Interim CEO Tom Garfinkel's decision to explore bringing in the fences at Petco Park has received the backing of Padres manager Bud Black and general manager Josh Byrnes.
Given the fact that he is a former major-league pitcher and pitching coach, Black's backing of the idea surprised some observers Wednesday.
"I'd be in favor of moving them in," said Black. "Why not? I think it's a great idea to discuss it."
The Padres had previously discussed shortening the fences at Petco Park in 2005 and in 2008. Blueprints were drafted in 2008 showing shorter distances. Then club president Sandy Alderson favored shortening the distances to right field and right center in 2008.
But those plans died when John Moores sold the Padres to Jeff Moorad's group early in 2009. As CEO, Moorad opposed any changes to Petco Park's dimensions. However, the mood has changed again since Major League Baseball rejected Moorad as an owner and he resigned last month as the Padres CEO. Even before Moorad departed, Garfinkel and Byrnes disagreed with Moorad's stance on Petco Park.
Coincidentally, one of the first things Alderson did as the CEO of the Mets was to initiate the shortening of the fences at CitiField.
"I've watched games at CitiField and I think the changes have enhanced the game and the fans' experience," said Byrnes.
As for petitioning MLB to approve the changes to Petco Park if a new owner isn't onboard, Byrnes said he didn't see that being a barrier. "I think the timing would work," said Byrnes. "And I think the changes would make the fans happier for a new owner coming in."
Padres players, even a couple of pitchers, generally support the idea of adjusting the distances at Petco Park.
"The Padres should definitely explore making Petco Park fairer to the hitter," said outfielder Mark Kotsay, who has played at Petco Park both as a visitor and a Padre.
Added catcher Nick Hundley: "I don't think this place needs a complete overhaul. But there are places that don't play fair. The sign in right-center says 400 (feet) but it plays like 420. I'd like to see that area shortened and maybe have the visiting bullpen moved out there."
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