Citi Field Is the New Petco Park(?)

Next Big Thing is MLB FanHouse's look at emerging teams, trends and stars in 2009.

In 2009, the Mets will debut Citi Field: The House That Bernie Madoff Built.

The assumption is that Citi Field is going to play like a pitcher's park, as Shea Stadium did. Its dimensions support that, indicating it will be more of a pitcher's park than Citizens Bank Park, one of the parks that Citi was modeled after. But will it be the type of kryptonite for hitters that Petco is?

I'm not so sure it's going to be quite that bad. In fact, there's every possibility that Citi, for its power alleys of 379 and 383 yards, could play as a hitter's park. There's no way to know, but a hint came almost immediately after the season when David Wright, Daniel Murphy, and Nick Evans held a batting practice session (which was supposed to be secret) in the new park and the ball jumped off their bats, reaching the seats easily. Why would this happen?

Citizens Bank Park, for example, is a launching pad in part because of the dimensions and the short fences, but in part it's because the field was built 23 feet below street level. Citi's field though, from all indications, lies right at street level. So balls aren't going to fly out at the rate that they do in Philadelphia, and most likely the super secret batting practice session was more a result of batting practice fastballs rather than any sort of funky aerodynamics. Most likely, the park is going to play fair and batters will have to earn their big flies. But in all probability, Petco will safely remain the largest cave in baseball.

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