Walls. What do they really do?
They keep us from what we want. They close in on us when we’re losing our minds. They muffle the sex of our neighbors. At Citi Field in Flushing, they are part of smothering a baseball culture that has come to include domestic abuse and packs of stray dogs.
So stymied by their contemporary failures, the New York Mets have turned their attention away from the horrific screams of their unending disabled list and the constant shrugging of Jose Reyes‘ free agency for a second. Now, they are focused on the dimensions of their home, a place with a reputation of turning home runs into casual outs.
Citi Field opened its doors in 2009, making any impending structural alterations just another chapter of the facility’s traumatic childhood. A man named Jody Gerut of the visiting San Diego Padres stepped up to the plate as the first player ever to do so at the new stadium and waited two pitches before becoming the first to ever hit a home run there.
Things didn’t improve from there for the Mets. Or anyone else who was trying to hit a home run there.
In July of that season, however, they acquired Jeff Francoeur from the Braves; a young outfielder once touted as the “The Natural” who wasn’t yet aware that his best days were far, far behind him. The deal wasn’t significant for any baseball-playing reason; in the vein of Citi Field’s structure, however, Francoeur would become a rather active mouthpiece.
"“They’ve got to shorten the park a little bit. It’s huge. I’m not saying to make a bandbox like Philadelphia. But, I mean, poor David hits the ball to right-center so well.”–Jeff Francoeur“Citi Field is a damn joke.”–Jeff Francoeur"
Of course, the Mets’ injuries, clubhouse cliques, and sad, painful collapses were also a big part of their disappointing seasons since 2007. Perhaps altering the length of the fences to fit the hitting styles of their players didn’t even occur to them. But these are just several pieces of a long and sadly uninformed history of Jeff Francoeur saying things in public. He would go on to disappoint a ton of people while allowing Delta Airlines to reach shoulder-deep up his rectum to speak on their behalf.
But he was certainly vocal, and surprisingly, not entirely wrong. Other players who played 81 games a year there would grumble about the disadvantage of having to play baseball in a place where a 415-foot fly ball wasn’t necessarily an RBI.
So the Mets have finally decided to even the playing field by doing literally just that. In an NL East divsion where the Phillies continue to dominate and the young Braves and Nationals are just waiting for the youth to finish developing, now is the time to lose the ornamental facets of any shortcomings.
And certainly, Jeff Francoeur may look forward to a post-baseball career in architectural advising. Although some may argue that anything he’s done since 2009 would qualify as a “post-baseball” career.