It’s Official – Safeco Fences Moving In for 2013
Today the M’s officially announced that they’ll be moving Safeco Field’s fences in for next season. Greg Johns has a story with a graphic highlighting the changes here. As you’d expect, the big change will occur in the left field power alley. While most of the fence in RF and the LF corner will come in by just 4 feet, the fence in left center will move in from about 12 to 17 feet. In addition, the hand-operated scoreboard that forms part of the wall in the LF corner will be moved, giving the wall a uniform height of 8′ – the scoreboard made the wall 16′.
The M’s apparently tired of playing in an extreme environment, and while I’ve generally been supportive of the current/’old’ dimensions, this year has offered a powerful argument for change. The park factors for RHB at Statcorner are amazing. For righties, Safeco is playing like a perfectly inverted Coors Field, circa 1998. That’s not good, and it was starting to impact the M’s ability to build a competitive team. Beatwriter emeritus Ryan Divish said this on twitter: “It’s a well known fact that right-handed hitters didn’t want to come Seattle. Word of mouth from former players (Beltre) spread quickly.” If true, and I can’t believe it isn’t given that Beltre is alive and can speak, that’s the sort of thing that swing the argument. Yeah, yeah, Jason Vargas probably isn’t too happy right now, but I understand the move, and I certainly can’t argue against it.