It was called the Mo’ Zone when it opened up and it was supposed to be one of the featured quirks of Citi Field.
It was an interesting crevice designed to ping pong balls around the outfield and it took its cue from Citi Field’s inspiration Ebbet’s Field, essentially it’s the reverse of the protruding right field scoreboard that graced the outfield wall at McKeever and Sullivan.
Unfortunately it didn’t work.
Three years ago, the Mets brought the fences in taking away the Great Wall of Flushing and the Mo’ Zone quirk. Home run became more frequent, but at the same time, the gap to right center still remained. It hurt gap hitters like David Wright, who made his living putting balls off the right center field wall at Shea and now those hits are outs.
“It’s a psychological thing,” manager Terry Collins said. “You think you got it and they run back and catch it. I have no problem with this park. But if you hit it they go.”
That’s all well and good and a guy like Lucas Duda has 27 home runs, so he obviously doesn’t have a problem hitting the ball out of Citi Field.
“This park is a fair park,” Collins said. “You have to hit them here. There are nights that don’t move here, due to the humidity and due to the wind. They just don’t carry here. Every single day it’s a tough place to hit. It affected Jason Bay. It affected David a bit.”
However, the Mets have good young pitching that have proven can pitch anywhere. Small park or big park, these guys can get outs. What the Mets do not have is a consistent offense and more importantly they have large amounts of money due to players like Curtis Granderson and Wright, who are clearly affected by the Citi Field dimensions.
So if the Mets are planning on putting a competitive team out there in 2015, they can start by helping two of their highest paid players.
By moving right center in by 10 or 15 feet, the Mets will help boost their offensive numbers and also – get this – maybe attract a free agent or two. The club is learning that they have to shell out top dollar for them to attract the high end offensive free agents, since no one wants to come to Citi Field and see their careers go down the toilet.
And because the Mets are not planning on spending much this offseason, they will have to have due with what they have. Boosting Wright and Granderson will only help their struggling offense.
This isn’t like 2011, where a major overhaul in dimensions was in order. Left field plays well with the Party City Deck gobbling up homers. However, right field still has a lot to be desired. It’s no longer called the Mo’ Zone. In fact, there is a New Era sign out there now. How aptly named, because it’s time to put this failed quirk out of its misery and solve the Mets right field problem once and for all.