The Mets should have built their new stadium for their "franchise" player. Although they probably laid out the plans for building Citi Field before they drafted David Wright, they should've changed things up a little bit once they got him.
Last season, David Wright's power numbers plummeted in stunning fashion. Although he still managed to bat .307, his home run total went down from a career-high 33 in 2008 to 10 in 2009. That's a 66 percent drop off. His RBI total went down from a career-high 124 in 2008 to 72 in 2009. That's a 42 percent drop off.
When the Mets noticed that Wright had lost that much in power productivity, they should have changed things up a little bit in the offseason. What the Mets did was lower the center field fence, which had no relevance because no matter what, no one is hitting a home run to dead center.
What they should've done was bring the fence in from center field or right-center where it's as deep as 415 feet away. Really, the actual move they should've made was to bring the left field fence in or at least cut the high 16-foot wall in half. There were rumors that they had plans of cutting the left field fence to eight feet, but that never happened.
They assumed, and you know what that does, in the offseason that Wright just had to work on his swing to regain his power stroke. They sent him to Port St. Lucie along with Jeff Francoeur, of all people, to work with hitting coach Howard Johnson.
In spring training, Wright was driving the ball a little more and his first at-bat of the season at Citi Field resulted in a home run to the opposite field off of Josh Johnson. Now that was pretty impressive and made people believe or at least hope that the David Wright of seasons 2005-2008 was back.
Later on in the opening home stand of this season, Wright hit a ball to deep left field. Wright, thinking he had a home run, started to trot around the bases. When he looked up, he realized that the ball hit off the very top of the left field fence. He hustled into second with a double. That was a game in which Rod Barajas hit two home runs. Wright kind of laughed in the dugout, wondering when he'd ever hit like that at Citi Field.
There are other players hitting home runs at the new ballpark, but they are players who don't have reputations of being major home run hitters in their careers. So when they have a chance, they run into one.
Wright's problem is, he knows this stadium is nothing like old Shea Stadium. So when he comes to the plate, he presses too hard to try and lift the ball. Most of the time, being his swing is so long and his uppercut is so exaggerated, he strikes out or hits a ball deep but it dies on the warning track.
At the same time, Wright has hit six road home runs this season. He became the first Mets player since Dave Kingman in 1978 to hit six road home runs in a team's first 12 road games.
It's time for the Mets to realize that they are ruining what David Wright used to be, and should be all about. Maybe they can't do it this season, but if this continues and they want Wright to produce, and want him to want to stay a Met, they must do something about the outfield construction.
Move those fences in and hope this guy doesn't have Citi Field in his head for the foreseeable future, otherwise the Mets ruined one of their most successful home grown players in franchise history.