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Mariners to move fences in at Safeco

The Seattle Mariners will move in the fences at Safeco Field, and the biggest change will be the left field power alley being brought in as much as 17 feet.

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Discussing the movement of fences at Safeco

With the news that the Seattle Mariners will be moving in the fences at Safeco Field comes a new debate about whether or not the changing of dimensions will be a good idea. Some are in favor, while others think it's not necessary. Let's take a closer look.

Here's what we know from Jeff Sullivan's analysis over at Lookout Landing:

The foul lines are staying the same, and right field is staying the same. Elsewhere, the fences are being moved in a minimum of four feet and a maximum of 17 feet, and also the hand-operated scoreboard in left field will be relocated and thus will no longer be in play. So the fence height in left field will be dropped from 16 feet to eight feet, making it eight feet high all the way around. The big staggering difference is in the left-center power alley, which will no longer point at right-handed batters and make threats at them.

Although that doesn't seem too extreme, it's enough to make some pitchers and hitters take some different precautions/chances during the game, which can certainly affect the outcome. Some people will love it, some will hate it, but it's going to happen so you might as well get used to it.

Here is Sullivan again with the commentary:

I've been in favor of adjustments for some time, because I like the idea of a more neutral ballpark, and I like the idea of removing the dimensions as an excuse or frustrated talking point. People have been complaining about the deep fences for years and while the deep fences presumably haven't been the problem, as much as talent has been the problem, now people will have to talk about something else, unless the adjusted fences are still too deep.

For a team that hasn't been to the postseason in over a decade, it may be time to shake things up a bit at Safeco Field.


Mariners GM aims to make Safeco easier to hit in

It only takes one look at the hitting stats for the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field to realize why the fences are taking a big step towards homeplate.

The Mariners have had one of the worst offenses in all of the major leagues the last few years, and playing in the incredibly spacious Safeco Field hasn't done any favors. As fan frustration seemed to hit a boiling point this year after watching towering fly ball after towering fly ball get caught at the warning track, the organization decided it was time to bite the bullet and pull the fences in a bit.

"Our goal was to create an environment that is fair for both hitters and pitchers,'' Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said in a press release. "Considering the current field dimensions as well as the climate in and around Safeco Field, we feel this will be accomplished with this new layout."

Zduriencik also pointed out the issues that come with the Mariners playing so many games in such a hard place to hit the ball out of the park makes it hard on the hitters, especially the youthful Mariners.

As Larry Stone of the Seattle Times wrote, the issue isn't as simple as making it easier for the youngsters to hit it out of the park. The Mariners haven't been able to attract a marquee slugger to the Pacific Northwest, and the reputation of Safeco Field probably has a lot of unspoken say about that.

No player, even a handsomely compensated one, is going to want to go to a place where (the baseball world is convinced) his statistics would shrivel up. And trust me: Every hitter in baseball knew about the offensive problems at Safeco. Now, the Mariners stand a fighting chance of convincing players -- particularly right-handed hitters -- that they can come to Seattle and not wither away.


Mariners players react to Safeco fence news

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times spoke with a few of the Mariners players about the proposed Safeco Field fence realignment.

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