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April 04, 2017

Here are the best seats at Citizens Bank Park if you want to catch a home run

It doesn't matter how old you are or how many games you've attended, there are few things more exciting for a baseball fan than catching a home run ball. And one of the things that makes it so exhilarating is the fact that the opportunities to grab one don't come around all that often.

Think about it: There are only a few sections in the stadiums where it's even possible for a home run to land; and if you happen to be seated in one of them, there's no guarantee you'll even see a home run in the game, let alone one to your section; and even if it happens to be your lucky day and one does land in your section, you also have to hope that it lands within reach of your row and seat.

Oh, and you'll likely have to fight off all the people sitting around you as well.

There's no way to predict precisely when and where a home run ball will land, but the people at SeatGeek have come up with an interactive graphic that can at least improve your chances of being in the right place at the right time, no matter which big-league ballpark you call home. On top of that, they used their own pricing data to find out which sections offer the best value for fans hoping grab a homer.

Here's how they came up with the numbers:

At SeatGeek, we want you to get the most bang for your buck. Using ESPN's Home Run Tracker, we looked at every home run hit in all MLB ballparks over the course of the 2016 season, and tracked which stadium section they landed in. Combined with our internal ticketing data, this analysis allowed us to highlight the seating sections that are the best deals for those looking to bring home a unique souvenir.  []

So what does this mean for baseball fans in Philly?

Well, the Phillies didn't hit a ton of home runs last season (161; 24th in MLB), but they did give up a fair amount (213), finishing 2016 in a tie with Seattle for the fifth-most home runs allowed.

So while there were a decent amount of homers landing in the seats at Citizens Bank Park – the 200 home runs hit there last season ranked 12th in MLB – more often than not they came off the bat of a visiting player. And of those 200, SeatGeek says 146 were catchable.

That relatively high number of home runs at CBP, combined with relatively low ticket prices due to the team's current rebuild, meant Phillies fans weren't forced to spend too much of their hard-earned cash for the chance at a home run ball.

Of course, you have to be sitting in the right section in order to have a chance at catching one. And that's where SeatGeek's interactive graphic comes into play.

Here's a screen-grab of outfield map (the colored sections reveal more info when you click on them), as well as the five best sections for catching home runs:


1.143 $37 17 $2.18
2.145 $35 16 $2.19
3.103 $37 16 $2.31
4.144 $35 15 $2.33
5.104 $38 14 $2.71

The Phillies' home opener comes on Friday at 3:05 p.m. when they host the Nationals. And if you want tickets in one of those five sections listed above, it's going to cost you a little extra for the first game of the year at The Bank, according to SeatGeek. Here's a look at the cheapest tickets in those sections for Friday's opener:

143 $136
145 $95
103 $80
144 N/A
104 $105

This is especially helpful if you decide to travel to a new ballpark for the first time, so it was nice of SeatGeek to compile the data for all 30 MLB clubs.

Here's what SeatGeek had to say about the CBP and the Phils: 

Despite hosting a home team that finished with just 71 total wins, Citizens Bank Park saw a significant amount of home runs last season - 200 in total, ranking at 12th across the MLB. Aging slugger Ryan Howard proved he still has some pop, finishing with 25 home runs in 2016, and third baseman Maikel Franco continued his improvement, adding 25 bombs of his own in his first full season. After choosing to let Howard hit the free agency market, Philadelphia fans have to hope that second-year player Tommy Joseph will be able to fill his shoes at first base, and replace his powerful bat in the lineup.

Sections 143 and 145 in left field offer the best home run value for fans, with 103 in right a close second. As the Phillies continue their rebuilding process, the wins, along with the power stats, should continue to pile up. That should give the neon Liberty Bell overlooking the stadium ample opportunities to ring in home run celebration.  []

When stacked up against their NL East counterparts, however, the Phillies don't look so great. Three of the other four teams in the division – the Marlins ($1.50), Nationals ($1.60) and Braves ($1.90) – have at least one section where tickets cost less per home run than any of those at Citizens Bank Park. Only the Mets' starting price ($3.00) is higher than the Phillies ($2.18).

The good news for Phillies fans is that the cost per home run at CBP could be on the decline. The Phillies hit more home runs in 2016 (161) – a number that's been steadily increasing over the last three years – than they had in a single season since 2010 (166).

So perhaps Cesar Hernandez's leadoff homer on Opening Day was sign of things to come in 2017...

Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin

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