In 2009, the long awaited Citi Field became the new home of the New York Mets. With the vast improvements over beloved Shea Stadium, Mets fans now had a stadium they could be proud to come to each game. Citi Field boasts many more clubs and restaurants, a much improved menu of food items, and various kid oriented games and attractions beyond the center field wall. The off field amenities were finally up to par with other new stadiums and the Mets were ready to embrace their new surroundings…or were they?
Sandy Alderson is entering his 4th year as general manager and since he took over in 2011, the Mets have never had a winning record at home. Each year their record away from Citi Field has been better than at home. In fact, in 2011 and 2013 the Mets actually had a WINNING record away from Citi Field. Winning at Citi Field has become a bit of a mystery for the Mets and no one seems to know exactly why the team continues to struggle at home.
Granted the team has been poorly put together the last several years and anyone who watches the Mets on a regular basis can clearly see that ownership has short changed us and put a product on the field with no real chance to compete. However, that is not the issue. The issue is why does this team perform better away from Citi Field? Why do other teams come in here, tired from being on the road and living out of a suitcase, and promptly beat the Mets as if they were the home team?
Some blame it on the dimensions of the field so management moved the fences in a bit. Sure the field plays like a pitchers park but if you hit it right, there is no problem with hitting the ball out of the Citi Field. Just ask our opponents. Even more disturbing is that since the fences have been moved in, the Mets have actually played worse at Citi Field!
Others have reasoned that the pressure of playing at home bothers the players but that is ridiculous. These guys are professionals and playing in friendly and familiar surroundings can only be a positive. For the most part, Mets fans have been supportive of the team and if you hustle and play hard, the fans will cheer. The fans are upset with management for reasons we all know too well but by and large have supported the players on the field with few exceptions.
So what can it be? Yes we all know the Mets have not had the best teams the last few years but there is no reason they should play better on the road year after year and struggle at home.
Whatever the reason is, the Mets are going to have to figure it out quickly if they are going to win 90 games (yea ok) this year.
Let us know what you think. Why does this team play competitive and even winning baseball on the road, while continuously coming up short at home?