Despite being the home of the single-season and career home run leader, AT&T Park has not been conducive to hitting dingers. Bonds
could can hit dingers out of anywhere because he can vaporize baseballs with a snap of his fingers. Here’s him christening McCovey Cove with a leathery boy.
Here’s him hitting one just to the right of the flag poles.
Here’s him hitting one over Triples Alley to set said single-season home run record.
AT&T Park is the house that Bonds built, but in building it, Bonds didn’t think about the dimensions serving the common man. If I, a 6’ 4” dude, hang a mirror at eye level, my partner, a 5’4” gal, isn’t going to be able to look into it. Mortal sluggers can’t hit dingers out of AT&T with the same aplomb and ease as Bonds. That’s why Brian Sabean lamented that it’s so difficult to attract power hitters to AT&T Park.
Well, it’s damn near impossible because on the free agent market a power hitter is not necessarily gonna want to come here because they know the park factor. If you want to be more cryptic about it, the people who have success here have to be pull hitters. They have to be right-handed pull hitters or left-handed pull hitters. That’s very tough to find.
The Giants essentially have two options in building a team for 2019 and beyond. Focus on pitching and build a team of contact hitters with doubles power OR they can radically alter the makeup of AT&T to make it a haven for sluggers. We’ve seen the former option played out year after year. That’s boring. Let’s reimagine AT&T Park as a hitter’s paradise.
Turn the Willie Mays Wall into the Mel Ott Wall
It’s a measly 309 feet down the right field line, but the Willie Mays wall is 24 feet high in honor of Mays’ retired number. Time and time again, balls that would be homers at nearly any other park instead doink off the wall. Andrew McCutchen hit one such ball in Monday night’s game.
Mel Ott wore number 4, so taking 20 feet off of the wall would make it much easier to smash dongs. Before you say that a four-foot wall would be too low for how close the wall is, remember Yankee Stadium is just 314 feet to right AND left. No wonder Giancarlo Stanton wanted to be a Yankee.
Bring the Coke Bottle Closer
You know every hitter’s dream is to hit a dinger off the Coke bottle, but it’s a good 550 feet away. It’s virtually impossible to hit a dinger off the Coke bottle in a game situation. It’s hard enough to hit it in batting practice. If it were brought in to be flush with the back of the bleachers, it might be manageable but only the biggest of boys would be able to reach it.
Instead, it should be brought in flush with the left field fence. Everyone could hit it. Manny Machado, Brian Dozier. Bryce Harper could hit opposite field dingers off of it.
Sure, the Giants would have to rip up 4,000 seats to fit the Coke Bottle in, but they can get those seats back if they…
Turn Triples Alley into Cheap-o Dingers Alley
Triples are exciting to the fan. They’re 12 sustained seconds of excitement. The outfielders have to run a long way. Sometimes they kick the ball around. The announcer yells, “HE’S GOING FOR THREE!” as the runner scampers. Sometimes their helmet falls off. Triples are fun! Wee!
You know what’s not fun, though? Watching the Giants waste a runner on third. Not all triples turn into runs but 100 percent of dingers turn into runs. You know the players hate it when they hit the ball 415 feet and instead of getting to jog around the bases they have to sprint.
So install some seats in Triples Alley to not only bring it flush with the Mel Ott wall, but to extend past it like the Petco Park right field tumor of yore. The weird corners will still allow for triples and inside the parkers, but the shorter dimensions will allow for cheap dingers.
Hit 30 Dingers, Get a statue in your likeness
Every player dreams of being immortalized in bronze. Few players make it to the Hall of Fame, and even fewer get the statue treatment. Willies Mays and McCovey and Juan Marichal are the only Giants to get a statue outside of AT&T. Orlando Cepeda didn’t get one. Barry Bonds hasn’t gotten one. Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey might get statues, but that won’t happen for another 20 or 30 years. If a player hits 30 dingers, they’ll get a statue up the next day. They don’t even have to be a good hitter. They could pull a Rougned Odor and hit for a 61 wRC+. Hit 40 and we’re talking about a Titan of Braavos-size likeness straddling McCovey Cove. A giant granite Bryce Harper might be a tough sell to the Mayor and San Francisco City Council, but they’ll come around when they see all the dingers.
Employing all these changes will certainly mar the beauty of AT&T Park, but what list would you rather the Giants top? Most beautiful park? Or most dingers?