DETROIT – The Detroit Tigers are moving in the center field fence and lowering some outfield walls at Comerica Park before the start of next season.
Comerica Park’s spacious outfield has long been a point of contention among players and fans. Though the park hasn’t been an outlier in terms of overall offense because of deep right-center and left-center alleys, few stadiums turn more long fly balls into outs.
The Tigers announced Wednesday (Jan. 11) that after gathering feedback from fans, players, and stakeholders, they’re planning to make major adjustments.
New outfield dimensions, wall heights
By Opening Day, the center field wall will be brought in from 422 feet (the actual laser-measured distance) to 412 feet. That’s still the second-deepest center field behind Coors Field in Colorado (415 feet).
The height of the wall is being adjusted in multiple “key areas,” as well, most notably above the out-of-town scoreboard in right-center field. That wall will be lowered from 13 feet to seven feet in height.
The center field and right field walls are being lowered from 8.5 feet to seven feet in height.
“The foundation of the entire outfield wall will be reconstructed with material and padding that enhances player safety,” the release says.
More accurate laser measurements determined the left field corner at Comerica Park should be re-labeled to its actual distance of 342 feet from home plate, as opposed to 345.
Reasons for change
Tigers officials said these changes are being made with the goal of rewarding batters who hit the ball to the deepest parts of the park, while also maintaining a the rate of extra-base hits in the gaps.
Lower walls will encourage more “electric defensive plays,” such as home run robberies, according to the team.
“This has been a topic of conversation for quite some time within our organization,” Tigers President Scott Harris said. “We’re confident that this plan accomplishes our goals of improving offensive conditions on the hardest hit balls, while maintaining Comerica Park’s unique dimensions and style of play.”