On the first road trip of the season, baseball’s biggest villain, Ryan Braun visited Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. This park is by far the toughest place to play for a visiting player. Fans not only taunt, heckle, and hurl insults at opposing players, but they have also been known to host battery nights where D-volt batteries are flung from the stands at players. After cheating, lying, and succeeding, Ryan Braun will be a target for fans in every city when the Brewers come to town.
Instead of faltering under pressure, Braun had one of the best offensive days of his life to begin the series against the Phillies. After missing time in Boston due to a nagging thumb injury, Braun put the club on his back by launching three homeruns and driving in seven runs. This performance catapulted the Brewers to a 10-4 game one victory. The next day, he broke the game open with a two run triple.
He has been one of the most clutch performers in Brewers’ history. When all of the attention has been on him, in some of the most menacing ball parks, he has shined. After twenty games at Citizens Bank Park, Braun has torched Phillies’ pitchers by batting .405 with ten homeruns and 21 RBIs. In Dodger Stadium, a pitchers ball park, Braun has driven the ball with authority, slugging .667 with four homeruns. In Yankee Stadium, where fans are as loving as Philadelphia, Braun has gone seven for his first ten.
The divisional rival’s fans will be ready and waiting to get their first crack at Braun. So far he has dominated at many of these parks. In Wrigley Field, Braun has a remarkable .383 batting average in 211 at-bats. The ball has flown out of Great American Ball Park with regularity when Braun has batted. He has 14 homeruns in that park, the most outside of Miller Park. Probably the toughest divisional park for Braun to play is Busch Stadium in St. Louis, but he still has very respectable numbers there, batting .283 with eight long balls.
Braun has surprisingly hit for a higher average on the road in his career than at home. He has also pounded out 52 more road hits. This year the road will be tougher than ever. He will hear name-calling like he has never heard before. Braun passed his first major road test with flying colors, but each road trip will be another test. If history holds true, expect Braun to remain a road warrior as he enters each city.
Statistics Provided by Baseball Reference