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What John Smoltz Won't Tell You About Citizens Bank Park: It's Neutral!

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John Smoltz is living in the past.

The new color commentator for the Phillies/Brewers series likes to repeat how Citizens Bank Park is a hitters park where anything can happen and no lead is safe.  In two games so far, he's said it innumerable times already.  His comments are just expansions of what he's said before as a player:  that CBP is a joke.

But what John Smoltz doesn't want to acknowledge or is too lazy to look up is that CBP is a different stadium this year.  As I began to write about a few weeks ago, CBP played as a neutral park in 2008.  The stats on September 3 put CBP as the most neutral park in baseball.  The year end stats show that it's no longer the most neutral, but it's pretty close.  The only stadiums more neutral are in Anaheim and Cleveland.

And you don't need fancy park factor stats to prove this.  Just look at the numbers for home and away games for the Phillies in some pretty simple stats:

Runs:  Phillies scored 412 runs at home, 387 away.  Their opponents scored 338 at CBP, 342 in their home parks.  Totaling these numbers, in Phillies games, 750 runs were scored at CBP while 729 were scored in other parks.  That translates to 9.26 runs per game at CBP and 9.00 runs per game in other parks.

Home runs:  Phillies hit 109 home runs at home, 105 away.  Their opponents hit 80 home runs at CBP, 80 in their own parks.  That's a total difference of 4 home runs in home and away games for the Phillies this year.  Just 4.

OPS:  The Phillies home OPS was .788 and their away OPS was .753.  Their opponents CBP OPS was .722 and their home OPS was .757.  So both the Phillies and their opponents had a .035 OPS difference at their home parks with the average team OPS in Phillies games almost identical at .755.

ERA:  The Phillies home ERA was 3.65 this year.  Their away ERA was 4.13.

None of these numbers is consistent with a homer-friendly park where no lead is safe and anything can happen.  They're all quite telling that CBP is a neutral park this year.

Don't let John Smoltz tell you otherwise.