San Francisco Giants plan to move bullpens, bring in center-field fence at Oracle Park
They release renderings of the plan on Thursday
Throughout 2019, the San Francisco Giants dropped hints that cosmetic changes would be coming to Oracle Park. Specifically, the bullpens would be relocated from foul territory, and the outfield wall would be brought in at various points. Thursday afternoon the Giants officially announced their plans for Oracle Park. The center-field wall is being brought in and both bullpens will now be beyond it rather than in foul territory.
The Giants will remove some bleacher seating to accommodate the new bullpens, though they are expected to add premium seats in foul territory, where the bullpens had been located.
Here is the rendering:
And here are the new center-field dimensions:
|CF-LF intersection||CF||CF-RF intersection (i.e. Triples Alley)|
Not only is the wall being brought in eight feet in dead center field, the center-field wall height will be shortened from eight feet to seven feet. The center field wall has moved closer and is not quite as tall, which means a) more homers in general, and b) more home run robberies. Those are always fun.
Here are two other notes and observations from the rendering:
- Fans will be able to look directly into the bullpens from the bleachers and new standing room terraces. There will be a direct view into the home bullpen from the center-field garden.
- There are openings with padded chain link fence in the outfield wall so relievers in the bullpen can see the game. Gates from the bullpen to the field will be built directly into the outfield wall.
On-field bullpens can be dangerous for fielders chasing after foul pop-ups and they are slowly being phased out of baseball. The Cubs recently moved the bullpens under the bleachers at Wrigley Field, and now the Giants have moved them beyond the outfield wall. Tropicana Field (Rays) and the Oakland Coliseum (Athletics) are the only remaining parks with on-field bullpens.
Since opening in 2000, what is now known as Oracle Park has been one of the most pitcher-friendly ballparks in the major leagues. Not counting SunTrust Park, which opened three years ago, no stadium has allowed fewer home runs (933) than Oracle Park since 2012. Marlins Park, which opened in 2012, has given up 1,003 homers during that time, the second fewest.
Personnel plays a role in that -- the Giants have not had a 30-homer guy since Barry Bonds in 2004 -- but, watch enough games at Oracle Park, and you know it plays very big. The field of play is large and the marine layer knocks down fly balls at night. After two decades with the same dimensions, the Giants have brought in the center-field wall, and a little more offense should follow.
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