Citizens Bank Park was one of the stars of the 2022 postseason, with the long-awaited return of “Red October” and raucous, jubilant fans. Six months later we are now starting the 20th season at the Bank, and tonight it will reach one other round-number milestone, hosting the Phillies’ 1,500th regular season home game there*.
In addition, there have been 33 postseason games played there over the six Red Octobers, not to mention multiple concerts, college and high school baseball events, and even the NHL’s Winter Classic in 2012.
There have been many ups and downs at the Bank over this time, from the early excitement about the park in 2004, and the team’s newfound relevance as evidenced by signing Jim Thome the year before, to flirting with the postseason but failing to break through, and finally the five-year run of 2007-2011 that included the franchise’s second championship trophy. The team and fanbase then suffered through the long decline and rebuilding period before finally re-emerging to contention in the past few years. All in all, in the 19+ years since the park opened only five teams have played in more postseason games than the Phillies.
The Phillies’ record in their first 1,499 games at CBP is 818-681, a .546 winning percentage, slightly higher than what it was during their tenure at Veterans Stadium.
There’s not much that’s more exciting than a walk-off win at home, and 147 of the Phils’ wins at CBP have been walk-offs, with 69 in regulation play and 78 of them in extra innings:
Interestingly, the years with the most walk-off wins were not the most successful, with 11 and 12 in 2012 and 2013, respectively, and then 11 again in 2021:
It’s probably no surprise that the hitter responsible for the most winning hits in walk-offs at CBP is Ryan Howard, with 12. Far behind him, tied for second with 6 are Jimmy Rollins, Freddy Galvis and Jean Segura, and then Carlos Ruiz, Chase Utley, Shane Victorino, and John Mayberry Jr with 5.
There are lots of forgotten names on that list, but one in particular stood out — Michael Young with 3?! Young’s 3 in less than a season in 2013 is impressive, and ties Ryan Howard (2007 and 2014) and Raul Ibanez (2011) for second-most walk-off hits in a single season at CBP. So who had the most? Jean Segura, with 4 in 2021.
In fact there is one more walk-off on 9/15/21, which isn’t counted in the above, so a 12th walk-off for that season, and #148 at CBP, where Segura was also at the plate when Andrew Knapp scored on a passed ball by the Cubs.
By the way fans at Citizens Bank Park have seen the second most walk-offs in MLB since it opened, behind only the A’s.
Interest in the Phillies receded some after the first season when the team failed to reach the playoffs, but surged again throughout 2007, and especially 2008. After winning the World Series, the 2009 season began with fan interest and expectations at an all-time high. Every night was a party at the Bank, always led off by the Black Eyed Peas’ ”I Gotta Feeling” and its often-met promise that “tonight’s gonna be a good night”.
On July 6, 2009, the Phillies routed the Reds 22-1 in front of a large, but not sellout, crowd of 41,548. There can be a certain amount of “creative accounting” in recording a sellout, but it’s generally accepted that all teams practice this to one extent or another. That being said, that was only the 8th of the first 39 games that year that was not a sellout, and they had already been averaging over 43,000 per game in paid attendance.
The following day, July 7th, was the first of what would be 257 straight regular season sellouts (there were another 16 in the postseason for a total of 273). The streak of 257 was the third longest such streak in MLB history at the time, behind only the 1990s Guardians (then Indians) who had 445, and the 2000s Red Sox who ultimately ended up at 794. So the Phils’ streak set the record for longest ever in the National League, until the Giants surpassed it (as well as the Cleveland streak) with 530 in a row in 2010-17.
The streak at CBP finally ended in August 2012, with the Phillies mired in their worst season in a long time. Coincidentally they then won 22 of their final 33 games down the stretch that year after the streak ended.
Sellout numbers outside of a noteworthy streak like that are not available, but by comparing announced paid attendance to the park’s seating capacity (which can vary from year to year based on renovations), the Phillies have sold out 453 games at CBP, or about 30% of the games played there.
Not a Hitter’s Park
Contrary to the typical talking points about Citizens Bank Park, especially from out-of-town media, it is not a hitter’s park. It does boost home runs, and is one of the better home run parks in MLB. However at the same time, the dimensions that cause it to give up more home runs also allow outfielders to play more shallow, meaning that other hits are reduced.
So when we look at any overall hitting stats, or most importantly, scoring, CBP has been one of the most neutral parks in MLB over its time.
With the park almost of drinking age, it’s no longer one of the shiny new ones, but it’s still regarded as one of the better parks in the game. The team has continued investing in it, most visibly with the giant new scoreboard this year. We can look forward to watching the Phillies there for at least another decade or two, and possibly even more. Now we just need the team to start meeting our lofty expectations and continue providing exciting memories.