The Detroit Tigers announced Wednesday that the outfield at Comerica Park will see some changes. According to the press release, For 2023 Opening Day the center field wall will be adjusted to 412 feet. The height of the outfield wall in multiple key areas will be lowered, most notably above the out-of-town scoreboard from 13 feet to seven. The foundation of the entire outfield wall will be reconstructed with material and padding that enhances player safety.
“This has been a topic of conversation for quite some time within our organization,” said Scott Harris, Detroit Tigers President of Baseball Operations. “We’re confident that this plan accomplishes our goals of improving offensive conditions on the hardest hit balls, while maintaining Comerica Park’s unique dimensions and style of play. These updates come after a great deal of research and feedback from all stakeholders in and around the organization, including our fans, players and front office. The outfield wall changes, combined with new rules from Major League Baseball in place this season, have the potential to create even more excitement and on field action for years to come.”
While speaking to the media today at Comerica Park, Harris said: “We wanted to strike the right balance where we were improving the offensive conditions for our hitters without fundamentally changing the profile of the park, and we felt like we could do that with these changes.”
For Tigers fans, the issue about center field has been around since Comerica Park first opened in 2000. For the 2003 season, the Tigers moved left field from 395 feet to 375.
Tigers bring in left field 06 Dec 2002, Fri The Times Herald (Port Huron, Michigan) Newspapers.com
The Detroit Tigers struggle with the long ball
A lack of power was a huge issue for Detroit all season. The Tigers 52 home runs last year is the lowest total in Comerica Park history. It’s the second-lowest home total since the mound was lowered in 1969, just one behind the 1976 Tigers squad. A rough estimate would indicate the park robbed hitters of 11-12 home runs in 2022.
However, what is interesting about Comerica Park is that from 2010 to 2016, the Tigers had a top five offense at home.
Data courtesy of FanGraphs
During that seven-year period, the Tigers won four division crowns, made three trips to the ALCS and one appearance in the World Series. So with these changes, Tigers fans hope to see more offense in 2023. Lastly, Harris said the Tigers were still continuing to look at improving the team.