for an overall home winning percentage of 0.514. That’s a difference of 21 points, with the Padres owning an overall winning record at PETCO and a losing record on the road. So the team has benefited just fine from PETCO.

    The Padres need high average, line-drive hitters at PETCO. They’re not impossible to find and are cheaper than the prototypical power bats. Moving in the fences isn’t going to improve the team’s ability to make contact.

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