Adapting to Marlins Park

MIAMI  — Center field at Marlins Park has certainly become an area where 400-foot shots become outs.

One of the loudest outs for the Marlins this season came on Sunday in the 11th inning against the Reds. John Buck crushed a ball off Jonathan Broxton roughly 416 feet. The problem is the distance out there is 418 feet. So rather than celebrate a two-run, walk-off homer, Buck watched center fielder Drew Stubbs make the catch that preserved a 5-4 win.

Twice on Sunday, the Marlins felt they had hit a home run which could have won the game. In the eighth inning, Jose Reyes lifted a long drive down the right field line. But with the wall being high, the ball bounced a foot or so shy of clearing the fence. The shot turned into a game-tying double, instead of a two-run homer.

“The wall is high, and the ballpark is big,” Reyes said. “The ball that Buck hit, that’s a home run in any ballpark. So, I mean, what can we do?

“Like I say, it’s tough. When you hit the ball good, and you think you got a home and the ball don’t go nowhere, and it’s an out, it’s tough as a hitter. It is what it is. You’ve got to deal with it, and don’t think about the ballpark. Everybody knows that it is big. So we try to hit line drives.”

The Marlins have hit 49 home runs at home, which ranks 26th in the league. Yet, on the road, they’ve hit 79, which is tied for 10th highest in the game.

Manager Ozzie Guillen is downplaying the notion that the dimensions are too far.

“I don’t think the dimensions of the park mean anything,” Guillen said, noting that the Marlins’ pitchers have benefited by the park.

“If we played in a different ballpark it would be a little bit worse,” the manager said of his staff’s ERA. “That’s the way it is. Be realistic. If we’re going to blame the ballpark, that’s a good excuse. It could be worse. This ballpark, it traps a lot of balls. They hit a lot of home runs against us. If ballpark plays big, we have to play a different game then.”

Guillen, though, admits the ballpark plays big.

“Yes, it does,” he said. “There is no doubt. What are you going to do about it? You can do nothing about it. You going to move it in? That’s up to them [ownership]. But pitchers win games. You can imagine, if this ballpark was small, maybe we’d be in first place. Maybe not. That’s why the ballpark, I don’t pay attention to it. This is the way it is, we have to deal with it.”

Joe Frisaro

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