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Blog Entry

Citizen's Bank Park a real "hitter's" park?

Posted on: July 10, 2009 2:02 pm
 

It is one thing I hear on here all the time that absolutely infuriates me.  "Citizen's Bank Park is a bandbox."  Every time the Phillies are brought up...this statement is said to discount accomplishments.  The funny thing is until I did some of my own research into the subject...I actually believed it was true.  There are a lot of contributing factors to designating a park "hitter friendly" or "pitcher friendly."  Some of the factors are size, orientation, wind, dimension, and elevation.  There are no official studies that look at the wind patterns of particular stadiums so it is hard to really speculate as to how much that effects the designation of what type of park it is.  Dimension is what makes each and every park a unique place to play.  Some teams have built enormous parks, some odd shaped ones and some really small parks.  That is the beauty of baseball is you can use a park's dimensions to your advantage IF you are a talented enough player to do so.

I have ranked all the parks in the MLB from top to bottom and labeled them as one of the following: Hitter's Park or Pitchers Park.  The rankings are strictly based off size but I allowed in a write up for some cause to move the park up or down based on the other factors that I mentioned earlier.  I took the measurements from Left, Center and Right field at every MLB park and came up with an average.  The average ballpark in MLB is 332ft in LF, 403ft in center and 332ft in RF.  I then looked at each park and the difference at each of those spots compared to the average.  I then added up the difference between the average park at LF, CF and RF and came up with a single number to rank all of the parks.

What did I find?  Well yes the Phillies do play in a "hitters" park...but they are tied for 10th in terms of size out of 16 "hitters" parks.  Would you consider either Los Angeles Stadium or the Coliseum a hitters park?  Haven't really heard that but the Phillies fit right there in terms of size.  The most amazing thing I found through this research is that the almighty AL East actually has the 3 smallest parks in all of baseball.  All of the teams in the AL East have hitter's parks.  One can argue to move them around a bit as I am not sure Boston deserves the top spot based on the recent air show being put on in Yankee stadium...but it is just easy to hit in all of their stadiums. 

And...the Rankings...


HITTER'S Parks

1. Boston Red Sox- Fenway Park-(-56) This ranking is highly debatable because although Fenway does have the shortest LF wall in the MLB, it also has a 37' wall atop of it essentially pushing the actual homerun ball back to slightly more than average.  The reason I would keep this ranking here is because Boston has actually made changes to the park over the years to make it a more hitter friendly park...mainly the bullpen in right field to help Ted Williams hit more home runs.  And the Green Monster does give a tremendous advantage to right handed batters because if you don't get it over the wall...you get it off the wall essentially guaranteeing yourself a double.

2. New York Yankees- Yankee Stadium-(-28) This ranking may explain the recent HR outbreak that is going on in the Bronx.  Yankee Stadium features both the shortest right field fence in the majors and is tied with Minute Maid park for the shortest LF fence.  Doesn't take an expert in the "wind tunnel effect" to tell us that this park is just small.  The RF wall in the "New" Yankee Stadium is actually 5ft shorter than it's older counterpart.

3.  Tampa Bay Rays- Tropicana Field- (-27)  This field is an absolute dump.  You would think for being in Florida that they could occupy a number of the different beautiful outdoor fields that just about every major league team in the grapefruit league has built.  From the short fences in LF and RF to the rafters that come into place...this is a true hitter's park.   

4. Pittsburgh Pirates- PNC Park- (-24) One of the best looking parks in the MLB is also one of the smallest.  RF, CF and LF are all below the league average distance wise...but since the Pirates don't win much...I guess no one has noticed yet.

5.  Baltimore Orioles- Camden Yards- (-17) This is what just about every modern ballpark is modeled after.  For me one of the best parks in all of baseball...but it does have the short fence at 318ft in RF that is a paradise for LH hitters. 

6. Cleveland Indians- Progressive Field- (-13) Formerly Jacob's Field the home park of the Indians is below average by 7ft in both LF and RF.

7. Toronto Blue Jays- Roger's Center- (-12) Rounding out the entire AL East in the Hitter's park rankings...the Rogers center falls 4ft short of the league average in both the LF and RF corners.  Similar with the Pirates, Orioles and the not so recent Indians...no one has really noticed.  Maybe Halladay should consider that Philadelphia has a bigger ballpark than the one he currently pitches in.

T8. Texas Rangers-Rangers Ballpark- (-11)  One of the most underrated ballparks in terms of beauty...this ballpark sports a below average wall in CF and RF.

T8. Cincinnati Reds-Great American Ballpark- (-11) This place looks kind of cheesy on television, however, I have heard from those who have been there that it is quite nice.  Short porches in LF and RF drop this into the Hitter's category.

T10. Oakland Athletics- Oakland Coliseum- (-8) One of the older stadiums out there, the Coliseum is home to the A's and the Raiders.  The field is perfectly symmetrical...something I do like, but below the league average in LF, CF and RF.

T10. Los Angeles Dodgers- Dodger Stadium- (-8) 3rd oldest park in the MLB and the oldest on the west coast...it features the same dimensions as the Oakland Coliseum and if it were not for the special players that played in it...it's design is rather generic.

T10. Los Angeles Angels- Angel Stadium of Anaheim- (-8) Identical to the Dodger Stadium in measurements...seems like we have a rivalry here?

T10. Philadelphia Phillies- Citizen's Bank Park- (-8) One of the newer parks in the MLB and modeled after Camden Yards, the Bank has taken a lot of heat as a hitters park.  The below average walls in RF, LF and CF are like landing pads for the likes of Howard, Utley and Ibanez.  To think when it first opened...the RF wall was 5ft closer to home plate...later moved back to it's dimensions now.

14. Seattle Mariners- Safeco Field- (-6) The LF wall and CF wall in the park average out with the league but the wall in RF is 6ft short of the league average.  Paradise for a LH batter.

15. Chicago White Sox- US Cellular Field- (-3)  Still Comiskey Park to me...this is one of the closer to average sized parks in the MLB.  There are short fences in LF and CF.

16. Atlanta Braves- Turner Field- (-2)  On television, it looks like one of the biggest parks in the MLB but it is just under the league average in size.  Short in both CF and RF.

Pitcher's Parks

T1. San Diego Padres- Petco Park- (+44) Always talked about as the biggest pitcher's park in the MLB, Petco park features the longest RF wall in the majors at 382 feet.  Jake Peavy should be trying to stay in this fraud park to avoid a large drop in stats. 

T1. Colorado Rockies- Coors Field- (+44) Tied with the Padres for the largest park, this one appears to be the largest all around.  It is well above the league average at every spot and doesn't use an incredibly deep RF to boost it's ranking like Petco.  The funny thing is...a lot of people consider this a hitter's park because of the elevation issue...balls do seem to fly out of this place.

3. Chicago Cubs- Wrigley Field- (+40) In my opinion one of the best looking parks in the majors.  It is well above the average in the corners while falling slightly below in center.  The ivy gets my vote.

4. San Francisco Giants- AT&T Park- (+35) I guess Bonds had to work to get all of those HRs.  Some say that the wind off the bay helps carry the ball in this place, but it is deep in the corners...especially RF.

5. Detroit Tigers- Comerica Park- (+27) Deep in LF and CF this park is not friendly to the RH batter at all.   The only deeper field in LF is Wrigley.

6. Milwaukee Brewers- Miller Park- (+21) A slimmer version of Wrigley field, this park is deep in the corners and slightly below average in CF.  Fielder can rake and he makes this park look like Yankee Stadium sometimes.

7. St. Louis Cardinals- Busch Stadium-(+13) Another new and absolutely beautiful stadium.  Deep in the corners as well Pujols makes this field look like a little league field. 

8. Florida Marlins- Landshark Stadium-(+11) Won't Jimmy Buffett be proud.  This is the biggest fraud ballpark there is.  Average to below average in LF and CF...this park boasts a RF wall that is at 345ft...not quite Petco but up there. 

9. Minnesota Twins- Metrodome-(+10) The blandest dome field in all of sports...but is actually quite large for a dome.  Looking to move outdoors in the next couple of years the Twins enjoy a deep LF porch but a short RF wall for their lefties.

10. Houston Astros- Minute Maid Park- (+9)  Give me back the Astrodome any day.  This place was known as a bandbox when it first opened primarily because of it's really short LF fence at 315ft.  They say it makes up for the really deep CF hill at 436ft...but I don't buy it.

11. Nationals Park- (+6) A really big brand new stadium for the worst team in baseball.  Good thing they brought in Adam Dunn who can hit HR's there or else this team may only win 30 games all year.

12. New York Mets- (+5) A slightly above average size field for a below average team equals no home runs.  Basically the Mets built a stadium that their own team cannot hit in.  Good job...as the season goes further the RF fence is becoming known as "Utley's Corner."

13. Arizona Diamondbacks- Chase Field- (+3)  The distances across the fence are slightly above average but all in all a very bland park.

14. Kansas City Royals- Kauffman Stadium- (+2) Slightly above average park...slightly below average team.  This field is deep in CF at 410ft.

Comments

Since: Jul 17, 2008
Posted on: November 11, 2009 9:43 am
 

Citizen's Bank Park a real 'hitter's' park?

Goosebump...Thanks for the comment.  I always appreciate someone that is willing to make a valuable argument.  I am totally on board with what you are saying here, however as I mentioned leading up to the rankings...there are several other factors that could move this ranking up or down.  I based it strictly off size and only moved parks up and down if they were tied based off what I knew about the park.  Yes, CBP is a hitter's park...but I can't stand the idea of attributing statistics to the park that a player plays in off of that designation.  Thanks again!



Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: October 19, 2009 12:49 pm
 

Citizen's Bank Park a real 'hitter's' park?

As stated above, the power allies are how you can tell the size of a ballpark. Philly and Camden are probably near the top there, and Boston is nowhere to be found. The term 'hitter's' park doesn't always pertain to home runs as Boston is NOT a home run park. I appreciate the effort you put into this, but you MUST take into account those dimensions in left and right center because that's where the majority of home runs are hit. I'll be very interested to see your rankings if you decide to redo it. Smile



Since: Oct 18, 2009
Posted on: October 18, 2009 9:45 pm
 

Citizen's Bank Park a real 'hitter's' park?

This is perhaps the most amount of effort spent on a post based on a completely false premise I've ever seen.
I'll try to explain contrasting Citizens Bank Park (CBP) with Dodger's Stadium (DS).  The former considered a hitter's park, the latter considered a pitcher's park.
Power Allies:CBP is called a hitter's park mainly because of the 369' power allies.  The part of the fense between the line and l-center, r-center. DS in contrast has  385' power allies.  The angle of the walls off the poles in CBP is also very sharp so the distance from the pole doesn't increase much as you move to the power ally.  DS on the other hand curves out away from the pole meaning the distance from the pole (330' and 329') even only a few feet out is much longer then in CBS.  Power allies are where most HRs get it.  Directly down the line, or curving around the pole is far less common, though more dramatic.
Foul Ground:The foul ground in CBP is limited, especially near the poles as the stands come in sharply.  DS on the other hand has allot of foul ground even near the poles.  The less foul ground there is the better chance a hitter has of staying alive, preventing foul pop-outs.
Vision:The back drop behind a pitchers hand as he releases the ball that most hitters will see, right or left handed, when batting at CBP is the brick wall out in center.  This is a nice uniform background with no movement from which to pick up the ball from.  DS has a narrower break in the stands at center field so some hitters may see stands in the background when trying to pick up the ball out of the pitcher's hand.  However DS still has a break and covers it with a black tarp which is a pretty good backdrop for hitters.
These three elements are the main reasons these two parks are called Hitter and Pitcher respectively.  The MLB also released a statement showing elevation (not so much an issue in this case) and humidity (also not much of an issue for these to parks) do effect baseball travel.  A 400' HR at sea level would travel 408' in Atlanta and as much as 440' at Mile High.  For this reason Mile High Stadium puts game balls in a humidifier (adding moisture to them) to counteract the thinner air.

I don't think it's laziness that causes sports writers, announcers and those intimately 
;involved with the game to brush off armature"studies, data, facts" whatever you wanna call this, because to enter into an argument about it would like be a waist of time.
Also just because a park plays small, or big, or whatever doesn't diminish what players do there and I've never heard anyone denounce what Tod Helton has done in Colorado because of the park he plays in.  After all only half the games you play are at home, and when you are at home the visiting team has all the same advantages as the home team.



Since: Oct 17, 2006
Posted on: July 13, 2009 1:58 pm
 

Citizen's Bank Park a real 'hitter's' park?

Good job! I have always felt that lazy sportswriters overplayed the " Bank is a bandbox" angle simply to diminsh the Phils accomplishments, like you stated in your blog. I had an email argument once with Bill Conlin a few years ago about it, after I bombarded him with the facts,similar to those you have here, he told me to "give it a rest" ; so they want to be lazy and right. If you check out espn.com in each teams profile you'll find a 'stadium' link that leads you to a 'park factor' link. They did a great job of ranking the parks in every category (runs, HR, doubles etc) based on production by home vs. road ( visitors and home teams production combined), then creating a ratio. You'll find that their figures closely match yours; this is a dynamic rating and at times this year CBP had a ratio below one; that is , was considered more of a pitchers park; most times it ranks somewhere in the middle of the pack; only in the first season when the fences were lower and closer was it near the top. I was thrilled that they won the WS last year so I didn't have to hear any more sages like John Smoltz tell me that they'll never win in that park because pitchers won't be able to get it done. The reality has been that even pitchers like Scott Richmond and Rodrigo Lopez have pitched great games in that ballpark, you just have to concentrate and keep the ball down.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com