Citi Field Fits In With History of Ballpark Changes

From Andrew Keh at The New York Times on November 2, 2011, with mention of SABR member Gary Gillette:

When the Mets alter the playing dimensions at Citi Field — installing new outfield fences closer to home plate — the changes will symbolize an admission that the club, after enduring three seasons of grief and long flyouts, had erred in its original design.

But the Mets are hardly the first team to tinker with its park.

In recent years, fiddling with walls and altering dimensions has seemed to become an almost standard practice for relatively new ballparks. In fact, even some iconic stadiums, aesthetically etched into the collective memory of fans, look little today the way they did half a century ago.

“There’s this idea, particularly amongst baby boomers and people of a certain age, that ballparks never change,” said Gary Gillette, a co-chairman of the Society for American Baseball Research’s ballparks committee. “But throughout history, they have been altered with great regularity.”

He added: “Wrigley Field of today is nothing like the Wrigley Field of 90 years ago, or even 40 years ago. But people focus on the iconic things.”

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Originally published: November 1, 2011. Last Updated: November 1, 2011.