Well, the San Diego Padres are the newest organization to give a big middle finger to traditionalist baseball fans by announcing they would move their outfield fences in for the 2013 season. Petco Park will follow Safeco Field in Seattle, Citi Field for the New York Mets before the 2012 season, and the ridiculous right field porch at the new Yankee Stadium.
What happened to the good old days? What happened to stadiums like the Polo Grounds (483 feet to the center field wall)? Okay, that’s a bit extreme. But still, since when does giving in to the fan’s thirst for the long ball take precedence over classic, fundamental baseball?
I’ll tell you when. It was 1998 when a juiced-up Mark McGwire hit a then-record 70 home runs in the same season Sammy Sosa hit 66. In 2001, Barry Bonds got so big it looked like he would have trouble lifting his arms above his shoulders, and he smacked 73 home runs in a single season.
Even though everyone and their mothers know those numbers were inflated, Americans really fell in love with the home run. And it’s understandable – to most fans, there is nothing more majestic than a perfectly squared up fastball hitting the upper deck on the fly. It’s the biggest, hardest, farthest, most impressive feat a batter can accomplish.
But we have the Home Run Derby every July, so why can’t we get our fix then? When the Mets decided to move their fences in to a more attainable distance, for lack of nicer terms, it didn’t help. They still finished in fourth place in the NL East, and star third baseman David Wright didn’t see a huge jump in his power numbers.
So what’s the big deal? Personally, I think it’s a cop-out. Did the Yankees really need a joke of a right-field fence? Did the Mariners really finish in fourth place because their fences were too deep? If the Padres get better in 2013, is it going to be because the fences were 11 feet closer? Or because they have a better team in general, regardless of the stadium?
Mets GM Sandy Alderson admitted that when the Mets decided to move the fences in at Citi Field, it was because “scoring brought excitement.” Well Sandy, so does winning.
The San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers have two of the most pitcher-friendly parks in baseball, and neither team were a power threat in their own stadiums in 2012. They finished 1-2 in the NL West and now the Giants are in the World Series.
Let’s ban the moving of the fences (and the wave while we’re at it…sheesh), and put together teams that thrive on base hits, good base running, bunting, defense and pitching.
You know…how baseball is supposed to be.
Alas, chicks dig the long ball. Fences will continue to move. But are you for or against it? This blogger says nay. Vote below:
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
I was lucky enough to attend game 3 of the ALDS between the Orioles and Yankees in the Bronx. It ranks up there among the best games I’ve ever attended, thanks to one Raul Ibanez. I was able to capture the game-tying home run on video from the left field bleachers. You can hear the fans second-guessing Joe Girardi’s decision to bench Alex Rodriguez. Their second-guessing changed with just one pitch.
Sadly though, my phone died as I was trying to record Ibanez’s game-winning home run in the bottom of the 12th. Ibanez also knocked that one out of the park on the first pitch.
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
Baseball is full of rivalries. Yankees vs. Red Sox. Giants vs. Dodgers. Cardinals vs. Cubs. Mapes vs. Jeremy. Alright, maybe not the last one. An underrated rivalry though is the battle of garlic fries between AT&T Park in San Francisco and Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. I’ve broken down the deliciousness that is the Yankees version in a previous Chowin’ Down. I went to San Francisco for the first time this past weekend and had one objective, garlic fries. After having had both, let’s see if we can see which ballpark has the greater garlic fries.
Yankee Stadium: Small-$7.00, Large-$9.50 and add cheese for $.50
AT&T Park: $7.50, $11.50 with chicken tenders
Where Can I Buy Them?
Yankee Stadium: One stand in each section, behind 108, 205 and 331
AT&T Park: Behind sections 103, 118, 130, 311, 323, 331 and in lower center field
Advantage: AT&T Park
Can I Get a Cheesesteak in the Same Place?
Yankee Stadium: No
AT&T Park: Yes
Advantage: AT&T Park, though always make sure you bring a friend to stand in the cheesesteak line while you’re in the garlic fries line
Do They Make Your Mouth Water?
Oh come on, they both did: Advantage: Push
I can assure you both are near the pinnacle of ballpark delciousness. Giants fries were crispier, but had a little more olive oil. Yankees fries were soggier, but the garlic meshed better with the fries. Advantage: Yankee Stadium, slightly
Both are awesome choices on either coast. Rejoice Giants fans, I’m giving your fries the edge just based on the the fact that I can get them in more places in the stadium and I don’t have to wait in line for my 2nd favorite ballpark food, the cheesesteak.
Which garlic fries do you prefer? Is there another ballpark’s that I need to try? Let us know in the comments!
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
It has become my new Yankee Stadium tradition to make sure I grab a Carl’s cheesesteak and more importantly some delicious garlic fries. When I was offered tickets to see David Price and CC Sabathia on Thursday night I was almost as excited for my impending ace food match-up as the ace pitching match-up on the field. When you think Yankee Stadium you think expensive prices. The cheesesteak is $10.75, not bad at all when compared to a restaurant cheesesteak. While the garlic fries are $7.00 for a small and $9.50 for a large and worth every penny. Cheese added is only 50 cents, sounds like a bargain to me. I prefer mine with only steak and cheese, but you can add on sauteed onions and mushrooms if you prefer.
It tastes even better than it looks!
The Yankees fan in front of me in line recommended that you put the garlic fries ON the cheesesteak for maximum enjoyment. I would like to take time to applaud him for his efforts in stadium food excellence.
Now I’ve heard from Giants fans that their garlic fries at AT&T Park are even better than these. If they can top the ones at Yankee Stadium that will be quite the feat. The one gripe about Yankee Stadium garlic fries. You have to wait in TWO lines to get both of these. Why they aren’t sold together in the same area I have no idea. I implore Yankees food executives to start selling them in the same booth so fans can get back to watching the game quicker.
What’s your favorite stadium food? Leave a comment!