A little more than a year after the Ian O’Connor helped facilitate Willie Randolph’s firing as Mets manager, the Bergen Record columnist has once again gone public raising a point Fred and Jeff Wilpon would probably prefer remain unexplored. To wit, O’Connor has come to a conclusion that’s pretty obvious to anyone who has spent more than a game or two watching the Mets hit fly ball after fly ball to the Citi Field warning track ; the Amazins’ new park is killing their (last standing) franchise (position) player.
œIt™s a big park, David Wright said.
Big enough to keep the Mets without a homer for 80 consecutive innings before Brian Schneider and Fernando Tatis finally went deep in the seventh.
œThat™s not a part of our game, Wright said of home runs.
It™s no longer a part of his.
Teams are supposed to match ballparks to stars, and stars to ballparks. Ryan Howard in Citizens Bank Park. Babe Ruth in the Bronx.
Citi Field can™t stand David Wright, and David Wright can™t stand it back. He™d never say that for public consumption, of course, because Wright is the closest thing to Derek Jeter the Mets have ever had.
He™s the face of the franchise. He™s baseball™s official ambassador to Queens.
So at his postgame locker, or on his way to the showers and a flight to St. Louis for the All-Star Game, Wright wouldn™t say that Citi Field has emasculated him. He wouldn™t say the Mets™ new ballpark has stripped him of the power that was good for 33 homers last year and 30 the year before.
He™ll just say this of his mammoth double in his mammoth arena: œI hit it to the big part of the park. ¦ I need to hit it down the lines more.
The trade of Shea Stadium for Citi Field pilfered a valuable part of Wright™s game. He has five homers in 327 at-bats “ five “ and two since May 7th.
And that™s why he was standing at second base in the first, shaking his head and crunching his eyes into a pained squint.
Citi Field’s ample dimensions don’t account for Wright’s paucity of HR’s when hitting away from home, but there’s cause for concern just the same.