Shrinking AT&T Park

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Well, here's an interesting question, as we head into the end of a season that will be best known for offensive impotence in San Francisco: Should the Giants shrink AT&T Park?

Said question is raised primarily based on some quotes from Giants infielder Mark DeRosa who firmly believes the organization should do something to make the home park more hitter friendly. 

"Without a doubt," DeRosa said Monday night. "Maybe you don't move the fences in. But I think you saw maybe two balls go out to right-center this year. So they definitely should cut the corner. Have another wall go across. Maybe put something nice back there.

"I don't know. Does San Francisco have a city tree?"

Google doesn't return any results other than a company that cuts down trees, so that probably won't help much.

But here's the thing: why?

The Giants have built their franchise on one of the most dominant homegrown pitching staffs in recent history. Having a built-in advantage created by a cavernous ballpark should only increase the quality of production from the pitching staff.

There's no question that in 2011, AT&T Park was the worst place for hitters to prosper -- just check the MLB Park Factor chart at ESPN through Monday.

Only .596 home runs were hit per game at AT&T, with .731 runs being scored. The next lowest in each category? CitiField in New York (.718 home runs hit per game) and Tropicana Field (.805 runs scored per game) respectively.

But part of adjusting for park factors in baseball is also understanding that half of the stats being used to count up the runs scored and home runs hit are from the home team, which, in this case, is absolutely miserable at hitting the ball.

Or, to put it a better way -- if the Giants didn't stink at producing runs and hitting home runs, AT&T wouldn't look quite as bad.

Let's not forget, either, that once upon a time, AT&T Park was a huge advantage for the Giants. Only one player in baseball -- Barry Bonds -- could consistently smash the ball into the cavernous hole that is right field.

That worked out quite well for San Francisco then, and while it might not be working now, it generally helps to have more than a five- or 10-year window of foresight when building a freaking stadium.

Whatever, There's definitely an argument to be made that the Giants hitters would get better and that the advantage of having a tremendous pitching staff would negate the improved hitting production from opposing teams.

The easier solution, though, is just to get better hitters.

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