MIAMI -- Many assumed Giancarlo Stanton would be the last Miami player to benefit from the organization's decision to move the center-field fences in at Marlins Park. Turns out, the All-Star slugger was the first.
Stanton home runs are typically no-doubters. But if the walls weren't altered, the drive he hit to right-center off Tanner Roark in the fifth inning of Monday's 6-1 win over the Nationals would not have been out.
Marlins Park adjusted from the 392-marker at the edge of the Marlins' bullpen in right field all the way to the base of the home run sculpture in center. Stanton sent the ball into the plants that rest a few feet from the original wall.
In center field, the distance is 407 feet, after being 418 in the first four seasons at Marlins Park.
"It will come in handy throughout the season, for sure," Stanton said. "I didn't know it would come this quickly, but, like I've said, you hit a ball like that, a 430-foot double off the top of the wall, it's not as nice."
Stanton's "wall scraper" was anything but a cheap home run. Statcast™ projected the shot traveled 414 feet from home plate with an exit velocity of 110 mph.
"This is a big field, still," manager Don Mattingly said. "Center field is still big. You've got to hit it. It's obviously a little shorter in certain spots."
Along with moving in the fences in center, certain sections of the wall in left and right field were lowered from 11 1/2 feet to between 6 1/2 and 7 1/2 feet.
Stanton isn't the only player to benefit from the changes. He just happens to be the first in a regular-season game.
In Miami's exhibition against the Yankees before Opening Day, New York's Jacoby Ellsbury hit a ball in a similar area as Stanton's shot.
"It's going to be interesting, because there a couple of balls that can be tricky, not knowing if they're homers or not," Mattingly said. "Again, I think it's fair. If you hit it, you've got to hit it. Once this thing is in place for a few months, nobody is going to think of anything different."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.