Kansas City Royals must keep fences where they are

Billy Butler Kansas City Royals

John Rieger – US Presswire

There has been some suggestion over the course of the 2012 season and especially after it came to a close that the Kansas City Royals might consider moving the fences in at Kauffman Stadium. Kauffman Stadium is one of the largest in baseball, at 330ft down the lines, 387ft in the alleys and 410ft to straightaway centre field. The logic to moving the fences in is that the Royals have some excellent young power hitters, but many times they saw drives fall just short. At the end of the year the Royals finished near the bottom of MLB in home runs.

But despite this, the Royals need to keep the fences where they are. Indeed, the suggestion to move the fences in shows a distinct ignorance of Royals history and even a fairly tenuous grasp on the problems currently facing the Royals. The Royals did not hit a lot of home runs this year, but that was down in large part to the approach taught to the hitters. Now-former hitting coach Kevin Seitzer preached using the middle of the fields and hitting the ball where it was pitched. This is a sound strategy, but it meant that the Royals did have trouble converting runners in scoring position to runs. Seitzer has been sacked, however, and the Royals will be having a different approach next year.

But even if that does not lead to more long balls, that is not the Royals primary concern. The number one problem for the Royals in 2012 was pitching. It is painfully obvious then that moving the fences in will not help a jot. All it will lead to is more high scoring losses and mind-numbingly dull slug-fests. We have already seen that happen in the late nineties and early noughties when the fences were in and there is no reason whatsoever to suppose that there would not be a repeat if they were moved back in, especially with the Royals pitching woes. Right now fans can go to Kauffman Stadium and see real baseball where the pitchers have a chance and right now the Royals only need solid pitching to contend again. But moving the fences in change both of those and is clearly a terrible idea.

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