Thursday, February 16, 2012

Breaking Myths: Citizens Bank Park, the "Bandbox"

First impressions are hard to let go. In its first few years, Citizens Bank Park was a clear hitters park, especially in aiding homers. The general consensus acted as if CBP was the next Coors Field. However, as time went on, the park has played much closer to neutral. Unfortunately, people's perception hasn't changed with it.

Websites have differing view in the way they calculate their park factors, but a general consensus does arise.

ESPN park factors in total runs. Rank in parenthesis.
2008: 1.029 (15)
2009: 1.028 (12)
2010: 0.991 (16)
2011: 0.997 (11)

For those who may not understand what the numbers mean, looking at the numbers after the decimal is the easiest way to figure it out. For example, in 2008 CBP induced runs scored 2.9% more than a neutral ballpark. In 2010, it reduced runs scored by 0.9% compared to a neutral park.

In Baseball-Reference's calculations for hitting:
2008: 102
2009: 102
2010: 100
2011: 105

According to Baseball-Reference, CBP has played from perfectly neutral(2010) to inducing 5% more runs than a neutral park(2011). does terrific ballpark database work as well. Their numbers are in line with the previous two.
2008: 1.03
2009: 1.02
2010: 1.01
2011: 1.00

While the home run factors at the park remain slightly higher than average than a neutral park, it performs a complete 180 for doubles and triples, which is why you see total runs so close to neutral.

Even today, writers still make jokes. Tim Brown from Yahoo and, unsurprisingly, Jack McCaffery are the latest examples. At least now when you read such nonsense you can be pretty certain their baseball knowledge isn't that great.

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