Safeco is huge. But do players adjust their behavior because of it?
By Mike Salk
Editor’s note: This is Mike Salk’s latest story for USS Mariner. Dave Cameron of USSM writes a weekly column for the Brock and Salk blog focusing on baseball from a statistical perspective.
A few weeks ago, I walked into the visitorâ€™s dugout at Safeco Field and bumped into a player I had covered when I was reporting on the Red Sox. He asked me how I liked Seattle and then started talking about how great the city is and how much he liked the park.
â€œThis place is great,â€ he told me. â€œBut they need to move the fences in.â€
He went on to tell me about an at bat he had had at Safeco where he hit â€œright on the screws.â€ Of course, he pulled it to left field and the ball ended up just making the warning track.
â€œI crushed that ball,â€ he said as he shook his head. â€œUnbelievable.â€
Thatâ€™s a quick anecdote to reinforce what you already know: Safeco is huge. And its dimensions, specifically the deep fence in left field (331 feet down the line and 388 feet to the left-center alley) can change the game. Iâ€™m sure youâ€™ve seen tons of hard data on how hard it is to generate offense in Safeco, specifically for a right-handed pull hitter. Clearly, the players all know that Safeco is a little different from other parks.
But do they change their behavior because of it?
To read the rest of Salk’s story, go to USS Mariner.