STOP WHINING ABOUT CITIZENS BANK PARK

Monday, June 4, 2007

Tropical Storm Barry made its way up the East Coast, bringing a steady light rain to Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park on Shane Victorino Hula Figurine day. The temperature was hovering just under 90 degrees and it was evident by the way the balls were flying over the outfield fences. Yesterday's game featured 6 homeruns: two from the Giants, four from the Phillies, including, deservedly, Shane Victorino's opposite field walk-off homerun that broke an 8-8 tie in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Victorino said after the game that it was only the second opposite-field homerun he had ever hit at any level. And to his credit, it didn't just barely go over the fence -- it went a good three or four rows back between the W.B. Mason and Bud Light advertisements on the left field wall. Don't tell that to Kevin Correia -- off of whom Victorino hit his homerun -- though, he thinks that Shane's shot was a gift from Citizens Bank Park. When asked if the homerun would have left any other ballpark, Correia snapped, "You name me one other one."

According to HitTrackerOnline.com, Victorino's game-winner was neither "Lucky" or "Just Enough" (see bottom for definitions).

Even more interesting is that if the information on HitTrackerOnline.com is sorted by HR hit by the Giants against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, one finds that, of the 6 homeruns the Giants have hit in the first three games of the series, four of them are "Just Enough" (Lewis, Feliz, Winn, Durham) and two of those four are "Lucky" (Durham, Lewis). Lewis' homerun accounted for four runs (a grand slam, obviously), Feliz and Durham accounted for three, and Winn's "Just Enough" homerun led off the first inning yesterday. The Giants "gift" homeruns accounted for 11 of the 23 runs they have scored in the series thus far. Kevin Correia has no room to whine about a wall-scraping homerun.

This is not to say that the Phillies' stadium is a pitcher's ballpark -- it's not, as evidenced by its 11th-highest 1.029 Park Factor in runs (over 1.000 favors hitters). The ballpark does feature some homerun deterrents, as well. For instance, the fence on top of the left-field wall make it necessary for a ball to be hit at least 10'6" high to reach the seats. Otherwise, it will bounce back in play. And, believe it or not, this fence has come into play on several occaisions. On May 17, the Phillies attempted to mount yet another comeback against the Milwaukee Brewers' bullpen. With one out in the bottom of the ninth inning and his team trailing 3-2, Pat Burrell scorched closer Francisco Cordero's pitch down the left field line, but it hit the fence above the wall and bounced back into play, and Burrell only had a double to show for it. He was stranded and the Phillies lost.

And let's not forget that the left-field fence was moved back 5 feet and raised 2'6".

The angled wall in left-centerfield (labeled by the Lukoil sign) tends to take homeruns away and turns them into triples (in rare cases, an inside-the-park-homerun), as a result of the odd caroms. The depth of "The Angle" goes from 409' to 381' to 385' and its height ranges from 19' to 12'8 going from right to left. Center field to right field is fairly standard: 401' to straightaway center, 398' just to the right (the bullpen entrance), 369' in the right-field power alley, and 330' down the right-field line.

With all that being said, Citizens Bank Park seems rather reasonable, doesn't it? While 401' to center is relatively shallow, no one complains about Dodger Stadium's 395' centerfield fence. Or what about Fenway Park's 302'-deep, 3-5'-high right-field fence? Or Minute Maid Park's 315'-deep, 19'-high left-field fence?

Instead of blaming the ballpark for his failure, Kevin Correia should just give credit where credit is due: Shane Victorino put a great swing on his pitch. If the 5'9", 180-pound can hit it 350 feet into the seats, perhaps the pitch wasn't all that great, no?


Note: HitTrackerOnline has three categories for homeruns: Just Enough, No Doubt, and Plenty.

Just Enough: "...the ball cleared the fence by less than 10 vertical feet, OR that it landed less than one fence height past the fence."

No Doubt: "...the ball cleared the fence by at least 20 vertical feet AND landed at least 50 feet past the fence."

Plenty: "[E]verything else."