Mets are getting defensive about Dodgers’ outfield tactics

Joc Pederson

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Dodgers are taking defensive positioning to another level — and the Mets are not happy about it.

The Mets contacted Major League Baseball on Friday after learning that the Dodgers intended to mark prearranged defensive positions in the outfield at Citi Field, according to major-league sources.

Baseball is aware that the Dodgers used a laser rangefinder to determine certain positions before the game, and is gathering more information on the matter, sources said. League officials are not aware of any in-game use of the device, which would be a violation of baseball’s rules on electronics.

Neither the Mets nor Major League Baseball have informed the Dodgers of any problem, a Dodgers official said.

Here, according to sources, is how the situation developed:

The Dodgers, after using the laser rangefinder, wanted to use markers on the playing surface to define the desired positions for their outfielders, and informed the Mets’ grounds crew of their plans.

HIGH FASHION WITH A PURPOSE

Initially, the Mets grounds crew agreed that the Dodgers could leave two marks in center field and one in left.

"We went to them," a Dodgers official said. "We weren’t trying to be sneaky."

The Mets’ grounds crew, however, told their superiors that the Dodgers informed them that if the markers were removed, Dodgers players would dig holes in the outfield with their cleats. The Mets then instructed their grounds crew to erase or obliterate anything they saw on the playing surface.

Using electronic devices to establish defensive positioning before games is permissible, sources said. The incident, however, raises the question of whether teams should be allowed to leave markers on the field. Other teams also have employed that practice, sources said.

Rival clubs have asked the Dodgers’ grounds crew for permission to leave markers, and the Dodgers have said yes, a source said.

Rules 3.09 and 3.10 prevent clubs from leaving equipment on the playing field, including golf tees and other such markers. Baseball reminded clubs several weeks ago that teams are not allowed to use markers to help fielders field their positions. Paint — one option the Dodgers apparently use during home games — would qualify as such a marker, one source said.

The Dodgers apparently did not use such markers in Friday night’s series opener, which the Mets won, 6-5. Television cameras captured left fielder Howie Kendrick consulting notes that he kept in his back pocket to adjust his positioning.