Petco had the nickname among those in San Diego as Petco National Park. Rumor is that the park was purposely built to favor the pitchers and, more precisely, hold down the number of home runs hit by Barry Bonds. Pitchers love the park and hitters dislike it. In the early days, Phil Nevin resorted to making gestures at the owners box when a hard hit ball of his dropped in for a double rather than a home run
Over the winter, the Padres made changes to the park to bring the outfield power alleys further in.
In left-center, the fences were moved in from 402 feet to 390 feet.
The dimensions remained the same down the left-field line (336 feet), right-field line (322) and straightaway center (396).
Did it work? Here is the data from last year and this year. I included Nats park as a control. Nats park is one of the most fair parks in MLB for pitchers and hitters. An interesting note, Nats Park has been particularly stingy year. I think that might have to do with the ridiculously home run happy series in Cincinnati distorting the numbers and the colder than normal weather this year. For these charts a score of 1 is average.
As you can see, Petco has moved up and is playing closer to fair.
- With subtle changes, Padres hope Petco plays fair (mlb.mlb.com)
- Petco Park scoffed at previous predictions (utsandiego.com)
- “Old” Petco was dull, but good for Padres teams (utsandiego.com)
- Exposing the Impact of Shortened Fences on MLB Home Run Totals (bleacherreport.com)
- Padres to break in new fences starting Tuesday (sacbee.com)