NEW YORK -- It was a new ballpark for the Royals -- the first game in their history at Citi Field, which opened in 2009 with an exterior evoking the memory of Brooklyn's Ebbets Field and a cozier interior than the Mets' old nearby home of Shea Stadium.
The Royals took early batting practice before Friday night's series opener and, of course, took note of the outfield fences that were brought in prior to the 2012 season. That made the ballpark friendlier to hitters, but it still plays big, according to coach Rusty Kuntz.
"It's big, because it's 390 [feet] in the gaps, kind of like our place," Kuntz said, referring to Kauffman Stadium.
It's 335 down the left-field line, 330 down the right-field line and 408 to center. The drawn-in fences are also much lower than the original barriers.
Trying to analyze the wind conditions and currents at the field, Kuntz noted that during early BP, balls traveled well if hit low but tended to hang up if hit high.
Kuntz took the outfielders to the fences, where he hit line drives off the surface to judge how to react during the game. It's not a tricky layout.
"There's a little jut-out down the right-field line, but it's not that big of a deal," Kuntz said. "It's pretty much in the round where you don't have to worry about it too much with the angles."
The grass is slow like other eastern fields in New York, Boston and Philadelphia. (Baltimore is an exception, with a faster surface.)
"Thick grass -- slow, slow, slow," Kuntz said.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less