One of the most frequently asked questions I get from people who know I’m a ballpark “collector” is “what’s your favorite ballpark ?” While I usually have an answer, it got me to thinking about doing a ranking of all the current MLB parks. Now that I have seen a game at Marlins Ballpark, I am once again current with all the MLB parks. I’ve actually seen games in 15 now defunct MLB parks as well, but for the purpose of these rankings, I will only look at the 30 currently in use.
Obviously my rankings are highly subjective and I expect many people to disagree with them. That’s part of the fun of reviewing ballparks – not everyone has the same opinion. For these rankings, I will just provide some brief reasons for why I like or dislike a ballpark – you can read my full reviews for more details. For each part, I’ll review 5 parks. Part 1 will start at the bottom with ballparks #30 – 26. So here goes …
#30 Tropicana Field (St. Petersburg, FL; 1 game attended) – The Trop gets my bottom spot mostly for one reason – because it is a permanent dome. To be honest, I probably need to make another visit here as I haven’t been since 1999. At that time, everything was overpriced, the atmosphere was not at all conducive to baseball, and the concourses felt more like a mall than a baseball park. Perhaps things have changed some since then with a new owner and a better team. I do think the Rays did a good job turning Tropicana Field into a baseball park, but there is only so much lipstick you can put on a pig. Even more so than the A’s, the Rays need a new ballpark. Unfortunately, as of the present time, nothing seems imminent.
#29 Rogers Centre (Toronto, Ontario, Canada; 1 game attended) – I was greatly disappointed by my only visit here back in 1995. After all the attention it received when it first opened, I was expecting something much better. The place just feels too big – there is nothing intimate about it. Besides that, the seating is too tight and the sightlines are awful. Also, like the concourses at Tropicana Field, it feels more like you are at a mall. The artificial turf also doesn’t help. With a retractable roof, they should have found a way to put in real grass by now. Another park that I need to get back to, though it is doubtful that it could jump much higher than this in my rankings.
#28 Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (Oakland, CA; 3 games attended) – I’m sure some people will be surprised that I don’t have Oakland dead last in my rankings. Maybe I’m biased because the first game I saw here was so memorable – it was the last day of the 2000 season when the A’s clinched the AL West in front of a packed house. While I never saw a game here before “Mt. Davis” was erected and ruined the outfield view, from everything I hear, it was a much better park then. Still, I don’t think the Coliseum is a horrible park – yes, it is a bit sterile and the seats do feel a ways from the field, but the fans are passionate and the selection of concessions is quite impressive. The Athletics have been trying for years to get a new ballpark built, but so far have been unsuccessful.
#27 Miller Park (Milwaukee, WI; 2 games attended) – My love of the Brewers old park, County Stadium, probably clouds my view of Miller Park somewhat. Despite holding 10,000 less than its predecessor, Miller Park feels much less intimate, which is one of the main reasons I’m not a fan of it. Also, it seems crazy to me that a city like Milwaukee needs a retractable dome. I wouldn’t mind so much if the park actually felt like an outdoor park when the roof was open, but it doesn’t. I do the Brewer fans credit for being a passionate bunch and being the best tailgaters in the country, but this isn’t enough to keep Miller Park out of last place amongst the “newer” parks.
#26 Turner Field (Atlanta, GA; 2 games attended) – When it originally opened, Turner Field was touted as being the best ballpark ever built. Fifteen years later and nobody is making those claims. The problem is that it is just boring and unmemorable. It just feels like a slight improvement over the cookie cutters of the 1970′s as at least its open in the outfield. The dimensions are symmetrical, the concourses are a bit dingy, and its location on the outskirts of the city is uninspiring. Besides that, the fans are frontrunners and can’t even fill up the park for playoff games.
Stay tuned for part 2 where I’ll rank parks # 25-21 …