Next up in my series ranking the Major League ballparks, I look at numbers 20-16. Certainly this is where the rankings become more difficult as there are so many parks which are similar.
#20 Chase Field (Phoenix, AZ; 2 games attended) – Despite appearing more like a hangar than a ballpark from the exterior, Chase Field is actually a pleasant place to see a game, especially if you are lucky enough to hit one with the roof off. Both games I saw were with the roof off and it actually feels like an outdoor ballpark, unlike Miller Park. Other than the swimming pool in the outfield, there is little unique about Chase Field. But sightlines are good, the concessions are great, and the prices are actually pretty reasonable for an MLB game. I didn’t care for the minor league atmosphere, but overall I enjoyed my visits to the “ballpark in the desert”.
#19 Yankee Stadium (Bronx, NY; 12 games attended) – For how much was spent on this ballpark (over $1.5 billion), my expectations were very high for the new Yankee Stadium. But it seems that most of the money was spent on aspects of the ballpark which the average will never be able to see or enjoy. The park still feels a bit sterile (though they have improved that some since 2009), but overall it is an improvement over the old Yankee Stadium. It definitely feels like the home of the Yankees as they brought over Monument Park and included a Yankees museum. I just wish they had added more unique touches as it feels a bit boring to me.
#18 Great American Ballpark (Cincinnati, OH; 1 game attended) - Having visited GAB in its inaugural season (2003), they were still in the process of cleaning up the remains of Riverfront Stadium and the Reds Hall of Fame was not yet built. So I probably need to make another visit to give it a fair assessment. The setting at GAB is probably the best aspect – sitting in the upper deck, you will get a great view of the river and the boats which frequently go by. I also love that they installed red seats instead of the normal green or blue seats. It is possible that GAB may jump up slightly higher in my rankings after I make a return visit.
#17 Citi Field (Flushing, NY; 4 games attended) – One of my big complaints about Citi Field after visiting for the first time in 2009 was that it didn’t feel enough like the home of the Mets. Fortunately, they have mostly fixed that problem by adding more Mets history and painting the outfield wall blue. Though I wish the entrance rotunda had more of a Mets feel rather than just celebrating Jackie Robinson. Also, I could do without the large kid’s area in centerfield. But overall this is a fine ballpark as it has all the amenities that fans have come to expect of the new venues.
#16 Busch Stadium (St. Louis, MO; 2 games attended) – For me, Busch Stadium is a mixed bag. On the positive side, the atmosphere is great and the setting is wonderful as the city skyline and arch provide the backdrop. But on the negative side, the architects really screwed up by not having the concourses open to the field like almost every other new park does. Also, the Cardinals have done a lousy job of showcasing the team’s history inside the park. Even the statues of Cardinal greats on the exterior are a bit bizarre as they aren’t life size. The Cardinal fans are really what help bump the park up this high – outside of Boston and New York, there are no fans more passionate. Fortunately, here they are much more respectful.
Next up we’ll dive into the top half of my ballpark rankings. I’m sure there are folks who are surprised at some of the ballparks which have not popped up yet. Thanks again for reading !