Seriously. I'm not kidding.
Those adjustments are completely necessary because the team announced on Tuesday afternoon that Safeco Field — one of baseball's most pitcher-friendly ballparks since its opening in July of 1999 — will be undergoing some alterations this winter, and those alterations revolve around moving the fences in — in some areas drastically — to help even the playing field among hitters and pitchers.
The fence will be moved in from four to 17 feet at different points in left field and four feet from straight center field to the right-center gap. Additionally, the 16-foot-high hand-operated scoreboard down the left-field line will be moved back and no longer be part of the fence, so the outfield wall will be eight-feet high all the way around the park.
Distances directly down the lines will remain the same, so the changes primarily affect the power alleys in left-center and right-center.
"Our goal was to create an environment that is fair for both hitters and pitchers," general manager Jack Zduriencik said in a statement. "Considering the current field dimensions, as well as the climate in and around Safeco Field, we feel this will be accomplished with this new layout."
The image below might give you a better idea of the Mariners' plans, which by the way have already been approved by Major League Baseball.
In addition to those adjustments for the pitchers, it'll be very interesting to see how much this changes (if at all) the attitude of impending free-agent hitters who may have crossed the Mariners off their lists early due to the pitcher-friendly atmosphere. Obviously that's not a factor for all hitters, but those looking to rehab their numbers for a payday down the road may be more inclined to field and accept Seattle's offer.
Time will tell us how that all works out, but this looks like a pretty smart — if not overdue — move for the Mariners to make heading into 2013.
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