PEORIA, Ariz. — The suggestion that Safeco Field is a tough hitters’ park never fails to rouse Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon. The topic came up again Thursday in his pre-game news briefing prior to the game against Cleveland at Peoria Stadium.
“It’s false,” he said. “I mean that. Go to Comerica (Park in Detroit) if you want to see a big ballpark. It’s 430 (feet) to straightaway center and about 415 to right center. Safeco is not a big place.”
OK, that appears to qualify as hyperbole. The Tigers list their park’s dimensions as 420 feet to center and 365 to right-center. In contrast, the Mariners list Safeco as 401 to center, and 381 to the right power alley.
But…McClendon is certainly right about Safeco being a lot cozier than it used to be. The fences came in 4-to-17 feet prior to the 2013 season, and the size of the wall became standard at 8 feet.
“Listen, Washington came in (last year) and made Safeco look real small,” McClendon said. “(Nelson) Cruz hit the ball out (against Felix Hernandez) and made it look small.”
The Nationals hit 10 homers in a three-game series at Safeco, while Cruz hit a low laser for a homer against Hernandez on July 25 while playing for Baltimore.
“It looks big when you have guys who have their puppy muscles,” McClendon said. “They get their man muscles, it becomes small. It will be small for us now.”
FURBUSH ON BOARD
Lefty reliever Charlie Furbush is one of 18 major-league players picked for the advisory board of the Taylor Hooten Foundation, an advocate against appearance and performance-enhancing drug use by youths.
The foundation said Furbush and other players will participate in “educational activities in their local communities as well as in print, radio and TV public-service ads.”