Ranking the MLB Stadiums…So Far

So you all know I’m a baseball nut. If you don’t, you’re not actually someone I’ve ever talked to. And the fact that you’re still reading this blog is slightly awkward, kind of cool and extremely flattering.

My love of the sport has taken me far and wide throughout this great country to watch baseball games in person. Because there is nothing better than watching a game LIVE in the atmosphere you can barely hear on TV.

So far, I’ve been to ten MLB stadiums. My quest to visit all 30 (as well as all 30 in one regular season…stay tuned for that!) is one-third over. But how do you choose the best one?

Here is my attempt at ranking the ten stadiums I’ve visited so far, based on overall experience, fan knowledge, ball park food options, surrounding attractions, and ball park beauty.

10. o.Co Coliseum – Oakland A’s

This was an easy one to rank last. I’ve been to the most games at this stadium, but only because the tickets are cheap and the A’s are my hometown team. The actual coliseum in itself is decrepit and there are rarely a good amount of fans at games. A’s fans are extremely passionate, but they don’t like to see a shitty team play at a shitty ball park. Understandable. Plus Oakland as a city sucks, and the beer at the stadium is far too expensive.

9. Tropicana Field – Tampa Bay Rays

I’m not going to lie – I expected a lot worse. I’d heard horror stories about the aging dome, and how it was the worst venue in professional sports. Sure, it’s not glamorous by any means, but there’s a certain charm to it. I’m all for the Rays tearing it down and getting a new stadium, but I’m glad I got to experience Tropicana as it is meant to be experienced.

8. AT&T Park – San Francisco Giants

The ball park itself is gorgeous and classy and the location is unbeatable (right up against the Bay for anybody who has been under a rock for the last 11 or 12 years). But, I get the impression that a lot of fans come to the stadium and pay outrageous prices more for the experience than the actual game. Plus, I don’t like getting crapped on by seagulls from the 7th inning on. That alone renders the expensive tickets meaningless.

7. Yankee Stadium – New York Yankees

I actually went to the original Yankee Stadium. I haven’t been to the new one, but I heard it’s similar with more, newer amenities. I absolutely LOVED the old stadium. It’s more than a shame that it’s been torn down. For any baseball junkie, going to Yankee Stadium is like the Mecca of fandom. It was a beautiful venue with intelligent fans and just so much rich history that it soaked right through my clothes into my soul. Wow that was cheesy. By the way, I sat in the right field bleachers, so for all I know, Babe Ruth had hit a home run into my lap 80 years prior.

6. Petco Park – San Diego Padres

This is another newly remodeled stadium in California that just blows me away. The difference between Petco and AT&T is that the Padres have built a stadium with less bells and whistles that still maintains a fun, friendly atmosphere. I love the touch of the building down the left field line and the grass seating behind right center. And the surrounding, downtown area there is hopping off the chain every night.

5. Safeco Field – Seattle Mariners

I may be spoiled with this one, because my roommate and I scored free, Diamond Level tickets (three rows behind home, access to the VIP club under the stands with free food and drink all game) in the game I went to. But the stadium itself is pristine. The architecture is amazing, and the closed roof makes it feel like a much tighter atmosphere. I’ll tell you one thing – if Seattle fans are starved for a championship, they sure don’t show it. They rock and roll no matter how awful their teams are.

4. Wrigley Field – Chicago Cubs

This is my most recent notch on the belt. I went to Chicago a couple of weeks ago and got to see my Dodgers beat the Cubs at the friendly confines of Wrigley. Let me tell you…it looks beautiful on TV. It’s twice as good in person. The bleachers on top of apartment buildings, the wide open, expansive seating throughout the stadium, the classic scoreboard and press box, the simple concessions, and of course the luscious ivy. Cubs fans are professional losers, but they do it with an old-style grace all their own.

3. Busch Stadium – St. Louis Cardinals

All I can say is WOW. One of the most properly designed baseball stadiums you’ll ever see. The field itself is perfect, and the grounds crew mowing a little arch into the outfield grass before every home game is a snazzy touch. I love the wall of fame with retired numbers beyond the center field wall, and you can’t beat the skyline in the gap between center and left field. The third version of Busch Stadium is very near perfection, though it could use a little surrounding nightlife for after the games.

2. Dodger Stadium – Los Angeles Dodgers

Surprised this wasn’t number one? Well, I am technically a journalist. So I try to be objective once in a while. I absolutely am in love with Dodger Stadium. It’s similar to Wrigley where the seats are a wide open expanse of sunny, comfortable chairs. But, they are newer than Wrigley and the renovations have been done perfectly so as to not mess with the historic charm of Chavez Ravine. The bleachers are an ancient, yet classic touch, and you get a beautiful view of downtown L.A., as the park is perched atop a hill overlooking every part of the city of angels. And…duh. Dodger Dogs!

1. Fenway Park – Boston Red Sox

Yes, it’s breaking down a little bit. Yes, it’s old. Yes, the batter’s eye in center field is poorly done. But this stadium combines the charm of Dodgers Stadium and Wrigley Field, with the aura of Yankee Stadium, with the night life of San Diego, with the beauty of AT&T or Busch. It really is a mish-mash of all the greatest aspects of each previous stadium on this list. I sat by Pesky’s Pole when I went and watched the Yankees beat them on a late home run from A-Rod. The Green Monster is a sight to behold, and the fan knowledge in Boston is top of the class.

There you have it. What’s your favorite stadium experience?? Comment below and let me know! Or you can always tweet me at @Jamblinman if you’d like. Thanks for reading. Until next time, watch out for seagulls.

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