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Ranking all 30 MLB ballparks

Jul 24, 2014, 6:00 AM EST

MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at Minnesota Twins

You may have noticed last week when I was covering the All-Star Game in Minneapolis that I noted Target Field was the last of the 30 current MLB ballparks I needed to visit. It’s a very cool achievement to be able to cross off my bucket list, and actually the list is even longer than that when you add ballparks that are no longer with us.

For the record, I’ve now seen MLB games played in 43 different parks in my lifetime, including the out-of-service Qualcomm Stadium, Astrodome, Busch Stadium II, Metrodome, County Stadium, Three Rivers Stadium, Veterans Stadium, Old Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium, Memorial Stadium, Olympic Stadium, Dolphin Stadium and RFK Stadium.

Last week’s trip to Target Field, though, got me thinking about how I would rank all of these parks. There’s no perfect method for this, and it’s not exactly fair to try to compare sparkling new gems like AT&T Park in San Francisco and Petco Park in San Diego to legendary (but clearly out-of-date) classics like Wrigley Field and Fenway Park.

But I’m going to give it whack anyway, because who doesn’t love to read and debate lists like this? If anyone else out there also has been to all 30 parks and would like to share a full ranking, that would be great. And even if you haven’t been to them all, I’m interested in your take on the various parks you’ve attended, fully recognizing that a fan’s perspective may differ greatly from a media member’s perspective.

So without further ado, here’s how I rank all 30 MLB ballparks…

Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

1. PNC PARK, Pittsburgh
Opened: 2001
Capacity: 38,362
Comment: To me, this is the perfect ballpark. And I know I’m not alone in thinking that. It has everything: An unmatched vista of downtown Pittsburgh beyond the Allegheny River, the Roberto Clemente Bridge ushering fans back and forth, an intimate seating bowl with only two decks (the first ballpark built with fewer than three decks since Milwaukee’s County Stadium in the 1950s) and just enough quirks to make games there distinct without threatening the quality of play. And after two decades of awful baseball, it’s been great to see Pirates games become a real event inside the best ballpark in America.

source:  2. AT&T PARK, San Francisco
Opened: 2000
Capacity: 41,503
Comment: There’s certainly a valid argument for the Giants’ home park to rank No. 1 on the list, and I wouldn’t question anyone who picked it. The view of San Francisco Bay is breathtaking. The see-through brick wall in right field is a great touch for pedestrians walking outside the park to be able to see in. The best view of the place, though, actually is from the last seat in the last row of the upper deck down the first-base line. From there, you see not only the field and the bay, but the Bay Bridge and downtown San Francisco behind the third-base line. It’s just phenomenal.

source:  3. CAMDEN YARDS, Baltimore
Opened: 1992
Capacity: 45,971
Comment: The original retro ballpark remains one of the very best. So many other parks built in the ’90s and ’00s tried to duplicate Camden Yards, but none truly could, for one good reason: the warehouse. It already existed, so the ballpark was built around it. You can’t fabricate something like that. It has to be organic. It’s remarkable to think it’s been 22 years since Camden Yards opened and completely changed the notion of the modern sports facility. It is starting to show its age just a bit, but it remains a gem, often imitated, never duplicated.

source:  4. WRIGLEY FIELD, Chicago
Opened: 1914
Capacity: 41,072
Comment: It’s so hard to try to compare a ballpark built 100 years ago with one built in the last decade, but Wrigley Field is one of the 30 current MLB ballparks, so we’ll try our best. To step into the Friendly Confines is to step back in time. That can be bad in some cases (try sitting way under the overhang and directly behind a pole, or try navigating your way through the rustic concourse) but the good far outweighs the bad. There simply is nothing like a Chicago summer afternoon spent in the bleachers at the corner of Clark and Addison. The ivy. The manual scoreboard. The rooftops. The rest of Wrigleyville outside the stadium. If you’ve never been, you need to put this one on your list.

source:  5. PETCO PARK, San Diego
Opened: 2004
Capacity: 42,302
Comment: For starters, you’re in San Diego, so it’s hard to go wrong, no matter what the place looks like. But the Padres did a fantastic job designing and building Petco Park, which combines modern niceties with some old-fashioned flair. For example, the Western Metal Supply Co. building, one corner of which serves as the left-field foul pole. Genius! There’s also the beach area behind the center-field fence. And the neighboring Gaslamp District has been completely revitalized, a bustling corner of downtown San Diego that offers no shortage of places to go before and after Padres games.

source:  6. SAFECO FIELD, Seattle
Opened: 1999
Capacity: 47,476
Comment: It’s the best of the domes, in large part because it’s not actually a dome. The retractable roof at Safeco closes when it rains, but it doesn’t completely enclose the ballpark. That makes it feel more like you’re outdoors (even if it does require bringing a jacket to the game). The left-field bullpens and overhanging bleachers are among the best features of the Mariners’ home of the last 15 years. The Nats will be paying their first visit there since 2008 in September.

7. TARGET FIELD, Minnesota
Opened: 2010
Capacity: 39,021
Comment: I had heard great things about the Twins’ new park before seeing it for myself last week, and it didn’t disappoint. This is a really, really nice ballpark in a very nice city. The best touches, in my opinion: The limestone backstop and wall next to the left-field foul pole, the overhanging upper decks in the outfield that make the place feel like something of a caldron and, of course, the great Twins logo high above center field, with Mr. Minneapolis and Mr. Saint Paul shaking hands across the Mississippi River.

source:  8. DODGER STADIUM, Los Angeles
Opened: 1962
Capacity: 56,000
Comment: Though it’s clearly showing its age, Dodger Stadium remains a national treasure. There’s just nothing like stepping out from the fourth deck high above home plate and looking out at the magnificent vista, with Chavez Ravine in the immediate background and the San Gabriel Mountains off in the distance. There’s also something about the grass there. It just looks greener than any ballpark you’ve ever seen. Yeah, the clubhouses are cramped and the PA system will blow your ears out, but there are few things in life that top eating a Dodger Dog while listening to Vin Scully call a game on-site.

Opened: 1973
Capacity: 37,903
Comment: Perhaps the most under-appreciated ballpark in the majors, Kauffman Stadium is an anomaly. Built in the early ’70s when so many cookie-cutter, multi-purpose stadiums opened, it is a baseball-only ballpark that has stood the test of time quite well. The Royals did some renovations a few years ago, including the removal of some of the famed fountains beyond the outfield fence (I wish they kept them all), but the place didn’t need a whole lot of work. It may be 41 years old, but it’s still a great place to watch a ballgame, and testament to some smart design from a couple generations ago.

source:  10. FENWAY PARK, Boston
Opened: 1912
Capacity: 37,499
Comment: Yeah, it wasn’t built with the 21st century in mind. And to spend an evening there is to get way-too-acquainted with Red Sox Nation and Neil Diamond. But it’s a wholly unique experience, and well worth it. The Green Monster hovers over everything. The Pesky Pole looks so out of place, you can’t fathom how guys actually hit home runs about 309 feet down the right-field line. You’ll be cramped, you’ll be sick of everything New England, but you’ll be glad you went.

source:  11. COORS FIELD, Denver
Opened: 1995
Capacity: 50,398
Comment: The Nationals spent the last three days in Colorado, and though the pitching staff may not have loved the best hitter’s ballpark in the country, you better believe the lineup did. Home runs aside, this is a really nice ballpark. It’s a true retro park, brick and steel, and it fits right in with the old buildings in downtown Denver. The Rockies did build the park too big, a reaction to the ridiculous crowds they drew in their first two seasons of existence at Mile High Stadium, so they tore down the third deck in right field and converted it to a party zone. Don’t worry, though, you’ll still find the vast majority of the purple row of seats in the upper deck, so designated to mark 5,280 feet above sea level.

source:  12. COMERICA PARK, Detroit
Opened: 2000
Capacity: 41,681
Comment: You wouldn’t think downtown Detroit would make for much of a backdrop, but you’d be surprised. Comerica Park is another hidden gem, a well-thought-out, well-executed ballpark that makes Detroit look good. It’s the little things that complete it: The stone tigers that encompass the park, the home plate-shaped dirt, the retired numbers and names above the outfield wall. It may not be enough to revitalize a devastated downtown area, but it is most definitely reason to visit the Motor City.

source:  13. ANGEL STADIUM, Anaheim
Opened: 1966
Capacity: 45,483
Comment: Though the basic foundation of the stadium opened nearly 50 years ago, it was gutted and rebuilt in the ’90s, so it doesn’t feel at all like an old ballpark. This is just a pleasant place to watch a ballgame. The weather is usually fantastic. The home team is usually good. The stands are usually packed. And Disneyland is only five minutes away. What more do you need?

source:  14. MINUTE MAID PARK, Houston
Opened: 2000
Capacity: 42,060
Comment: OK, it’s quirky. Really quirky. Maybe too much so. There’s Tal’s Hill in center field, which is an accident waiting to happen. There’s a way-too-short wall in left field, plus an odd angle back to the bullpens in deep left-center. There’s a locomotive filled with fake giant oranges above the wall. But in spite of all that, it really is a nice park, especially when the roof is open.

source:  15. CITIZENS BANK PARK, Philadelphia
Opened: 2004
Capacity: 43,651
Comment: We’re now entering the indistinguishable middle of the pack. All of these ballparks have some similarities, none of them especially exciting. Call them the modern-day cookie cutters. Philadelphia has probably the best of this group, notable for the dark red brick and two-tiered bullpen behind the center-field fence. But there’s not a whole lot else that defines Citizens Bank Park. Aside from the Phanatic (who is great) and the local fan base (which is not).

16. NATIONALS PARK, Washington
Opened: 2008
Capacity: 41,418
Comment: Look, you may not like or agree with this. Nationals Park, to its credit, is a very fan-friendly ballpark, with wide concourses and good field views from just about any seat. But it simply has no defining characteristic, no distinct charm. Think about it this way: What’s the first thing you think of when you think of Nationals Park? It’s tough to come up with something. The big video board? The Red Porch area? The cherry blossoms that bloom for only a week or so in early-April? The distant view of the Capitol dome from a handful of sections in the upper deck? I just wish there was something that stood about this place. A quirk in the outfield fence. A view of the Anacostia River. A view of more of the city. A unique bullpen. Something. Anything. Instead, we’re left with a very nice — but wholly indistinguishable — ballpark in the nation’s capital.

source:  17. BUSCH STADIUM, St. Louis
Opened: 2006
Capacity: 43,975
Comment: There is the Gateway Arch looming in the background, and that is a cool thing to see as you gaze out beyond the sea of red seats. But that’s about the only thing that distinguishes the third Busch Stadium from the other parks that occupy the middle section of this list. You would think the Cardinals, so rich with tradition and with such a passionate fan base, would have come up with something a little more interesting than this. But they didn’t. The dimensions are symmetrical. The seating areas look just like the seating areas in other stadiums. There’s nothing particularly wrong with the place. There’s just nothing particularly exciting about it, either.

source:  18. PROGRESSIVE FIELD, Cleveland
Opened: 1994
Capacity: 42,487
Comment: When it first opened, the then-Jacobs Field was hailed as one of the finest ballparks in the majors, the next Camden Yards. Unfortunately, it just simply has been overtaken by many others in the two decades since. Again, there’s nothing particularly wrong with it. But neither is it particularly interesting or distinctive. There are too many suites along the third-base line, pushing the upper deck higher than it needs to be. The view of downtown Cleveland is perfectly fine, though hardly jaw-dropping.

source:  19. GREAT AMERICAN BALL PARK, Cincinnati
Opened: 2003
Capacity: 42,319
Comment: Change the seats from red to blue, and you might think you were at Nationals Park. There are some real similarities. The shame of the Reds’ stadium is that while it faces the Ohio River, the water is too far away for anybody with a bat to reach it. And the view on the other side of the river is Northern Kentucky, hardly awe-inspiring. Downtown Cincinnati, meanwhile, is directly behind home plate, so you don’t get a view of that unless you’re seated in the outfield. Oh, the dimensions are too small, as well, turning this place into a home run haven.

source:  20. YANKEE STADIUM, New York
Opened: 2009
Capacity: 49,642
Comment: How do you replace the most famous ballpark in baseball history, one that played host to so many iconic moments in the sport’s history over eight decades? Well, the Yankees decided to build a near-replica of the old place, right across the street. Except they made it bigger, more lavish and way more expensive (you’ll notice how many of the overpriced field club seats always are empty). Which leaves the new Yankee Stadium feeling like something of a fraud. It looks like Yankee Stadium. It’s called Yankee Stadium. But it’s just not Yankee Stadium.

source:  21. MILLER PARK, Milwaukee
Opened: 2001
Capacity: 41,900
Comment: It needs to be said that Brewers fans are among the best in baseball, and they help create a fun, party-like atmosphere inside (and especially outside) Miller Park. But this isn’t a ranking of fans, it’s a ranking of ballparks. And Miller Park simply doesn’t stack up to most of the rest of the league. The fan-like retractable roof is oddly shaped, coming to a point behind home plate. And even when the roof and outfield panels are open, there’s not much of anything to see. Downtown Milwaukee is several miles away, and not in that direction. It just feels like they missed the boat a little bit on this one.

source:  22. CHASE FIELD, Arizona
Opened: 1998
Capacity: 48,633
Comment: Similar in look to Miller Park, Chase Field has a retractable roof that splits open in the middle, plus panels beyond the outfield wall. This stadium, though, is massive, and can be seen from miles away, resembling a huge airplane hangar more than a ballpark. There are plenty of distractions, from restaurants and bars to the famous swimming pool behind the right-field fence. Like Coors Field, it was built too big, back when ticket demand was sky-high. Now, the Diamondbacks have trouble coming close to sellouts even for big games against prime opponents. The shame is that if you can block out all the extra stuff and focus simply on the playing field and the lower seating bowl, it’s quite a nice place. It’s just really hard to block out everything else.

source:  23. MARLINS PARK, Miami
Opened: 2012
Capacity: 36,472
Comment: Give Jeff Loria this much: He built a ballpark that is uniquely Miami. It may not be your cup of tea, with the Clevelander Bar behind the left-field bullpen, the bright colors and the million-dollar thingamabob sculpture behind the center-field fence. But it doesn’t look like any other ballpark in the world, and there’s something to be said for that. On the other hand, this feels less like a ballpark than an amusement park. Plus there’s the whole swindling local taxpayers to get the place built thing, which never looks good.

source:  24. TURNER FIELD, Atlanta
Opened: 1997
Capacity: 49,586
Comment: I often wondered what the lifespan of the modern ballpark would be. The multipurpose facilities of the ’60s and ’70s survived roughly 30-to-40 years before being torn down. Will the new parks become obsolete so soon as well? In Atlanta, the answer is yes. Despite being less than 20 years old, Turner Field already is being replaced, with the Braves building a brand-new stadium in the suburbs set to open in 2017. What’s wrong with the current ballpark? Well, it was originally built for the Olympics, so it does feel too big and a little un-baseball-like. And as is the case in several middle-of-the-road ballparks listed above, it has no real defining characteristic. Unfortunately, the initial renderings of the new park don’t blow you away, either, so the Braves’ next home may be nothing more than a newer version of their current one.

source:  25. CITI FIELD, New York
Opened: 2009
Capacity: 41,922
Comment: Let’s make one thing clear: Citi Field is so much better than Shea Stadium, which was the single worst place on Earth. And I don’t just say that because I once got food poisoning in the media dining room. (Though that certainly didn’t help.) The problems with Citi Field, however, are many. It’s too big. It’s too dark. It’s too confusing (you can’t walk all the way around the main concourse, you have to take stairs or escalators up and then back down). And the original outfield dimensions were so bad, the Mets wound up moving the fences in after only a couple of seasons of play. It’s a completely contrived ballpark out in the middle of Flushing Meadows, where the crowds are drowned out by the planes taking off from nearby LaGuardia Airport every couple of minutes. Very much a missed opportunity for the Mets.

source:  26. GLOBE LIFE PARK, Arlington
Opened: 1994
Capacity: 48,114
Comment: Why does the Rangers’ ballpark rank so low? Let’s count the ways: 1) It’s too big, like so many other things in Texas, 2) It’s too hot, like so many other things in Texas, because it has a southeasterly orientation for no good reason, 3) It’s too contrived (the overhanging upper deck in right field feels completely out of the place with the rest of the park, and 4) It has had about 17 different names over the last two decades.

source:  27. ROGERS CENTRE, Toronto
Opened: 1989
Capacity: 49,282
Comment: I distinctly remember thinking the then-Skydome was the coolest stadium in the world when it opened 25 years ago. And at the time, it was a true marvel. It had a retractable dome. It had the biggest scoreboard anyone had ever seen. It had a hotel INSIDE the stadium, for crying out loud! These days, it just feels off. Like Epcot Center, you realize this place once felt futuristic but now feels like a bad example of what we thought the future would look like back in the ’80s.

source:  28. U.S. CELLULAR FIELD, Chicago
Opened: 1991
Capacity: 40,615
Comment: Talk about bad timing. The White Sox opened their new stadium one year before Camden Yards opened in Baltimore. The difference is staggering. There’s nothing retro about the new Comiskey Park. It’s a monstrous stadium with symmetrical dimensions, a huge, steep upper deck and a view not of downtown Chicago but of the housing projects next to the Dan Ryan Expressway. They’ve done a few renovations to try to make the place look better, but there really is little than can be done with an eyesore like this.

source:  29. TROPICANA FIELD, Tampa Bay
Opened: 1990
Capacity: 31,042
Comment: Built eight years before the region even had its own major-league team, the Trop has provided one of the worst environments in baseball history for 16 years now. It’s the only permanent dome still being used in the majors. The lack of crowds leaves everything echoing throughout the park. And then there are the catwalks that hover over the field of play, with special ground rules written in case a batted ball strikes one of the four different rings. The Rays desperately want a new park, and they’ve been trying for years, but for now they remain stuck in this awful facility.

source:  30. O.CO COLISEUM, Oakland
Opened: 1966
Capacity: 35,067
Comment: The shame is, this once was a nice stadium. Back before Al Davis built the monstrosity that has overtaken the center-field bleachers as an upper deck for his Raiders, the Coliseum offered up gorgeous views of the mountains in the distance. These days, there are no mountains to be seen, only a decrepit stadium that feels even older than it is. Have we mentioned the recurring raw sewage problem? The A’s and their fans deserve so much better than this, but they remain stuck in limbo while MLB tries to find a way to let them relocate to San Jose, encroaching on territory the Giants claim is solely theirs.


144 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. stoatva - Jul 24, 2014 at 6:35 AM

    I was initially surprised to see Nats Park rated relatively low, but Mark makes a point. It really could be anywhere. You have little sense of being on the nation’s capital. On the other hand, I already know where I am, so as a place to go see my twentyish games a year, it’s pretty great. Probably better than some that rank higher. And it has no corporate name yet, which pushes it up a couple of slots in my book.

    Good post. Fun to read and think about.

    • adcwonk - Jul 24, 2014 at 8:41 AM

      So, there’s nothing distinguishable about Nats park?

      And then right after that you write, of St. Louis: There is the Gateway Arch looming in the background, and that is a cool thing to see as you gaze out beyond the sea of red seats….

      Nu? Have you ever been in right field seeing the Capital Dome at night? It’s a beautiful sight. They show that view on TV all the time.

      Mark — you need to get out and about more! 😉

      • natsbro - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:17 AM

        I kind of agree with Mark…I mean yeah you can see the capital dome if you look over by right field at night..but they potentially could’ve done a much better job incorporating the city/monuments more. It’s more of a location fault than anything imo

      • texnat1 - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:56 AM

        Wonk, isn’t the major criticism of Nats park that you don’t have a view of the dome and other Washington landmarks? Certainly you can see it from places, but its nowhere near as prominent as the Arch in St. Louis from Busch.

      • adcwonk - Jul 24, 2014 at 7:47 PM

        True — but in order get the view of the other DC landmarks, you’d have sun in the eyes of the fielders way too much (kinda like in Colorado, I think).

        In fact, if I remember right, the field orientation was already moved from the original design just so that at least the Capitol can be seen from part of the stadium.

      • pcoffey49 - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:52 PM

        This yahoo must be a Cub fan. His list is as bad as they are. So, there is nothing special about Busch Stadium, and this person claims to have been there. Maybe he has been too used to peeing against the side of the restroom wall at Wrigley. And, by the by, next time you are at Busch, check out the World Series flags. Something else that Wrigley does not have.

  2. laddieblahblah - Jul 24, 2014 at 7:26 AM

    Nationals Park is my favorite ball park.

    The thing I like most about the place is the presidential mascots, and the way the kids flock to them. I sometimes stop watching the game and watch the kids frolicking with the mascots, instead. Rain delays find the mascots in even greater demand. Then the place becomes a festival of fun for the little ones and entertainment for the rest of us.

    And then there is the great Sunday tradition of the kids running around the bases. To me, the stadium is a place for the kids to be introduced to the game, and to have a good time, too.

    Then there is the tradition of honoring the military. It’s a proud Nat’s tradition that will never end. And I love the sound of the diving klaxon from the Navy Yard. It’s kind of a reminder that those guys are not far away.

    Who cares about the view? I’m not an architect nor a sight-seer. If I really want to see the Anacostia (I don’t) then I can walk around the concourse, or take the ferry from Alexandria.

    I come to watch the game and enjoy the other fans, who are always well-behaved and friendly. I’ve been to other parks where you will find drunk, obnoxious folks who go there, it seems, so they can indulge their worst instincts. Dodger Stadium? Isn’t that where you would go if you want to see the fans try and kill each other?

    I have never had a bad experience at Nats Park. I love going there. Will be there for the Phillies game when the Nats return from their road trip. Can’t wait. Will be in section 209 for the first time. I prefer to sit at a different location, each time, to see the game from as many different stadium perspectives as possible. I don’t need a view of the Capitol Dome. I come to watch the game.

    And, really, who wants to be reminded that DC is where the government is? Nats Park is a refuge from all of that. May it always be so. The people make the place, and the people who go to Nats Park make it the best place to enjoy the game. The traditions define the experience, and the Nats have the best of traditions, combining fun for the kids with honor for the valiant, and an opportunity for the rest of us to watch a great baseball team play the game at the highest level.

    I’ll take that, any day.

    • natszee - Jul 24, 2014 at 8:01 AM

      +1 on many of your comments but want to expand on one. My 11 year old has been a member of the Nats Kids Club since he was 5. By doing so he has been able to attend on field but batting practice, on field baseball clinics with player meet and greet, ran the bases, got his Mom happy birthday messages on the scoreboard, received yearbooks, jerseys, hats and other goodies not to mention his Screech bobble head. Whenever I have contacted the folks that deal with the kids (even for little league stuff) they bend over backwards to accommodate.

      I agree, Nats Park and the organization do an outstanding job creating the welcoming environment for families and kids. My boy is so into the Nats and baseball now it’s wonderful. We go to about 8-10 Nats games together each year and did spring training twice (easy to do when your family lives in FL). Not sure if any of theses moments would have happened if the organization and players were not so welcoming. Great park, great team, great organization and great fans!

      • laddieblahblah - Jul 24, 2014 at 8:46 AM

        That’s great.

        My one regret about the Nats relocation to DC is that it came too late for me to take my son to the games when he was still that young. We still go together, but only once or twice a year.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 8:08 AM

      Honoring the Military seems to be the one original thing started by the Nats and now copied on a smaller scale at other parks.

      • scbilly - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:53 AM

        Hadn’t the Padres been doing that (at least every Sunday) for a long time before the Nats?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:09 AM

        Scbilly not sure if they were. Good question as you could be Correctomundo

      • wahoo21 - Jul 24, 2014 at 6:34 PM

        San Diego has been honoring the military for at least 25 years if not longer. They started by having recruits from MCRD ( Marine Corp Recruit Depot ) and NTC ( Naval Training Center ) sit on opposite sides of Quualcom Stadium and do cheers at each other on Sundays at Padre games. Now every Sunday home game the Padres wear their Camo uniforms at Petco……San Diego is the Military Presence on the West Coast…..North Island ( 3 Carriers ) Pt Loma ( Submarine Base ) Coronado ( Anti Submarine Warfare and Navy Seals ) 32nd Street ( Naval Base San Diego ) Home of the Pacific Fleet ( 54 Cruisers, Destroyers and Frigates ) MCAS Miramar ( 3rd Marine Airwing ) and Camp Pendleton ( Largest Marine Base in the West ) and two Coast Guard Stations.

        Glad the Nats are doing it right but if you really want to see what its all about….San Diego on a Sunday….playing the Nats 😉

    • deepflakes - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:36 AM

      As a season ticket holder, I spend more time in Nats Park than any other ballpark. It’s a solid B, but some of the others get an A grade.

      I just was at Target Field again for the All Star game and the difference in the two parks is pretty stark. Part of it is the location — with the views of downtown and an established restaurant/bar infrastructure already in place in Minneapolis. The Twins also have some fun places like Hrbek’s and Town Ball Bar (or something like that) everyone can access, not just season ticket or premium ticket holders. The Red Porch and the Miller Lite bar in center field don’t compare. The Heineken bar they’ve put in on the left field second deck is OK, but it’s an obvious afterthought. I hope they do something good with the former kids play area that is under construction in center field on the first level. That was dark and wasted space before and I hope they do more than just put in another place to buy Nats gear. They also really need to do something to mask the parking garages — the banners they have there look cheesy, temporary, and are already grimy — it just not a first-class look.

      Another issue with Nats Park is the amount of restricted seating areas. There are three separate clubs, which isn’t that unusual these days, but it does hamper mobility around the park, especially on the second deck.

      I do like the wide concourses, the seats are generally very good to watch the game and I enjoy it, but it could have been better.

    • philipharmonic - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:16 PM

      just to point out an inconsistency: “I come to watch the game” vs. “I sometimes stop watching the game and watch the kids frolicking with the mascots, instead.”

      Honoring the military is fine, I’m super tired of the faux-patriotism and jingoism that passes for patriotism. People think that standing up and cheering in the gap between an inning while an awful country song plays means they’ve done their duty. What the Nats should do is pass out stamped note card with addresses of Member’s of Congress so we can quickly write something to our Members of Congress regarding how poorly they treat our wounded warriors.

      And those super friendly Nats workers? while many are nice, some are downright unkind. I’ve seen them get into screaming matches with fans over putting one’s feet on an (empty) seatback. And once I tried to visit a friend who was sitting in a mostly empty section in left-field and the attendant wouldn’t let me go down for half an inning. I had to yell at him to come up (because the cell phone service sucks at Nats park).

  3. exposedindc - Jul 24, 2014 at 7:39 AM

    Well done Mark, I enjoyed the read, being a bit nostalgic, I rank Fenway 1st on my list of ball parks visited, couldn’t agree with you more on Nats Park however I would rank the Rangers park a little higher.

  4. lphboston - Jul 24, 2014 at 8:10 AM

    Fenway Park is a dump, and absolutely hell if you have an overweight person sitting next to you.

    Stupidest fan base this side of Miami.

    • thebadguyswon - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:38 AM

      It’s terrible. 95% of it’s allure is the history. It’s an awful place to watch a game.

    • psousa1 - Jul 25, 2014 at 12:19 PM

      Unless you have lower box seats you must be 5 foot 3 and 115 pounds in order to comfortably sit at Fenway. When you walk up the concourse to the field you are mesmerized but then when you take your seat that all ends.

      Wish they would build a new one. If John Henry tried to build a new park the officials in the city of Boston would try to make his life hell like they did when he was trying to buy the team.

  5. ArVAFan - Jul 24, 2014 at 8:21 AM

    Nationals Park: “Timeless” because the clock has no hands (insert joke regarding time inside the Beltway here).

    Having been to six games at Wrigley within the last year, I can say that the food options are definitely better here in DC than Wrigley. I do find the lack of interruptions (t-shirt tosses, free pizza delivery, Kiss-cam, etc.) an attractive feature of taking in a game at Wrigley: much easier to concentrate on the game and talk baseball with one’s companions. And the fans are quite friendly—Midwest personality plus decades of “baseball for baseball’s sake” will apparently create a friendly atmosphere. Like Mark, I agree it’s definitely worth the pilgrimage before Mr. Ricketts uses some of his $$$ to put up a bigger video board and other improvements (although if you’re not fond of the current men’s room arrangement, you might want to wait. I understand that’s high on the list of renovations).

    At Wrigley, the outside sign, the scoreboard, and the ivy are all on the National Register. So those are not going to be changed (and yes, MLB has special rules for balls in the ivy. I suspect those won’t be changed, either).

    • deepflakes - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:37 AM

      Good point — another low-rent thing — they can’t fix that clock?

      • NatsLady - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:17 PM

        There was an article about that in the Washington Post a few weeks ago. Apparently it’s more difficult that you would think. I actually prefer it without the hands, it just looks like a cool decoration now. You can see the time on the scoreboard if you need it. In a couple of years people will forget it was ever a clock.

      • John D - Jul 24, 2014 at 6:29 PM

        Your comments about Fenway have almost nothing to do with watching baseball and only serve to convey your bias tinged it appears with envy/jealousy perhaps at their recent success and some fans their having too much bravado. That’s got nothing to do with watching the game and say what you want there’s not a more passionate fan base in MLB. . Kauffman stadium ranked ahead of Fenway is absurd. I hope anybody reading this and thinking of spending their money to visit ballparks does their own research. Is Fenway cramped and lacking some modern amenities? Absolutely. Do you want to be on top of the action in an intense atmosphere on the same field where all time greats like Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle played and where I’ve seen people come to the park and not be able to take their eyes off the green monster for the first two innings or do want comfy seats with nice sight lines of things OUTSIDE the park? For real baseball fans its a no brainer.

  6. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 8:24 AM

    Mark goes through the media entrance and if he entered like the common folk, not sure he would rate Pittsburgh #1. Almost all that pedestrian traffic goes to the leftfield gates making it a cumbersome experience and then a pain in the neck getting to the 1st base dugout seats.

    In Camden Yards, the stadium is my #1 but the gameday experience is ruined by many factors and the yelling of O during the National Anthem and the collection of lower life forms ruins it. Thank the Lord they banned smoking last year on Eutaw Street because it was like smoking a pack while you just tried to breathe.

    My #1 is San Diego and #2 is San Fran #3 is Wrigley #4 is Fenway #5 is Camden Yards #6 Pittsburgh #7 Nats Park #8 Houston #9 Dodgers #10 Nats Park

    • laddieblahblah - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:10 AM

      Only been to San Diego once. Loved the place, but it was in the off-season.

      Best memory was a round at Torrey Pines, looking out over the cliffs to the beach, below, and walking up the fairway while watching the hang gliders riding the updrafts, just a stone’s throw away. That was in December, but it was like a spring day.

      Had to use rented clubs, and they were picked clean by the time we got there. Only par was the par 3 10th (I think its the 11th now). Saw Tiger bogey that same hole, when it was still the Buick Open, just a few weeks later. He hit the green, but 3-putted. I had missed the green to the left, hole high, but chipped to about 10 feet, and sank that one for the par.

      Eat your heart out, Woods!

      Are you OK, Ghost? You list Nats Park as your 7th favorite, and as your 10th favorite, too. Just asking…;o)

    • erocks33 - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:46 AM

      It’s been a few years since I’ve been to PNC Park, so I don’t know if it’s changed since then, but when we went we would walk over Clemente Bridge (almost nothing beats that walk, by the way!), then once we got over the bridge we would walk along the river, basically walking behind the stadium’s outfield. We’d end up by the right field entrance and never had any problems getting in.

      PNC is so intimate, that I never had any troubles getting to any of the seating sections, regardless of where I entered from. I LOVE Nats Park, but if you think entering the LF gates at PNC was a “cumbersome experience” then what do you think of the fustercluck that is the CF entrance at Nats Park?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:08 AM

        When I’m going to a new stadium I’m following the masses to the gates. I go to most All Star games and it was a zoo in PNC. I love the views and the concession stands were the first park I think to be put on the outside of the concourse to open up views to the field.

  7. knoxvillenat - Jul 24, 2014 at 8:35 AM


    Great post and interesting to read what others say here. I’ve been to nine of the 30 parks mentioned and here is my personal ranking of those I’ve visited.

    1. Nationals Park…. my team, and for all the reasons mentioned by laddieblahblah and natszee.
    2. PETCO……great city to visit, very nice ball park and the Gas Lamp district was fun
    3. Coors Field
    4. Camden Yards
    5. Wrigley Field
    6. Fenway Park
    7. Great American Ball Park
    8. Citizens Bank Park
    9. Turner Field……..and if I could rank this venue # 30 out of 9 I would……just for that awful tomahawk chop and the ignorant fans who do it.

  8. nats1924 - Jul 24, 2014 at 8:39 AM

    This order of stadiums seems very accurate.

    Nats Park – I truly enjoy baseball here, unfortunately they truly goofed when it came to the parking garages. You think they would have put them on the river side, and scooted the stadium closer to the city?

    Yankee Stadium – Ive been to the original stadium dozens and dozones of time and have zero interest in the new one. To me it seems like a fraud.

    Os Park – I can’t stand bmore and gross city….but they did do something right with their teams fields.

    …go Nats

    • bmorepositive123 - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:42 PM

      Nationals Park is a bore. It’s a cookie cutter basic modern stadium. The parking situation is terrible (you can’t have open flames or throw a football around in the parking lots) and considering the entire area is a dump, it’s expensive to park. So many parks out there have pretty center fields or views. Nats Park has a parking garage… woohooo!!! The Prez race is literally the only above average thing about the park, oh and the center field bar.

      Please, don’t come to Baltimore. We can’t stand when you visit and I don’t want you trying to even compare your ballpark with ours.

    • cuencanolenny - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:02 PM

      Listed at #17 is Busch Stadium. The article refers to having visited some 43 parks including those that are no longer with us and lists Busch II. Hmmm, the new stadium would be Busch II since prior to Busch Stadium the Cardinals played at Sportsman’s Park on Grand Blvd.

      • Natnal - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:26 PM

        Sportsmans Park was renamed Busch Stadium in latter years, before the multipurpose stadium was built downtown. (Maybe at the time the Busch family bought the team?)

  9. NatsLady - Jul 24, 2014 at 8:44 AM

    I can’t agree on Camden Yards. The staff are not friendly, there are no greeters or booths like at Nats Park to assist you if you don’t know your way, there is no shuttle or pedi-cabs to the parking lots (some of which are QUITE distant), you can get stuck in a seat under the overhang where the view is terrible, the fans aren’t friendly either and some are not even polite, they’ll just sit in your seat if you walk away from it. When I was there the wall for the standing area was so high I couldn’t see over it (I’m 5’4) and parents were holding their kids on their shoulder to look (I understand they’ve since lowered the wall). They don’t give you a program or scorecard like at Nats Park.

    The concourses are dark, dank, and on a rainy day, they leak, with massive puddles and water everywhere, and not many people mopping. The food is overpriced and other than the crabcakes (excellent), just “ballpark.” The bathrooms are not kept clean. The park may be “retro,” and yes, walking in the outside area is cool. But the overall fan experience is poor.

    Target Field is great. I saw Denard Span there before he was a Nat (and Adam Dunn after he was a Nat).

    Miller Park is an indoor stadium (even with the roof open), think Verizon Center. Also the concourses are crapped up with those games (like the claw for suffed animals) and it has a cement floor that makes it very dark. It has the best scoreboard, however, clear, easy to read, and with nerdy stats. The staff and fans are very friendly and nice, the parking is easy ($10), and of course they do tailgate like fiends. They close the roof all the time, even if it’s just a little foggy, or too sunny (literally, the players lobbied for the roof to close so they “don’t have to deal with the shadows.”

    Wrigley Field is Wrigley Field. In order to have a good experience there you have to know where (and HOW) to park, and especially, where to sit. Otherwise you will end up circling local streets and in a seat with a view of the “bullpen” and not much else. The lower concourses are like a shopping mall. They have done a clever thing, that they should do at Nats Park, which is align the condiments on shelves built into the walls. The Cubs logo is everywhere, even on the doors to bathroom stalls. Outside they have brick walkways where fans buy a brick. It’s really neat to see old dates and names of fans. They do a great job of marketing.

    Citizens Bank Park was a pleasant surprise to me. Parking is easy (but as cheap as Miller Park, $16 and they don’t tailgate as much). You have a good view from all the seats, although the scoreboard is awkwardly placed and difficult to read (and not good stats, not even as good as at Nats Park), but they may have done that so you can look over at the museum they have for their stars. The staff was friendly, as were the fans, who sort of booed Jayson Werth, but the heart’s gone out of it. The concourses are are wide and walkable, and NOT all crapped up like at Miller Park and Wrigley, they have just what you need and not too much. There are plenty of play areas for kids, plus on a hot day, misting areas. It is similar enough to Nats Park to make you miss home.

    • NatsLady - Jul 24, 2014 at 8:48 AM

      Make that “parking was NOT as cheap as MIller Park.”

      I definitely want to go to PNC Park, would have gone this year but it wasn’t my vacation time. Maybe next year.

    • ArVAFan - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:44 AM

      For Wrigley, I’ve always taken the CTA (Addison stop on the Red line is a half-block from the Park). The fan friendliness continues on the CTA, even when the Nats beat the Cubs.

      • NatsLady - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:57 AM

        I wasn’t staying anywhere near the CTA, though I did consider taking a bus. They have a new deal on weekends and night games, which is remote parking, exactly as we used to have in RFK for Nats Park. It’s free and you take a shuttle bus to and from the lot. I did that twice and it was great, and the fans were friendly on the bus, as you noted. Unfortunately, they don’t do it for Friday afternoon games…

      • natsfan1a - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:49 AM

        We took a double-decker ballpark special bus from the Loop, where we’d been sightseeing. Was fun riding the bus home from the park after the win (which happened to be vs. the Mets) and “interacting” with opposing fans.

    • secretwasianman - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:51 PM

      Yes yes on oriole park. Very depressing and cold. Bathrooms are dirty.. . My mom got 200 yards from center field entrance at Nats park. We asked an usher for a wheel chair. Someone came ALL the way out and then pushed her all the way to her seat behind home plate. I will always lobe Nats park for,that.

  10. Hiram Hover - Jul 24, 2014 at 8:56 AM

    The homer-ism is cute, but Mark Z. has it right. Nats Stadium is not in the top tier of MLB stadiums.

    It’s a pleasant enough place to view a game, which counts for a lot, because that’s what it’s for But the features of the stadium itself–its architecture, its setting and sightlines, the design of the field of play–are eminently forgettable.

    • NatsLady - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:02 AM

      I agree. It is pleasant, that’s the right word. It’s not dramatic or exciting or memorable as a stadium, and you wonder at the opportunity missed. Also, the parking is challenging, as many out-of-town vistors have mentioned to me (whereas it was a piece of cake at RFK). The views are nice and I LOVE to walk up on the high perch and look down on the Anacostia and the Navy Yard, etc., but most people don’t know to go there. Whoever decided to re-floor the place, that was a great idea, seriously. Really lightens up the look, and the red/blue is in line with the Nats’ colors.

      • texnat1 - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:58 AM

        Yes, the park is fine, but it’s disappointing mostly for what it is not.

    • secretwasianman - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:47 PM

      Stupid comment. Why do more people come here then Cramden yards? Family Friendly park. No jerks in the stands. Very comfortable. And plays like pro baseball. Not a softball field

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 24, 2014 at 6:14 PM

        Your personability is exceeded only by your reading ability.

        I expect no less!

  11. Joe Seamhead - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:04 AM

    I like Nats Park and will like it more as the neighborhood around it gets more developed so as to be able to have more options for food and libations before and after the games. The west side of the park has nothing, but things are slowly changing.

    I actually liked CBP in Philly a lot. You can still see the game while getting food in many areas. And somehow I felt closer to action then I have in some other places.

    When Camden Yards first opened I was, as most everybody else, impressed with the overall aesthetic of the park, but in the beginning I found the crowd kind of haughty. For many, it was a place to be seen rather than a place to watch baseball.I’ve only been back once since baseball returned to DC. Not sure I’ll ever go again unless the Nats and O’s are in the World Series against each other and somehow tix come my way.As an old Senators fan I grew up in an era that said screw Baltimore. I never lost that mentality, at least when talking about baseball.

    I haven’t been to as many parks as I would like, but I really enjoyed the overall game day experience of the past Yankee Stadium. I am glad that I was able to experience it.

    Now? I am thankful every time that I walk into “my” Nats Park. I love it, and love the fact that I somehow get to about 30 games a year.

    • Section 222 - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:59 AM

      Remember the Nats’s first season at RFK. That was a place to be “seen”.

  12. jd - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:27 AM

    Of the stadiums I’ve been to I think Mark has it right on:

    1) Nats Park – Like most commentators I find it great, pleasant etc but not special. Still I like going there a lot.
    2) Citi field – Much like Nats park with the added ‘bonus’ of the LaGuardia traffic and the crappy neighborhood.
    3) Yankee Stadium – Ditto but in a worse neighborhood.
    4) CBP – I like it a lot, but I don’t like the band box effects.
    5) Wrigley – A real baseball experience. My favorite.

  13. Hiram Hover - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:27 AM

    Since we’re on the topic of various MLB parks, I hope my fellow Nats Insiders will indulge a request for advice:

    Going to Fenway later this season–any advice about where to sit (or where to avoid)?

    Never been, and with the current state of the team, the secondary market looks pretty flush, tho still pretty pricey by DC standards.

    • Jim - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:35 PM

      Loge box 1st or 3rd base line up at least 6-7 rows so no one walks in front of you. Can’t go wrong.

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:33 PM

        Thanks, Jim. I will see what I can get.

  14. misterpatient - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:34 AM

    ” the great Twins logo high above center field, with Mr. Minneapolis and Mr. Saint Paul shaking hands across the Mississippi River.”

    Their names are Minnie and Paul. Now you know!

    Good article.

  15. thebadguyswon - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:37 AM

    LOL…..Citi that low is a joke. Agreed with your top three for sure. After that, fairly ridiculous.

  16. carlosdelvaca - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    I’ve been to 22 of the 30 current major league parks (Dodger Stadium will be 23 in about 10 days). I largely agree with your rankings–I have PNC, Camden Yards, and Wrigley as my top 3 (I haven’t been to AT&T yet).

    I do have MInute Maid Park ranked much lower. Didn’t like it at all. I suppose I should appreciate the roof in the Texas heat, but it just felt wrong, and the game felt secondary to all the other crazy stuff going on.

    And I agree that Nationals Park is perfectly fine, but really middle of the pack in the overall rankings, nothing terribly distinctive about it.

  17. Smyrcok - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:43 AM

    I quite enjoy Nats Park for a lot of the reasons mentioned. One thing I am not a fan of is the hero worship that goes on. I have nothing against the military and in fact am a “military brat” myself but I come to baseball games to relax and enjoy myself, not to be pressured into standing during God Bless America (which also has no place at a baseball game in my humble opinion) and saluting our “heroes”. And it is every. single. game. I wouldn’t even notice if it was a once a month or even once a week thing. There are plenty of other volunteer jobs worth saluting that just get zero recognition. I know I’m not alone in having gotten fed up with the whole “support the troops or you’re a terrorist” message that was crammed down our throats in the mid-2000s.

    • NatsLady - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:51 AM

      I have mixed feelings on this. I went to high school in the 60s and a couple of my classmates were killed in Vietnam. Being in the military then was something to be avoided, and if you were in, it was assumed you were a slacker, doped up, and too stupid to have dodged the draft. The hero worship and ultra-patriotism of WWII had completely died–and if you think now is bad, try the WWII period. That war and its shadow, the Cold War, hung over the 50s and early 60s like heavy drapery, there was no escape. My conclusion is that it goes in cycles.

    • stoatva - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:54 AM

      I thought I had gone through the looking glass a couple of years ago when I went to a game on Labor Day and it was a Celebrate the Military Day.

      I hope we are all free to have our own opinions about these matters, but it should be acknowledged that they are bought and paid for by defense contractors as surely as the racing presidents are brought to you by geico. Draw your own conclusions.

      At least they don’t seem to be playing Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of RWB” anymore. OMG.

    • shawndc04 - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:40 AM

      I agree. I have no problem with a salute to wounded warriors, but it need not be every day. Perhaps it could be done on Sundays and/or Memorial Day/Veterans Day. I also wish that Selig had not foisted God Bless America on us. I don’t know why that hymn has any place at a baseball game, which many of us view as an escape. Fortunately, no one has ever called me for not standing during its playing.

      The outside of Nationals Park is unexceptionable. However the inside, including the sightlines, the seats, the concourses, and the food are some of the best that I have seen.

      • stoatva - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:48 AM

        The concessions have stepped up considerably the last couple of seasons. You can actually get an adult beverage that’s not weasel whiz without trekking across the stadium, and there are alternatives to the hotdogs that have become one with the bun. I do wish (and this is a sensitive point) that one were not so often made to feel that you were imposing on the servers by placing an order. There are wonderful exceptions to this, however, and they get our business.

      • 6ID20 - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:05 AM

        When they first started it, it was a salute to wounded warriors. Every night there were guys there from Walter Reed. But now that the wars are over, it’s nothing but a salute to guys who spent the day sitting behind a desk at the Pentagon. Not quite the same thing. They had to quit saying “Welcome Home” at the end of it. Maybe it’s time now to scrap the whole thing, except for Memorial Day and Fourth of July.

      • adcwonk - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:33 PM

        The outside of Nationals Park is unexceptionable

        I like the Bullpen, though. Beers and free live music (which is sometimes pretty darn good!)

    • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:44 PM

      I’m glad somebody else thinks so. I don’t begrudge honoring the Uniformed Services, they deserve it. But so do lots of other federal employees here, and other folks generally, who serve the country, and the planet, and not without risk.

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:13 PM

      Very good discussion here. A testament to the crowd that our excellent host attracts.

    • Zona - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:19 PM


  18. bowdenball - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:55 AM

    I mostly agree with Mark’s ranking, but one important aspect of the stadium experience that he doesn’t discuss is location. I’d prefer a nondescript stadium in the middle of a vibrant city surrounded by bars and restaurants and transportation options and even within walking distance from the offices or homes of many patrons to a beautiful ballpark in the middle of nowhere that’s only reachable via car or some special mass transit shuttle.

    For me that’s the #1 factor, and I know it’s important to a lot of fans as well. Nats Park is still middle of the road in this respect for the time being, as development around the neighborhood continues. But it’s an important difference in perspective between the fans and the beat writers and columnists who usually do these who arrive hours before the fans, stay for hours after they leave, and usually just grab a rental car or cab to their hotel room regardless of location.

    • carlosdelvaca - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:57 AM

      True–it’s a big strike against Citizens Bank Park, which is surrounded by other stadiums/arenas and parking lots.

    • NatsLady - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:05 AM

      Cities (and teams) have taken different approaches on this. At Miller Park (and to some extend at CBP) you bring your own food with you, tailgating is encouraged, the park is easy to get to from the highway. CBP, same, easy to get to from the highway. It’s in a stadium complex, along with the football and basketball venues, there is no “neighborhood” at all to speak of, you go there strictly for the game. And for an out-of-towner going for the game, that approach is undeniably convenient.

      At the opposite end of the spectrum is Wrigley Field, definitely a Chicago “neighborhood” experience.

      • bowdenball - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:23 AM

        CBP was one that I thought of that I personally would downgrade. Yeah the location is nice for the tiny fraction of fans who drive from out of town and then leave the city after the game, but that’s really not enough people to matter. Everyone else, even those working in Center City, have to take a long mass transit ride and the only bar/restaurant nearby is that awful character-less Xfinity Live! place.

        Different strokes for different folks, of course. That just occurred to me as the sort of thing that a beat writer or columnist might not pick up on but that’s probably a huge factor for many fans.

  19. stoatva - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:01 AM

    Also, the sunsets at Nats Park are often truly extraordinary. I also think that if the Nats become regular participants in October baseball, heavy fog may become a Nats Park signature.

  20. tcostant - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    I use to do a vacation each year and I would go see two ballparks each time, I’ve been to 20 of these, all except O.CO COLISEUM, TROPICANA FIELD, CITI FIELD, MARLINS PARK, MILLER PARK, new YANKEE STADIUM, GREAT AMERICAN BALL PARK, new BUSCH STADIUM, ANGEL STADIUM, and TARGET FIELD. In addition the list of closed ballparks I’ve been at include RFK, Shea, old Yankee Stadium, Tiger Field, Qualcomm Stadium, the prior Busch Stadium, Metrodome (the worse place of them all), County Stadium, Three Rivers Stadium, & Veterans Stadium.
    So to say the least, I’ve seen a lot. My top five of the “newer parks” are COMERICA PARK, COORS FIELD, PNC, ORIOLES PARK (BTW the name of the place is not CAMDEN YARDS), and AT&T PARK. My top three of the older parks are WRIGLEY FIELD, DODGER STADIUM then FENWAY PARK (KAUFFMAN STADIUM is not close to the rest IMO).
    This brings back so many great memories. Seeing a ballpark is a great way to see a city, you go to the game, the bars nearby afterward. Talk to the fans. Ask what they think about the DH. Just so much fun. I remember being at Bush Stadium (the prior one), where it was raining so hard that walking the three blocks back to the hotel was not a real option. The delay was so long (almost three hours); we were just waiting for the rain to slow down enough to leave. Right about the time that happen an announcement was made that they would re-start the game in 30 minutes (RIGHT AFTER MIDNIGHT), so we stayed and watched it go to extra innings with the less people in the stands than in both dugout. Fun!
    Mark’s comments on U.S. CELLULAR FIELD, the upper level is so steep, it unsettling. A local called this place “the last ballpark build wrong” and he is right.
    I could say so much more but want to post something. Ask me a question and I will answer.

  21. harryfour - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:12 AM

    This might be the first time someone has said citi field is too big as a structure to get around, and i’m not sure why moving the fences should hurt the ballpark, you didnt’ seem to knock comerica down because they moved in the fences. The real complaints about citi field are that they build an Ebbets field replica outside for a club that has been around for 50 years that isnt the Dodgers, and that the first thing you come into when you go to the park is a Rotunda dedicated to Jackie Robinson, who again, was never a Met. It also took two years to put any Mets touches into the field, like a hall of fame, or naming different areas after Met players and history. The design of the inside of the park has always been well received.

    • adcwonk - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:37 PM

      True that — but the Mets are the ‘replacement” for the Giants and Dodgers. Deliberately so. See, e.g., the Mets’ colors: Dodger Blue and Giant Orange.

      Further, the Dodgers (Brooklyn) were the closest team to where the Mets are (Queens).

      • harryfour - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:44 PM

        They were the NL replacement team after the dodgers and giants left, but that was over 50 years ago, the colors and the symbol are enough to honor the past, the NEW ballpark should have honored the mets’ past, or they should have went with a new design. Its like if the Nats replicated the Senator’s field.

      • adcwonk - Jul 24, 2014 at 7:45 PM

        ok, you have a point — but, in design, they certainly couldn’t honor Shea! Mimicing old “Ebbets Field” honors the long history of NL baseball in NY.

  22. NatsLady - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:15 AM

    In the winter, I’m sustained by the image of Nationals Park in the opening montage of “House of Cards.”

    • stoatva - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:59 AM

      Heh. +1

  23. scnatsfan - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:15 AM

    Having grown up in NJ and going to countless Yankee games I can say without a doubt the ‘new’ Yankee stadium is a waste. And I went for a World Series game. You look at some of these clubs and thing my God what you could have done.

  24. wearenationals - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    Thanks, Mark for this list. It makes us want to cross off each MLB park from our bucket list. I’ve taken my wife and two boys to seven ball parks in recent years (and many more MiLB parks); it’s a great way for my kids to see different cities across America.

    After visiting several other parks, I, too, agree with Mark that Nats Park “is a very fan-friendly ballpark… but it simply has no defining characteristic, no distinct charm.” Don’t get me wrong, we love Nats Park to watch a baseball game (we go a dozen games every year), but the backdrop of PNC Park, the charm of Camden Yards and the retractable roofs of Rogers Centre and Safeco Field all receive a big thumbs up from me.
    1. PNC Park (Great views, food, and atmosphere)
    2. Camden Yards (Two words: Boog’s BBQ)
    3. Nats Park
    4. Rogers Centre (Recommend watching the game from the adjacent Renaissance hotel. Seeing the empty park after-hours while the grounds crew work, seeing the players workout indivually and as a team in the AM)
    5. Safeco Field (The city itself is simply beautiful, great brats and brew choices)
    6. Tropicana Field (the Ted Williams Museum is worth the price of admission)
    7. Turner Field (Even my kids got caught up with the chopping, smh)
    P.s. At least I’m raising my kids okay…my kids refuse to visit Philadelphia. so it may take a while to complete the bucket list 😉

    • wearenationals - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:21 AM

      IMHO, the Nationals MiLB affliates are far from perfect, including Spacecoast Stadium. They are antiquated, have uncomfortable seats, and below average food choices. It’s a good thing we love baseball and watching future Nats prospects.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:48 AM

        I really like the Harrisburg Stadium.

      • natsfan1a - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:43 AM

        I’ve only been to the Pfitz and Spacecoast but agreed on seating at those parks. Actually, I kinda like the food offerings at the Pfitz.

        Speaking of MiLB parks, I like the San Jose Giants’ Municipal Stadium, which was built as a WPA project back in the day.

      • pelumaad - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:50 PM

        I don’t mind minor league stadiums with hard benches and lousy hot dogs….but I could do without all the between innings contests and ratty mascots.

    • adcwonk - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:44 PM

      Worst Baseball place I’ve been to: Veterans Stadium.

      Here’s the story: my wife-to-be had never been to any professional baseball game. It was 1986, I was a die-hard Mets fan. The Mets had a huge lead, and their magic number was one. The Mets had a 3-game series in Philly, so we went up to see the Mets clinch.

      I was waxing on about the magic of a baseball stadium — especially (for me) is when you come out of the tunnel and see this luscious green, contrasted with the light brown infield, the dusk, and the stadium lights making it brighter. I went on and on about that visual.

      So, we get to the Vet, and come our of the tunnel, and we see . . . . (wait for it)

      A disgusting bombardment of neon blue-green everywhere — even the infield — and the glint of the lights making it even more artificial-looking. It occurred to me, at that moment, I had never been to a baseball game with artificial turf! It was truly disgusting! (I had to ask my wife for a do-over!)

      As for the game — Lenny Dykstra of the Mets hit a HR on the first pitch of the game, but the Mets went on to lose that game. Uggh . . . .

      • pelumaad - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:56 PM

        Between the Vet and Shea I went through a few years of not going to games at all. It seems the seats were angled for football and you had to sit kinda sideways to watch a baseball game. Marlins Park has that kinda feel now…..only the roll-away seating is missing.

      • adcwonk - Jul 24, 2014 at 7:48 PM

        I don’t recall angled seats at Shea (I went a lot in the 1960’s and 1970’s, hardly so much after that, so I don’t know if it changed after that).

      • Greg Miller - Jul 25, 2014 at 3:51 AM

        I was 11 and remember this series well. Praise The Lord that you didn’t clinch the NL east in Philadelphia during your incredible season. Really enjoyed sending you back to NY empty handed.
        I loved the Vet as it was my first in-person experience with MLB.

    • Greg Miller - Jul 25, 2014 at 3:45 AM

      You’re raising your kids to despise people they really know nothing about. You must be really proud.

  25. jerze2387 - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    Are you kidding me? your rankings are all based on the background view? Wrigley so high, and miller Park and US Cellural so low? Wow. So you like peeing in troughs and breathing in Asbestos just for a nice background view? Are you there to watch a game or take in the background? i think youd be better served at the Willis Tower observation deck. no baseball to obstruct your viewing pleasures

    • thepftpoetisacrossdresser - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:54 PM

      I agree with most of the picks and the views and the history…yada, yada.

      What chaps my ass about the dig on Miller Park and comparing it to say Target Field or even the next 2 closest parks in Chicago is the dig on the roof.

      Have you sat at an April game in any of those other 3 venues or in September? I have…and freeze your grapes off.

      This needed a few more subjects to be rated and figured into the mix, in my opinion. I’m a history buff and really dig the old stadiums and having toured and watched games in both Wrigley and Fenway…..I’m calling BS on a lot of this review. 2/3rds of Wrigley’s interior smells of piss. Spare me.

      • jerze2387 - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:36 PM

        Youre spot on about wrigley and the piss smell. And miller park is a VERY nice stadium, i just think that when somebody reviews the stadium they should focus on the stadium, and not the area around it and the view it gives. people go there for the ballgame, not for the backdrop. So when he basically ranked all of his parks on the view of everything BUT the park and whats going on inside it (taking the shot about the “projects” at US cellular), he lost me. Apparently he likes run down, dingy, piss smelling, dusty stuff.

  26. natsguy1 - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    Interesting list. I’ve been to a little over one-half, and 8 of the top 10 (not Safeco or Kaufmann).

    I’d move Camden Yards down quite a bit. I think of it like the first prototype of a new product. It has lots of good features and looks great on the outside, but the later versions have clear and substantial improvements (like, for example, open concourses, which is a huge miss at Camden Yards).

    To me, Petco is #1. Basically, we took everything that was great about Camden Yards (throwback styling, re-use of historic structures, integration into the surrounding neighborhood), fixed everything that was wrong with it (concourses and sightlines) and managed to give it a sense of place in Southern California. PNC and AT&T are a really close second for me.

    Went to Dodger Stadium prepared to hate it (I grew up a Giants fan before converting to the Nats since I’m here now), thought it was amazing for the reasons you gave. It perfectly captures the mid-century California style too. I also was surprised by how much I liked Comerica in Detroit.

    I’d move Minute Maid way down the list, too. I think there should be a Hippocratic Oath of stadium design: First, do no harm. This stadium fails that, and at a minimum should be below the slew of undifferentiated parks in the middle. And I agree that Nats Park belongs somewhere in that vast middle…

  27. Bhva - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    Good stuff Mark. I’ve been to 34 parks – 26 of them still active (not been to either LA park, Miami, or AZ). These lists are great. I have SF, PIT, BAL, and SEA high like you. I’m curious as a press member do you try to get to all parts of the park? You have SD, MIN, and DET way higher than me. I love San Diego but getting around that ballpark is a nightmare especially in the upper deck and the view from there is not good. DET has way too much “busy-ness” for my taste, concourses are crowded and there is a Merry go round in the place. MIN lacked that defining quality you talked about and I hate the RF wall, also no good place to stand and watch.

    Nats Park upper deck is a hidden gem with the views and the sight lines are great because the 4th estate is above you. Can stand anywhere and watch the game and there is a lot to be said for a simple ballpark with great views (and a great scoreboard). I think it is a top 10 place. I think your familiarity with the place may have biased you a bit against it.

    Thanks for the good work!

  28. govtminion - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    I’ll admit to not having been to as many of these as I’d like, but… being a native, I adore Coors Field. There’s no aspect of that park I don’t enjoy as a fan- good sight lines to the field, incredible views to the west of the mountains (those sunsets are just legendary)… the area it was built in, known to locals as LoDo, was just the worst part of town for a long time until construction of the ballpark- and it’s totally revitalized a major part of downtown Denver as a result. The careful effort to make it look like it fit in with all the local brick warehouses and such (even going so far as to sandblast bricks to make them look as old as their surroundings) really gives it a nice touch as well.

    …I won’t say a whole lot to defend the team that calls it home these days, and putting in a ‘party deck’ implies that there’s any reason to celebrate what the Rockies put on the field day after day, but for my money there’s not a better ballpark I’ve ever been in. It’s a must-see… just don’t plan on seeing many happy Rox fans, and whatever you do avoid the ‘oysters’ on the menu… they aren’t what they seem. 😉

  29. geoknows - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:06 AM

    Not sure where you get the idea that the Royals removed fountains when Kauffman was renovated. They actually added more fountains, in left field. No fountains were removed.

  30. Jonestein - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:06 AM

    “Too big”? “Southeasterly orientation”? What asinine reasons to bag on Rangers Ballpark. Yeah, July and August suck because of the heat, but that and the lack of mass transit to the ballpark are the only two things worth griping about. Otherwise, it’s a great ballpark and wonderful place to watch a game.

    • texnat1 - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:02 PM

      Yes, the Rangers’s park does not get a fair shake in this list at all. It’s nicer than Nats Park, that is for sure.

  31. philipd763 - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    I am inclined to agree with Mark on these ratings, especially the first three. I think Nats Park would be rated higher if it wasn’t for the two extremely ugly parking garages blocking the view. In addition, the walk down Half Street from the subway is depressing although that should change as the area gets developed. As I recall, the original plan was for underground parking but the Lerners didn’t want to forfeit parking revenues for the first year of operation so they insisted on the ugly, view blocking high rise parking buildings. That was extremely short sighted.

  32. realgone2 - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    Nats fans think the nats’ park is the best? Shocker.

  33. natsfan1a - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:31 AM

    Great idea for an off-day post, particularly an off-day after a loss and DL news! Well played, sir.

    I’ve only been to 8 of the active MLB parks, and I had a hard time ranking them after my top 3. I did consider fan experience factors such as transit possibilities and food choices. (The games where baseball buddies joined us also added to the fan experience, but I didn’t factor that into my selections. I will say that even with baseball buddies along, it feels a little off when one’s team is winning at an opposing park. The cheering is all out of sync – and there’s not that mass euphoria thing going on. But it’s still fun, don’t get me wrong.)

    1. AT&T Park. Yeah, I grew up in the Bay Area so I’m biased, but I love the setting and views, food choices, and the general ballpark experience. We took the train from Mt. View, where we were staying, but there are other transit options as well.
    2. PNC Park. Love the setting and views, food choices, and general ballpark experience, even the cheesy Pirate ship vignettes on the scoreboard. Loved the use of sandstone in the construction. We walked to the park from our hotel on the Strip (great food choices there as well).
    3. Wrigley Field. Yeah, so I was born in the Chicago region and have friends/family from there. The park is old and cramped but I like the “stepping back in time” element that Mark mentioned. The ivy, the cubbie logo everywhere, the 7th inning stretch, the brass band playing outside the gates, Wrigleyville. I like it all. We took a double-decker ballpark bus from the Loop, where we’d been sightseeing. Was fun riding the bus home from the park after the win (which happened to be vs. the Mets) and “interacting” with opposing fans.
    4. Coors Field. So, yeah, this is where I started to have difficulty with the rankings. I’m going to give the nod to Coors Field for the friendly fans and staff, the mountain view from our upper deck seats, and the little details like the columbine reliefs around the ballpark. Also enjoyed visiting the nearby National Ballpark Museum before the game. The guy manning the desk that particular day happened to be a relocated Nats fan, and we had fun reminiscing about the old days at RFK. Oh, and the Rockies 7th inning stretch song (“Hey, Baby”) was fun.
    5. Camden Yards. I didn’t follow this team after I moved to the DC area, so I have just one experience at the park (when my husband’s boss gave us tix – they were playing the Twins that day – circle this). Dinky park. I liked the warehouse and the “dinger” plaques. Was a pain driving there from our south Fairfax County location.
    6. Jacobs, er, Progressive Field. Liked the view and the Hall of Fame. Was really a fun fan experience that particular night as it was a throwback night with a big band playing in the area where the drummer dude sits, with old-timey scoreboard effects. The drive was, eh.
    7. Nats Park. Love my Nats and have enjoyed the view of the Capitol when sitting in the Veeckian upper deckian seats. I miss tailgating in the parking lot at RFK, which was a dump, but I fell in love with my Nats there, so there’s that. But I digress. It’s nice to be a short walk from the Metro station. There are diverse food options. Personally, I could do without the racing presidents, Nats Pack, and DJ effects (“Everybody clap your hands? Um, no. Well, okay, but only because I feel like it.”) But I do realize that ours is not the only park to do this. I think I’ve even heard such effects via the broadcast audio for games at CBP (Wait- now even the super duper Phillies Phans need cues to cheer? What is the baseball world coming to? Also, haha.). Remember when we had the throwback game in 2012 and they stopped doing all the DJ stuff at Nats Park? That was nice. Overall…hmmm…maybe I need to move this one up. We’ll see.
    8. Citi Field. It was just, meh, for me. Food choices were good. Transit was good, and we had a nice chat with a very knowledgeable Mets fan on the ride in. Hall of Fame was interesting, and I liked the bridge motif and the rotunda. The fans in our section were hilarious. (No, not in a clown way – but rather in a clever way.) Oh, and I liked that before calls to the bullpen the scoreboard showed a list of relievers, with the ones who had already been used crossed out. hmmm…maybe I need to move this one up, too. Eh, maybe next time.

  34. carlosdelvaca - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    This is a good opportunity to plug Hardball Passport, which helps you track your attendance at major and minor league games. If you’re into ballparks, you will enjoy this site.

    • NatsLady - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:04 PM

      Thanks, don’t mind the plug at all. Looks like a fun site, especially in the winter. I could log all my games/tickets, start planning trips… Wait, it’s only July. There IS NO WINTER!!!

  35. Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:43 AM

    I’d like to see FP’s list of the best parks for postgame bars. He seems quite knowledgeable.

  36. coryrox78 - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:53 AM

    News director at one of our local stations did the same thing. Check out his rankings. I personally have seen baseball games at Angels Stadium, Candlestick, Oco, Coors, Wrigley, and Tropicana. I have fond memories of all of them and I can’t wait to visit more

    • Section 222 - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:20 PM

      Thanks for sharing this. An interesting perspective, and mentioning some of the food specialities makes sense since that’s a big part of the fan experience, especially for visitors. I guess the “thing” at Nats Park are the Ben’s half smokes. Maybe I’ve had too many of them over the years, but it’s hard to imagine a visitor raving about them, or anything else about Nats Park. Truly a missed opportunity, and those parking garages…. Aaarrrggghhh!!

      • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:09 PM

        Indeed. Maybe the worst thing about the place (aside from the whole financing thing, which we have discussed to death already) is the fact that it’s entirely … adequate.

  37. mvaccaro84 - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:02 PM

    Clown rankings, bro.

  38. Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:35 PM

    I grew up and spent most of my baseball-watching adult life going to dumpy parks: Wrigley, Old Comiskey, the ‘Stick, the Coliseum, RFK, Busch II … geez, how did I miss Detroit and Cleveland, with a list like that? … most of which had miserable attendance as a partial consequence. It’s sort of like hanging out in dive bars; it’s an acquired taste, I guess. But if, as cathedrals, they were decrepit, and sometimes out of the way, still, the worship was sincere, and the beseeching profound.

    And RFK bounced! Take THAT, new-retro-yuppie-$9-beer places!

    • natsfan1a - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:45 PM

      The joint definitely had atmosphere, and characters, er, character.

      “And RFK bounced! Take THAT, new-retro-yuppie-$9-beer places!”

  39. micksback1 - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:51 PM

    overall Mark has it correct, i do think Dodger stadium is in top 3, not 8

    • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:13 PM

      As a lifelong Giants fan, there’s only 3 things Dodger that are Top Anything.

      Chanting “Dodgers Suck!” at Candlestick.
      Tommy LaSorda, and only because he’s retired now, so I cut Skip some slack. Gotta love Tommy.
      Jackie Robinson.

  40. allforfunnplay - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:00 PM

    I I love AT&T Park. It’s the park I’ve been to the most and the comments about the view of the bay are all correct. Plus the variety of food and drinks served there are great too. I’ve also been to (Oakland Colosseum), Petco and Coors Field. So not a lot of parks but a handful. I also saw games at Candlestick (when the Giants played there) and Qualcom/Jack Murphy stadium when the Padres played there.

    if you’re considering things like the location of the ball park relative to restaurants and nightlife; I think you should also consider weather. So I can understand knocking AT&T down a peg or two because of San Francisco’s weather. The old saying that was (mis)attributed to Mark Twain: “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco”. Or as some of us San Francisco sports fans say: “football weather during base ball season and baseball weather during football season”. So those awesome views and great baseball we get to watch at AT&T are also often spent bundled up and keeping warm. And AT&T Park is built in one of the sunniest and warmest areas of the city. It was a vast improvement in terms of weather over Candlestick which had the cold but also swirling winds and more fog. In fact for extra inning games at Candlestick when it got really cold and windy, they’d hand out “croix de candlestick” pins for the fans that stuck around for the whole game.

    Coors field is a great field. But weather is weird in Denver during the summer with sudden thunder storms that come over the mountains that can affect games. For me Petco is best on a lazy afternoon so you can relax, enjoy a game and then wander into the gaslamp afterwards for more food and drink. and of course San Diego has really good weather.

  41. Section 222 - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    Of the current stadiums, I’ve just been to PNC, CBP, Nats Park, OPACY, and the Trop. I’d rank them in that order. I honestly don’t find OPACY that welcoming. Maybe the years have taken their toll. The Trop is an abomination. Pleasantly surprised by CBP, and PNC is a jewel that you can only fully appreciate by going there. From what I’ve heard and read, I look forward most to seeing AT&T, Petco, and Coors Field.

    Enjoyed 1a’s take, and especially her shoutout to the retro day they had in 2012 at Nats Park. That was a very memorable night, right down to the black and white instant replays, the changing out of town scoreboard to the traditional green, and the Nats comeback victory against the Giants. Why not do that once (or five times) a year?

  42. teganx7 - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:40 PM

    I will take incredible umbrage with this article’s depiction of US Cellular Field.

    First, I’m not going to compare it to the retro stadiums like Camden Yards or PNC Park which are both great ballparks. However there are a couple of things:

    This article notes that U.S. Cellular has views of the housing projects … which was true until about 5 years ago when all of the high rises were torn down. I suspect this author hasn’t been to the park in a while, and is using outdated information. For that matter, I don’t go to a game to see what is on the other side of the outfield wall. I tend to focus on what is on the inside of the wall.

    No mention of groundskeeper Roger Bossard and his revolutionary field design … he was written up in Smithsonian Magazine for his work at U.S. Cellular. But I guess the things that help keep the game going isn’t as important. I guess research might have been too much effort for this writer.

    The upper deck is neither tall nor steep. It may be steeper compared to other parks, but this gets folks in the upper deck closer to the action. I’ve sat up there before, and the seats are fine.

    Second, I have been to 14 MLB ballparks, and not one of them can hold a candle to U.S. Cellular when it comes to food (Miller Park is a distant second), and this includes Fenway and Yankee Stadium. But food was conveniently ignored in this article.

    I’m not that upset about the rankings … U.S. Cellular was a victim of poor timing. The rest of the desciption is make-believe.

  43. Jose garrido - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:57 PM

    PNC park lower seat feel like you are in sinking sand only bad about that stadium

  44. cwon14 - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:07 PM

    All I distinctly recall about Wrigley, from the early 90’s, were the near vomit inducing men’s rooms. Without getting too graphic these were large collective “urinals” that brought images of prison movies to mind. Even more grotesque was that you would form a “circle” around these devices so you would be across from someone else peeing in front of you.


    • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:03 PM

      Laughing Out Loud.
      My wife refuses to believe me, that the urinals were actually long troughs, in the Day. You could always tell who was seeing such a thing for the first time.

  45. idratherbeinsouthbend - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:22 PM

    I’ve been fortunate enough to go to about a dozen different parks in my lifetime, and I’ll agree, Pittsburgh is the best. But I don’t believe that Pittsburgh’s stadium is much different from Cinncy. So, I’d rate Cinncy up there pretty high too.

    Miller park in Milwaukee is way to low on the list. EVERY seat in that ballpark is a great seat and feels like you’re close to the action.

    I prefer old Busch to new Busch….

    Wrigley….BLEH! Don’t get me wrong. I love the history of it all and the nuances of Wrigley, but it’s not a good place to watch a ballgame. The overhang, the seats, the concourses, the rest rooms, the concessions, ALL second rate. You’ve got to have box seats to enjoy Wrigley.

  46. chasjay - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    I’m not big at looking at “downtown” behind center field. Too often these parks are shoe-horned into limited real estate and flanked by ramps and freeways. I like the tailgating approach with the stadium as background for fun and foam and food.

  47. dilwad - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:51 PM

    I’ve been to them all. AT&T in San Francisco is HANDS DOWN the most beautiful stadium in the Majors. Nothing is remotely close.

  48. Eric shebestak - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:52 PM

    I haven’t been to nearly as many parks but you are spot on with PNC park & my Jacob’s Field(it’ll always be the Jake to me). Pittsburgh’s river area should be the model for all other sports cities. Wish Cleveland could get something more going with their waterfronts. Wish someone would do this same sort of ranking with the NASCAR tracks. Good read.

  49. extavernmouse - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    Great article! In 1993, a friend and I drove back east from Seattle and visited a bunch of ballparks. Camden Yards was new and very cool; we saw George Brett’s last at-bat in Baltimore. And I really loved Fenway. Wrigley I had mixed emotions; cool atmosphere and neighborhood but pretty crummy facilities inside. Most of the parks we saw are now gone: County Stadium in Milwaukee, old Yankee Stadium, Three Rivers (worst non-dome I’ve been in), old Tiger Stadium (low overhangs made it tough to see fly balls, plus we had a bad experience that didn’t directly relate to the ballpark) and Mile High (not a bad ballpark for being a football stadium).

    I dug the review of Safeco, as a veteran of the Kingdome. Your line about taking a jacket: I took my parents to the first game in Safeco. About the eighth inning my mother started to freeze; swore she’d never go to a night game there again!

  50. pelumaad - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    My first MLB game was at Connie Mack Stadium in Philly. I’ve lived in Philly, NYC, Atlanta and Miami…and retired to Augusta, GA five years ago. I try to make a few MLB games each summer by planning road trips around schedules. Last summer I got rained out on successive nights in Philly and Baltimore but I did get to Marlins Park. All things considered…..Lake Olmstead Stadium and the “A” Augusta Greenjackets are a great deal.,,,baseball like I remember it from my 50s childhood.

  51. pelumaad - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    My first MLB game was at Connie Mack Stadium in Philly. I’ve lived in Philly, NYC, Atlanta and Miami…and retired to Augusta, GA five years ago. I try to make a few MLB games each summer by planning road trips around schedules. Last summer I got rained out on successive nights in Philly and Baltimore but I did get to Marlins Park. All things considered…..Lake Olmstead Stadium and the “A” Augusta Greenjackets are a great deal.,,,baseball like I remember it from my 50s childhood.

  52. Jeremy - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:27 PM

    My dad and I have been to 21 of the parks, and plan on hitting all of them before he goes.
    Each one has something just so special and unique about it. If I were going with nicest, I’d go with the dbacks stadium. History filled, I’d give a tie to wrigley and Fenway. If I’m ranking view, then Pittsburg and Colorado take it. And as far as fun fans, I’d give it to dodgers and cardinals. I still have 9 to go to, though. :)

  53. secretwasianman - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    Pittsburgh easily number one. Cramden yards way overrated. Getting run down. Plays like a softball field and you can’t see the game when you go for a hot dog. I have Os friends who like Nats parks better. Also there is usually 10 to 15000 jackass fans most nights.

  54. Chris Moore - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:51 PM

    So here it is from someone else that’s been to the majority of the parks. Dodger Stadium is a toilet bowl. Only because their plumbing works I’d rank it #29. Dodger Dogs are flavorless pieces of nastiness. Petco as a visual park is probably the best but the fan experience and product on the field takes it down a few pegs. To me Wrigley and Fenway need to be at the top on history alone, plus they are still quite appealing visually with their own respective quirks (ivy, Green Monster, etc.). AT&T is nice, I’d put it just behind Petco for looks and PNC does look quite nice, although I’ve never been to that one. Angel Stadium doesn’t do much for me, but the atmosphere can be electric when it’s packed and the Angels are rockin. Chase Field is ranked about where it needs to be.

    I’ve also been to Old Yankee Stadium, Shea, County Stadium, and Qualcomm just for reminiscing’s sake.

  55. 2011dsdad - Jul 24, 2014 at 5:49 PM

    As a Rays fan, I am used to seeing the Trop ranked near the bottom. Yes its drab on the outside. But the inside is comfortable with great sight lines. Its easy to get to and easy to get out of after games, even when the place is packed (not very often). It has good concessions.

    The cost for a new open air stadium (very bad idea) has been floated at about $350million, a new dome (never seriously considered) about $400 million, a new retractable roof stadium (what everyone claims we need) $500 – $700 million. So, logically we should ask if its worth it to have a roof that opens so that the Rays can play 15 games in March/April in the open air until the roof is closed until October if the Rays are fortunate enough to be deep into the post-season.

    Fans in Tampa won’t spend an extra 20 minutes to cross a bridge to see the Rays now, yet the owner is hellbent on getting a new stadium built there to reward them for staying away in droves.

  56. grdudl - Jul 24, 2014 at 6:09 PM

    Wrigley Field is a joke,don’t get stuck behind a big post…It’s a dump ranked LAST….

  57. baseball fan - Jul 24, 2014 at 6:28 PM

    This guy’s perspective sucks.

  58. Walter Ryan deering - Jul 24, 2014 at 7:10 PM

    I’m not a cardinals fan or anything actually I’m a ray’s fan and I just got back from saint louis and I thought bush stadium was one of the nicest ball parks ice ever been first saw the rays play the cards on a Tuesday night and there was a full crowd I mean in half these stadiums that are ahead of Busch stadium have never even had a full crowd on a Friday night. Also who ever the author is of this article needs to ale a closer look over in left field there’s something called ballpark village which is a bunch of restaurants and stores that are all bout the cardinals and then you have the retro look of Busch stadium and then you have all of the hall of famers statues with Stan Musial statue looking over the entrance in third base I mean hell you can’t get a better stadium. Who ever this author is I beleive your misinformed and should probably get rid of you or get you a new job inside the company really this author of this article needs to go.

  59. aug99 - Jul 24, 2014 at 7:24 PM

    Interesting article. And only very few can really comment, unless you have been to all of them.
    The pics are at a little bit if a different angle, but almost the same views.
    The Pittsburgh and Minneapolis stadiums, if you are sitting down the third base line, have great views of the city.
    I love the twins games from the second deck in Minneapolis.
    Great fun.

  60. trailbuddy - Jul 24, 2014 at 7:39 PM

    Globe Life Park is a fine ballpark. It’s too hot, really? That’s always going to be the case, unless they build an indoor ballpark, and I don’t think indoor is a great sports environment.

  61. Greg Miller - Jul 25, 2014 at 3:30 AM

    How proud of himself the author must have been when he decided he would take a shot at Phillies fans. As someone who has truly been to all of these ballparks- you would be well qualified to let your readers know that each of these ballparks has about the same ratio of knuckleheads as what you would find at a Phillies game.

  62. misterred2014 - Jul 25, 2014 at 3:53 AM

    I’ve been to all of the current parks except the two new New York parks, Toronto and DC. I’ve also been to both the old NYC parks in 2005 and the Kingdome. I’ve done my own rankings based upon:

    1 – Stadium Design (general sightlines)
    2 – Uniqueness (big/strange attractions, Fenway gets the highest ranking for the Green Monster)
    3 – Neighborhood (Busch gets highest ranking for this, literally a 30 square block party around their games)
    4 – Concessions (Good food and beer. I bump up places like Baltimore and Detroit that stretch the last call to 8.5 innings)
    5 – Culture (How savvy are the crowds? Any experience with a crowd doing The Wave gets bumped down)
    6 – Overall Value (Most important!!! You can literally get behind home plate at KC for the same price as the higher bleachers in NYC or Boston).

    1. Kaufmann Stadium
    2. Oriole Park
    3. Busch Stadium
    4. Wrigley Field
    5. Fenway Park
    6. Safeco Field
    7. Petco Park
    8. Comerica Park
    9. Oakland-Alameda County Colesium
    10. Target Field
    11. Great American Ballpark
    12. Citizens Bank Park
    13. Chase Field
    14. Progressive Field
    15. Yankee Stadium (1923-2008)
    16. AT&T Park
    17. Coors Field
    18. Rangers Ballpark
    19. Miller Park
    20. Marlins Park
    21. Turner Field
    22. Tropicana Field
    23. PNC Park
    24. Angel Stadium
    25. Minute Maid Park
    26. Kingdome
    27. Dodger Stadium
    28. Shea Stadium
    29. US Cellular Field

    Kaufmann if my favorite. Still a GREAT value in a completely beautiful park with nice, salt-of-the-earth baseball fans. Incredible BBQ places within shouting distance of the park. My most controversial is probably my high ranking of the Oakland park, but it is another GREAT value, with a passionate fanbase close within walking distance to one of the best subway transit systems in the country. They will lose a ton of character/value if they build another stadium somewhere in the Silicon Valley. This guy ranked PNC Park as #1, but I found it pretty cookie cutter outside of the killer view of the river/downtown area. Their fanbase was clueless/nonexistent when I saw them (2005) and the area around the stadium is as dead as a doornail. I had to walk around for an hour to find a cab after the game. WTF?

  63. letsplaytwobaby - Jul 25, 2014 at 5:49 AM

    As someone who has seen games at 41 MLB stadiums, ballparks are a passion of mine. I agree with a decent amount of the list but some are mind-boggling to me. The Twins had a perfect chance to do an awesome ballpark with a great downtown skyline and instead they greedily built up high bleachers obscuring virtually all of the city skyline. That’s completely nuts. And no way in the world do Kauffman and Dodgers Stadium rank in the top ten or even close to it and Dodger dogs absolutely suck! They’re just skinny pink monstrosities. Try a polish outside Fenway or an Evergood Sausage inside AT&T. They blow Dodger Dogs away.

    Here’s my top ten:

    1- AT&T
    2- PNC
    3- Wrigley
    4- Camden
    5- Fenway
    6- Comerica
    7- Nationals Park
    8- Progressive -Cleveland
    9- Citizen’s Bank -Philly
    10- Busch Stadium
    11- Ballpark at Arlington
    12- Petco -SD
    13- Coors Field
    14- CitiField -NY
    15- Turner Field -Atlanta
    16- Minute Maid -Houston
    17- Safeco -Seattle
    18- Angels Stadium
    19- Miller Field -Milwaukee
    20- Great American Ballpark -Cincy
    21- Target Field -Minnesota
    22- Yankee Stadium
    23- Dodger Stadium
    24- Kauffman Field -KC
    25- Chase -Arizona
    26- U.S. Cellular -Chicago
    27- Marlin’s Stadium
    28- Rogers Centre -Toronto
    29- Oakland Coliseum
    30- Tropicana Field -Tampa

  64. olderose - Jul 25, 2014 at 7:45 AM

    You obviously have not been to Dodger Stadium this year. She has been refit on a grand scale, while her exterior cosmetics have been preserved. Time to bring your research current.

  65. ballparkprints - Jul 25, 2014 at 8:29 AM

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    I do not agree with some of his rankings, but than this is his opinon…

  66. ralphwilsonisrich - Jul 25, 2014 at 10:38 AM

    What about the smog that you see from Angels stadium

  67. Andy r. - Jul 25, 2014 at 3:21 PM

    This is a great read. I am very envious of the ability to visit all the parks. That has been a dream of mine for many years. Growing up in the northwest I was forced to watch ball games in the atrocious Kingdome. I always longed for an outdoor stadium and Safeco Field is truly a beautiful place that gets overlooked. I realize I cannot be unbiased with my opinions(like many of the commenters) because I have only been to a little over half of the current stadiums, but I’m beginning to miss the old simplicities of the stadiums of our past. Just give me some outdoor baseball with some Summer sun and I’ll watch it anywhere!

  68. bennybengoughsmitt - Jul 25, 2014 at 8:29 PM

    I don’t know how the author is, but if he never saw a game at *old* old Yankee Stadium, i.e. before the mid-’70s renovations that gutted the place, he never saw the real thing… The upside of being a middle-aged geezer now is that I had the opportunity to see the greatest park in the history of the majors before it was stripped of most of its character.

  69. Patrick - Jul 25, 2014 at 10:06 PM

    “Good views of the field” throughout Nats Park? Whenever the $5 seats in left field (great deal) are gone, it seems I always end up spending $25 to $45 in lousy seats in right field where a large sector of the field is not visible.

  70. Sean - Jul 25, 2014 at 11:55 PM

    Not a bad take. I have had the pleasure of visiting a few, old/replaced and new stadiums. Here’s my take:

    1. Coors Field. The concourse is walkable, the sunsets over the Rockies, proximity to downtown restaurants and bars. Great brick & steel look. Just a good baseball vibe.

    2. Safeco Field. Great execution of brick & steel, the food booths and beer gardens on the street game day, the trains blasting their horns as they pass by, and the fully walkable concourse that you can see the game from.

    3. Petco. You can watch the game from a hotel tower. The grass mound behind the outfield. The brick Metal Co. factory behind left field (that has a bar inside). Proximity to the waterfront, Gaslamp.

    4. Fenway Park. It’s like a classic car. Sure, a brand new Mustang GT has 400hp and can actually corner and stop. But you can’t deny the grin on your face cruising in a 1964. That’s what Fenway feels like. And the baseball street fair outside is cool. And who in modern times would approve a 30′ wall behind left field?

    5. AT&T. It’s pretty, it has a nice concourse, the views are great. But here’s where I’ll rank on the fans: nobody is watching the game.

    6. Coliseum. One nice thing: it is intimate with the upper deck covered up. And you can walk up game day and sit wherever you want. One time I sat with a friend in the West Side Club at a table for two at the glass, overlooking the game. We watched 6 innings over burgers & beer before we went to our seats.

    7. Kingdome. Pretty bad for baseball, except in 1995 when the Mariners made their first run to the playoffs – 56,000 fans making dome-amplified noise & doing the wave. But pretty terrible.

    8. Old Yankee Stadium. Lots of history, if you like the Yankees. Otherwise this place made the Coliseum look good. A giant cement catacomb. No view of anything. Terrible location.

  71. Steve - Jul 26, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    The citizens bank park comment “and their fan base, which is not)” was uncalled for. Your either a fan of a rival team or your one of those ignorant people who have to dig back 20years at the vet to bash a fan base who I would bet hands down is the most passionate and loyal fan base around. Someone gets killed at a game in San Fran and it’s brushed over, we throw a snowball 20yrs ago and were the worst fans ever. It’s a joke.





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