Archive for August, 2013

Baseball stadiums ranked

August 2, 2013 Leave a comment

A lot of guys like me dream about doing a baseball park vacation.  I want to see multiple baseball stadiums.  I don’t want to see multiple football stadiums or basketball arenas.  Sure they’re nice, but the uniform rule book for those sports leads to most stadiums in those sports looking relatively the same.  Not baseball.  Dimensions vary widely,   The seating arrangements are different.  The fields look different.  Oakland has acres of foul territory, Wrigley and Fenway have very little.  The Polo Grounds in New York had a 258 foot right field wall and a 475 foot center field wall and a 290 foot left field wall.

I’m going to rank the stadiums, my viewpoint, debate me if you’d like.  Your favorite should have been 25th instead of 28th?  Tell me why!  So here goes.

#1  Wrigley Field.  Those who know me know this is also my least favorite baseball team.  But it’s a gorgeous place, great views of the city from certain viewpoints, the ivy, bleachers, daytime baseball more often than not.  The bleachers, the hand operated scoreboard, the organ.  Hard to say anything bad about the place.  Pictures are my cousins and high school friends. Permission to use pictures not granted, I’ll ask them someday.


Image# 2 on my list is Pittsburgh’s beautiful PNC park.  Family ties make me a little partial to Pittsburgh but they did a great job building this stadium.  Classic design with a view of Pittsburgh right across the river.  The view is the thing there no doubt.  Like McCovey cove beyond San Francisco’s park, the Allegheny River flows directly behind the right field wall.  Just like the streets outside Wrigley fans hang out there either on foot or in the water hoping for a souvenir. The baseball’s finally catching up to the park and it hopefully will become a familiar site on tv during the playoffs and world series.  Thanks to cousin John for this view!

Image#3 is a tough call.  I’ll go with tradition and make Fenway the next on my list.  The green monster with the hand operated scoreboard, the generous home run wall down the right field line, the left field foul wall caroming balls crazily into left field, the smallest upperdeck in baseball, and the sunsplashed right field bleachers all make for a memorable park that is high on my list.

#4  ATT park in San Francisco.  Beeeyouteeful.  San Francisco doesn’t deserve such a great stadium because they have so much nice going on there, weather, bridges, mountains, fog, etc, but they sure have one.  The above mentioned McCovey Cove introduced kayakers into the web of major league fandom.

#5  Comiskey Park.  I won’t call it US Cellular.  I actually don’t like the place but of all my sports allegiances, the Sox are the team I absolutely couldn’t live without!  The park is ok, doesn’t hold a candle to the old park.  The food is very good, but I can’t afford it.  I do like the exploding scoreboard, the kids area in left field which actually offers a great view of the park.  The center field dining area with tables above the hitters backdrop is a nice touch too, but alas, the cheap seats are upstairs and they guard the lower deck from the riff raff better than Fort Knox.  I’ll keep going when I can and cheering on the 2005 World Series champions!

A few pics from a visit back on 08ImageImageImageThe city view is from the balcony outside the upper deck.  Now why didn’t they build this park with that as the view?

This is where the list gets tougher.

#6  Busch Stadium  in St. Louis Another stadium built to look old that somehow makes you think the traditions have been there all along.  I’ve walked around the stadium and it’s neat that you can see into the stadium from the sidewalk.  I’d imagine the view gets blocked during games.  The arch mown into the grass is a cool touch, and it seems they’re always playing October baseball so you get to see it a lot.

#7  Comerica in Detroit.  Like Pittsburgh it brought the view of downtown into the stadium.  (Why couldn’t the Sox have done that?)  Don’t know much about the park, but it is nice to look at.

#8  Dodger stadium  An old stadium.  I like the zigzag roof above the outfield seats and the see through fence behind homeplate which makes fans look like they’re sitting right on the edge of the field.  Big and spacious, it’s a park I’d like to see someday.  Picture of my friend Sean and his family.

Image#9  Yankee stadium  Really did a great job of repicating the old stadium.  Of course it’s debatable whether they needed to rebuild it.  My first baseball game, way back in 1972 was in old, old Yankee Stadium.  I won’t post pictures of all these parks but this shows the classic touches put into the park.


#10  Kauffman  Nice ‘older’ park that has a mallpark feel to it that actually works well.  It’s a pretty place to watch a game, the fountains in center are what it’s best known for.

#11  Coors in Denver.  The nod to the Rocky Mountains in the outfield is a nice touch, and goodness do those baseballs fly far in that thin mountain air.

#12  Angels stadium  Outfield is interesting with the rocky landscape beyond left field where Paulie homered twice in the 05 playoffs.

#13  Camden Yards Baltimore.  Should be higher on this list because of the unique park it was when it opened.  It was the first retro park.  The large warehouse that looks like a giant red monster type wall in right is what it’s known for.  Would really like to visit this park.

#14  Great American Ball park.  Cincinnati’s palace on the Ohio River is intriguing with some nice views.  Great name for a park!

#15-27  All the rest.  Some are retro parks which look beautiful but just joined the trend towards retro.  Some have nice touches like the train on top of the wall in Houston or the trains that roar outside the wall in Seattle.  Bernie the Brewer sliding into the beer mug is classic as are the sausage races, but the stadium is pretty nondescript.  The hill in Houston’s center field is interesting too as is the tomahawk chopping Chick Filet cow on the roof of Atlanta’s Turner field.  I like Cleveland’s toothbrush looking lightpoles and the centerfield backdrop at the Rangers home has always intrigued me.  Phoenix has a very cool looking path between the pitchers mound and home and a swimming pool in center field but that doesn’t save it’s otherwise drab interior.  The Twins did good by ditching the dreadful Metrodome and I’d rate their digs closer to 15 on this list.

#28  Rogers Center Toronto  Large retractable roof stadium which saw a lot of very good baseball in the 80’s and 90’s, but there’s not much to remember that place for.  Watch Joe Carters historic homer in ’93 into some hallway and you’ll understand how bad this park is.  Home runs should land in bleachers, not some formless void.

#29  Oakland Coliseum  A football stadium doesn’t work for baseball.  Ugly.

#30  Tropicana Field Tampa  The worst for so many reasons.  It’s domed and ugly.  No one goes there even though the Rays win more than 90 games every year and could win the World Series this year.  It has wires on the roof that interfere with balls in play.  But worst of all, this horrid stadium is what the White Sox threatened to leave Chicago to inhabit.  Oh my, I’d never recover from that happening!

Any major league park would entice me to go and watch a game.  They’re special places, even the bad ones have their own charms I suppose.  But some of these baseball palaces stand out.  Time for a road trip!