Next up, I’ll take at look at ballparks 15-11 in my rankings. I’m sure there will be some who will disagree strongly with some of these picks. My apologies for the delay in posting this next part.
#15 – Marlins Park (Miami, FL; 2 games attended) – The newest MLB ballpark seemed to get a bad rap before it even opened. People mostly seemed to be up in arms about the home run sculpture in the outfield before they ever it seen it in person. Trying to keep an open mind when I visited over Memorial Day weekend, I came away quite impressed with Marlins Ballpark. It is surprisingly intimate and has a distinctly Miami flair to it. Some people might be offended by the bright colors (such as the lime green walls) as they aren’t typically seen at a ballpark, but it is these type of unique touches that bump it up in my rankings. And the home run sculpture looks worse on TV than it does in person.
#14 – Petco Park (San Diego, CA; 2 games attended) – Nestled in the downtown, Petco Park is a great example of how location can make a big difference for a ballpark. If this was set somewhere else, I may not care for it as much. The incorporation of the Western Metal Supply Co building in left field is one of the unique aspects that I really enjoy. In addition, the “Park in the Park” in the outfield is a great place to wander around before the game. Petco does have a couple problems – some of the seats have poor sightlines and the overall seating structure feels a bit choppy, but otherwise there is little to not like. Just a fine ballpark in a really cool city.
#13 – Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles, CA; 2 games attended) – If I done my rankings after only seeing one game here, there is no way that Dodger Stadium would have ranked this high. But upon a second visit, I came away a whole lot more impressed. The problem here is that you can’t see the whole park in just one visit (because they restrict you to the level on which your ticket is), so you really need to come here multiple times in order to see the whole park. The upper levels I was not so impressed with (though they do offer good mountain views), but the main level is immaculate. Maybe it was just the great seats I had behind the Dodger on-deck circle or the fabulous sunset I witnessed, but something just made my second visit here feel almost perfect.
#12 – US Cellular Field (Chicago, IL; 3 games attended) – I’m sure this will be my most surprising ranking for many people since I know many who despise The Cell and think it is one of the worst parks. Not me – I love the overall atmosphere and the recent renovations have brought up to par with many of the newer parks. Yes, the surrounding neighborhood stinks and the exterior is bland and boring, but once you get past those aspects, the ballpark itself is quite charming. The concourses are festive and filled with the smells of various foods being cooked (most notably sausages). Even the upper deck (which some complain is too high) is pretty cool – there are murals along the concourse and a nice roof which covers many of the seats. My only complaint here is that they won’t allow fans with upper deck tickets to access the main level.
#11 – Target Field (Minneapolis, MN; 1 game attended) – When the Twins decided to build a new ballpark, they did it right. Building it with a view of downtown and without a roof was definitely the way to go. From the distinctly beautiful exterior to the intimate interior, everything about Target Field is well designed. The concourses are open to the field, the concession choices are well varied, and the atmosphere is one of the best in baseball. This is the type of ballpark that the Brewers should have built instead of that hideous retractable dome.
Stay tuned for Part 5 of my series when I’ll break into the top 10 ! Thanks as always for reading.