(CBS Seattle) – That giant outfield in Safeco Field — which has scared free agent hitters away from playing for the Seattle Mariners — will soon be a thing of the past. Portions of the stadium’s outfield wall are being moved in prior to the 2013 season, creating a more hitter-friendly park.
The revisions are the first for the stadium which opened in 1999.
Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik said the organization’s goal was to create an environment that is fair for both hitters and pitchers — and he thinks the new layout can make it happen.
The biggest change will be from the left field power alley area to straightaway center, where the wall will be as much as 17-feet closer to home plate. Instead of a distance of 390 feet, hitters will only have to launch the ball 378 feet for a home run. The hand-operated scoreboard in the left field corner will no longer be in play and will be moved to a different area of left field.
The distance at the power alley in right field is shrinking from 385 feet to 381 feet.
Some power hitters like Adrian Beltre had seen their numbers drop after having to play 81 home games per season at Safeco Field.
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