They’re making it easier to slug home runs at Marlins Park. They’re also making it easier to steal them. Not only are they bringing in the fences in some places at Marlins Park — one of the most challenging ballparks in the majors for long-ball hitters — they’re also lowering them.
“We were getting a lot of feedback from both players and some fans about bringing them in and getting more offense,” said team executive Claude Delorme, while showing off the changes during a media tour on Monday. “[Players] wanted to also be able to steal a home run.”
Starting next season, they’ll finally have that chance. The fences are being lowered in left and right fields, from 11 1/2 feet to 7 feet. And they’re shortening the distances from center to right-center by as much as 11 feet.
“The lower fences will give you a chance to rob a home run,” said Christian Yelich, the Marlins’ Gold Glove left fielder. “Before there wasn’t a chance because of how high the fences were.”
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The distance from home plate to center, which was 418 feet previously, will shrink to 407 feet. Delorme said the project will cost about $500,000 and be completed in time for Opening Day on April 5. The shorter dimensions shouldn’t have much of an impact on Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who “hits the ball a mile,” Delorme said.
But it should result in more homers for the other Marlins — and, conversely, for opponents. Still, team president David Samson said analytical studies indicate that the changes could result in two to three more wins a season for the Marlins.
“I think, especially for our players who play 81 [home] games, the combination of lowering the fences and bringing the fences in will be a positive change,” Delorme said. “Everybody loves to see home runs and higher scores, so this should give [fans] the opportunity to see that.”