Citizens Bank Park Is MLB’s Best Stadium for Getting a Home Run Ball
The Wall Street Journal did an analysis of 1,000 random home runs from the 2014 major league baseball season and crunched the numbers: How many were caught and dropped, how many were hit in areas where fans could catch them and how many fights broke out over home run balls (three).
The Journal also noted which parks had the highest number of home runs that were retrieved by fans: And Citizens Bank Park tied for first. Eighty-five percent of home runs at CBP were caught or picked up by fans, tying it with AT&T Ballpark in San Francisco for the highest-total in the majors. It’s no surprise, as these are the finest stadiums on each coast. In contrast, fans at O.co Coliseum in Oakland get just 33 percent of homers.
It makes sense. Except for homers that bounce back, almost all homers hit to left, left center and right will be retrieved by fans. There is no gap between the wall and the outfield like in some stadiums; fans can easily scoop out balls from the flower bed in left. The only homers to left that fans won’t catch are those into the foul pole gap caused by moving the fence back five feet after one year.
The only homers that won’t be retrieved by fans are ones hit to dead center and into the bullpen in right center — but for some of right center, balls would still have to be hit hard enough to clear a few rows of fans.
All of these homers probably put fans in more danger of being injured by one, right? Well, not really: Of the Journal’s 1,000 homers, just 8 fans attempting to catch one showed visible pain. That’s not fun for those fans, of course, but only a 1 in 125 chance of being injured if I attempt to catch a home run? I’ll take that for my increased chances of getting a homer in Citizens Bank Park.