There are rumors the Mariners are considering bringing in the fences at Safeco. That would be a big mistake.
I can think of two reasons why the fences should remain where they are. First, the Mariner’s do not have any true home run hitters. It will not help them much, but it will help the Rangers, Angels, and A’s, all of our division rivals. Instead of losing close games, the Mariners will lose by larger margins because of 3-run homers.
Second Safeco has a misleading reputation as a pitchers park. Park effect numbers show that it is an average to neutral park, only slightly favoring pitchers.
The Park Factor is a formula where above 1 indicates a park that favors home run hitters, while below 1 shows a park favoring pitchers. In 2011 the PF for Safeco was 1.037, 13th in the league, meaning average, but since the Mariners lack power, that above 1 number indicates visitors hit most of the home runs.
As I said moving in the fences helps the other guys.
In 11 years at Safeco the Park Factor has been above 1 four times. In 2010 they were 0.675, good for 29th in baseball. But usually they rank from 16th to 20th, which again indicate it is a fair park.
Safeco is a park where close, exciting games are the norm, where pitching, defense, base running, bunting, hit and run, all the elements of the game come into play. If it were not for the DH it would be a National League style of ball as opposed to the Earl Weaver wait for the 3-run homer style of many American League teams.
There is nothing wrong with a 3-run homer, but baseball is more than a home run derby. That gets boring. When one is hit at Safeco it tends to be important.
Safeco is the perfect park. A great venue for baseball. No need to make it a little league park.