PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- When Ike Davis' first home run of spring training disappeared over the leftfield wall at Digital Domain Park Saturday, Terry Collins had a thought that still made him smile broadly more than three hours later:
That could have been a home run at Citi Field now that the fences have been moved in!
"That's exactly what it makes me feel about it," the manager said after his Mets played a 6-6, 10-inning tie with St. Louis. "Today, that ball he hit, that's out in the new ballpark, the new dimensions. That ball's a home run."
Davis' opposite-field, three-run home run off Lance Lynn in the first inning went over an advertising sign for a hospital. The Mets' symmetrical spring training home does not have outfield dimensions printed on the walls in the power alleys in left and rightfield, so it's hard to accurately estimate how far it went.
Asked if he thought his home run would have been out with the new Citi Field dimensions, Davis said: "It could be. It felt like it should be. That's about all I've got to the opposite field."
Asked if he thought it would have been out with the old dimensions, Davis said: "Probably not."
The fences at Citi Field have been moved in by as much as 12 feet. The wall in left has been lowered from 16 feet to 8 feet. So not only did a home run there have to be hit far, it also had to be high.
In the first three years of Citi Field's life, nine home runs were hit to left by lefthanded batters, none of whom happened to be Mets.
The Mets introduced the new Citi Field dimensions last October. They have a minor-league field at their spring training complex that replicates the altered dimensions.
The team did a study that calculates the Mets would have hit 81 more home runs and opponents 70 during Citi Field's first three seasons if the new dimensions had been in place, according to general manager Sandy Alderson.
"You know," Collins said, "when Ike Davis was a young guy, he'd hit some balls to left-center and leftfield. He had power to leftfield. And the old Citi Field just took that stuff away from a lot of guys. You can hit it out of there -- it's just very, very difficult."
Lefthanded-hitting Lucas Duda also homered Saturday; his went to centerfield. On Tuesday, Duda went deep to left at home off Washington's Stephen Strasburg.
"[It's] the same with Lucas," Collins said. "We've got to start getting Lucas to have confidence enough to be the old kind of guy that he was and be that left-center-to-rightfield-line kind of guy. Because when they start seeing that some of those fly balls that they hit get some backspin to leftfield and they get out of there, I think they're going to be a lot more comfortable at the plate and not have to worry about pull, pull, pull."
Davis said he's excited about the changes to Citi Field, where the Mets will open the season against the Braves on April 5 and then play 80 more times.
"Of course," Davis said. "If I hit it to right, I can hit it pretty far that way. To leftfield, I had no chance. The ball that might have been a flyout to the warning track has a chance to be a homer now, so I'm excited about that."