Baseball is a sport that changes based on where the game is being played. Climate of the ballpark, dimensions of the outfield, wind patterns, etc., all affect how the game is played. And, unlike football, or basketball where the field is the same, the game strategy changes whether the park is considered to be hitter or pitcher friendly. This makes every ballpark different, challenging, and special.
In honor of the uniqueness of the 30 homes of Major League Baseball, we present reviews and rankings for each and every one of them.
30. Tropicana Field – Tampa Bay Rays
Tropicana Field is the worst venue in all of American professional sports. Start with the fact that baseball is a sport designed to be played outside. Even Minnesota, where it snows for the first three months of the season, got wise and built an open-air stadium.
Take away what makes Florida beautiful, the sunshine, and you’ve got a dark, empty barn. Open the roof and let some light in. At least they finally upgraded the awful turf that left infielders guessing which way ground balls were going to carry.
29. Ring Central Coliseum – Oakland A’s
There are some things that make the Coliseum a fan-friendly venue, but the seating is certainly not one of them. Thanks to the vast amount of foul territory, every seat seems like it’s miles from the action.
With the Raiders getting ready to leave town for Las Vegas, and the A’s potentially looking for a new home, it’s possible the Coliseum will stand empty. Well, even more than it already is for Athletics games.
28. Rogers Centre – Toronto Blue Jays
Rogers Centre was state of the art when it first opened in 1989. The climate on the lake in Toronto necessitated the retractable roof. Unlike the dome in Tampa, the roof allows the elements to creep in to the building when the weather is pleasant.
Other than the roof, Rogers Centre is very outdated and in desperate need of an upgrade. It’s obvious, with all the concrete and low-grade field turf that the building is 30 years old. Even game changers sometimes need to be retired, and the Blue Jays would be wise to start thinking about a new home.
27. Marlins Park – Miami Marlins
In a town with an average of 248 sunny days a year and 128 rainy days, the Marlins went in the right direction with the retractable roof. That may be all they got right though, as the inside of the ballpark doesn’t really seem to fit.
The walls in the outfield are so high and there’s so little seating in the outfield it makes the stadium feel unbalanced, or that it isn’t finished. It’s unsettling to watch a fly ball travel into the outfield and all you see is empty space above the wall.
26. Guaranteed Rate Field – Chicago White Sox
Warning: if you are prone to vertigo do not attend a game at Guaranteed Rate Field. The designers of this park must have been tasked with building the most vertical stadium in history. Start in the outfield. There’s giant scaffolding with video boards mounted to them, and a main scoreboard that inexplicably has hard candies above it.
On the backside of the stadium, the upper deck seats are so steep they had to replace them with slightly less steep stairs. Still, you’ll want to watch how many beers you drink in the upper deck.
25. T-Mobile Park – Seattle Mariners
Believe it or not, this is one of the older ballparks on our list. Opened in 1999 to replace the Kingdome, it was built with a retractable roof to combat the rainy climate Seattle is known for. One of the best things about this stadium is the view of Seattle’s downtown.
This stadium was built in a really exciting neighborhood, so if the play of the Mariners doesn’t excite you, you can always go down the street to one of the many restaurants and bars for entertainment.
24. Globe Life Park – Texas Rangers
In a word, hot. It’s possible whoever designed this stadium forgot where it was going to be built. Nearly every seat gets full sun, and that’s a whole lot of sun in Texas.
Despite this, the stadium is actually very attractive and offers a few elements that make it unique to the Arlington area. The Rangers will be moving into a new stadium in 2020, and hopefully the designers have accounted for the sun this time.
23. Angel Stadium – Los Angeles Angels
Despite the artificial rock feature in the outfield, this is a stadium devoid of any real charm or character. Renovations have taken away some of the views available from the stands and instead replaced them with views of giant red A’s.
Add the lack of charm to a stadium seating situation that isn’t wholly conducive to watching a game of baseball and you have an exact representation of what the Angels are in LA; a second rate team, in a second rate stadium.
22. Chase Field – Arizona Diamondbacks
This stadiums reeks of Arizona, and we’re not sure it’s in a good way. Start with the hot tub pools just beyond the outfield wall. Who takes their bathing suit to a baseball game? People in Arizona, that’s who.
Ok, now that our baseball purist rant is over, we can admit that it’s not that bad of a ballpark. It’s large and cozy at the same time, with a well-balanced outfield of scoreboard and seating. If you can avoid the chlorine smell from the pools, you’ll have a nice time.
21. Great American Ballpark – Cincinnati Reds
It wouldn’t be a Red’s ballpark without gentle nods to their illustrious history. The ballpark features murals and statues of legendary players outside the stadium and a history museum inside the gates.
The location of the ballpark is another selling point. Built right on the Ohio River, the ballpark is situated along the city’s river walk, which travels through miles of tree lined parks along the river. GABP is also right downtown, making it easy to get to and provides many options for entertainment before and after the game.
20. Minute Maid Park – Houston Astros
Minute Made Park was the talk of baseball when it opened. Tal’s Hill in center, a retractable roof, and an actual train that runs when home runs are hit all made for an exciting venue. Nowadays they’ve removed that ridiculous, and quite frankly dangerous, hill but it’s still a pretty cool park.
When the stadium opens up you really feel like you’re right in the heart of downtown, with building tight to the outside of the stadium. It’s a very cozy experience.
19. Miller Park – Milwaukee Brewers
For some reason Miller Park was built with a roof. It was just the thing to do in 2001, so they did it. Unfortunately, it almost always feels like the Brewers are playing indoors, even when the roof is open. This is because of the infrastructure built up around the stadium in order to support the retractable roof.
On the plus side, the do have that really cool slide in the outfield and a big wall of windows on either side of home plate. Also, cheese curds. Got to love cheese curds.
18. Citizens Bank Park – Philadelphia Phillies
Thankfully this Philadelphia stadium does not have it’s own jail under the stadium. We’re look at you Lincoln Financial Field. The stadium could be improved if the seats along the foul lines were closer to the stadium, but they have made some noticeable improvements recently.
First and foremost they brought the 19-foot high Liberty Bell over from the old Veterans Stadium. That makes for a perfect selfie location. Also, the Phillies recently added an open-air beer garden and a family friendly pub. Sounds like a good place to grab a cheesesteak to us.
17. Nationals Park – Washington Nationals
Nationals Park was ahead of its time when it built it’s social gathering space. Now every ballpark in the league is trying to find room to add of their own space for millennials to gather.
The ballpark is also responsible or the development of the area around Nat’s Park. The neighborhood is now one of the fastest growing in D.C. This is probably why it seems like there’s almost always construction happening in the city behind the outfield walls.
16. Comerica Park – Detroit Tigers
We’ve got mixed opinions about this stadium, which is probably why it features in the middle of our list. In the pros column, there is plenty of Tiger’s history present with monuments to some of the great names to wear the Tiger’s uniform. Also in the pros column is the 70-foot long bar in the Beer Hall.
However, the outfield is so big and the outfield seating has such a shallow angle to it. This makes the outfield portion of the outfield look so big and spacious. In a city known for big vacant neighborhoods, this is not a good look or feel.
15. Kauffman Stadium – Kansas City Royals
Typically a ballpark situated right next to a freeway would garner poor reviews, however Kaufmann Stadium is not your typical ballpark. Yes, it’s really old but they upgrades they made in the last decade made it timeless.
Kauffman Stadium features the best scoreboard in baseball, and numerous nods to Kansas City. These nods include a spotlight on Negro League baseball in KC, and an outfield fountain. Kansas City is the “City of Fountains” after all.
14. Petco Park – San Diego Padres
It’s hard to have a bad day watching baseball in beautiful San Diego, and that’s only partly because of the weather. Petco Park is a beautiful ballpark featuring multiple decks in right and left field, but opens up in center field to provide stunning views of the San Diego skyline.
The left field stands incorporate and only metal supply company building, which is just plain cool on it’s own. It’s gets even cooler when you discover that the corner of the brick building doubles as the left field foul pole! Now, if only the Padres could put a winning product on the field.
13. PNC Park – Pittsburgh Pirates
Whether or not you got to watch the Pirates play, you should go to PNC Park. Right field and center field are intentionally built low to provide stunning views of the Pittsburgh skyline and the yellow bridge that crosses one of the three rivers in Pittsburgh.
In left field they have built a perfectly understated scoreboard that fits the park, and doesn’t try to take away from the beauty brought into the stadium. Once again, it would be great if the Pirates could draw fans into the stadium because of their play, and not just for the views of the city.
12. SunTrust Park – Atlanta Braves
While this stadium lacks scenic city views or beautiful natural landscapes, what it does have are modern amenities. A ballpark with it’s own in house microbrewery has to be quality, right? At the very least it’s a good place to start.
While it isn’t right downtown, it is part of a newly built entertainment and residential district, so there are plenty of things to do before and after the game. Add seating with good sightlines from all locations and you’ve got a solid, if unspectacular park.
11. Coors Field – Colorado Rockies
The main reason this stadium ranks so high is because it reflects the city of Denver and the state of Colorado so well. The architecture of the stadium reminds you of a frontier town.
The nature scene in center field is contrived, but Coors Field somehow manages to pull it off. This is probably because most people think of rugged nature and pine trees when envisioning Colorado. Yet, when the sun sets over the left field wall, you are treated to spectacular natural views. Would it work in Philly? No, but Denver can pull it off.
10. Citi Field – New York Mets
While the ballpark may not be the preferred park for home run hitters, it does consistently rank among the top ballparks as rated by fans. This park is noted for its concessions and atmosphere, which are second to none.
The only way they could make this stadium better would be to bring back some of the old Shea Stadium charm. The home run apple is a nice touch, but sometimes the stadium feels a bit sterile and corporate. Where are the monuments or relics of Mets history? That would be a nice addition to a great ballpark.
9. Progressive Field – Cleveland Indians
This ballpark features a few interesting outfield quirks that make for exciting play. In left field there is the “mini monster” with a 19-foot high wall, while in center and right field the wall is only 9 feet high.
What this leads to is doubles that would otherwise be home runs off the giant wall in left field, and outfielders robbing home runs while climbing the wall in the other parts of the wall. Indians fans got used to this sight in the 90’s when Kenny Lofton would routinely scale the pads and snatch the ball was it sailed over the fence.
8. Oriole Park at Camden Yards – Baltimore Orioles
This building just exudes charm. Built with an eye to the past, the stadium design includes nearby historic building and landmarks. One step inside this stadium and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported through time.
We love the cozy seating right on the action throughout the outfield. And the scoreboard design is consistent with the old fashioned feel throughout the park. Now if only they could put a team on the field worth watching.
7. Target Field – Minnesota Twins
This ballpark has it all. And it should, as it’s not even ten years old yet. What we love the most is the view of the Minneapolis skyline over the right and center field walls.
Another feature that makes this park great is the outfield seating. There’s lots of it, and in left field it’s very tall! Talk about an imposing view for opposing hitters. The Twins absolutely made the right decision moving Twins baseball back outside, even if the first few months of the season are frigid.
6. Dodger Stadium – Los Angeles Dodgers
Here’s what you get at Dodger Stadium: beautiful landscape, classic design, and famous people. Chavez Ravine provides a stunning backdrop for Dodger Stadium. The mountains at sunset are truly remarkable.
Opened in 1962, Dodger Stadium features the classic modern styling of the era, highlighted by two hexagonal scoreboards in the outfield. Now, players on the field aren’t the most famous people you’ll see at a trip to see the Dodgers. LA’s team is often home to some of LA’s most famous residents. You’ll often see celebrities sitting in the front rows of dodger games.
5. Oracle Park – San Francisco Giants
Where else can you see kayakers paddling around past the outfield fences to retrieve moonshots from the bay? That experience alone puts Oracle Park in the top ten on our list.
Combine the newer design of the park with nostalgia-driven features like the giant Coke bottle in left field and you have a great ballpark. The designers did an amazing job of making you feel like you are in an old ballpark while providing amenities that the modern baseball fan enjoys.
4. Busch Stadium – St. Louis Cardinals
If you are sitting anywhere in the stands that faces the outfield, you will be treated to a view like none other. The outfield at Busch Stadium opens up to feature stunning views of the St. Louis skyline and a glimpse of the St. Louis arch.
Sitting in the stadium, drinking a beer, watching a baseball game and catching views of the “Gateway to the West”; that’s as American as it gets. Because the Cards are one of the best run franchises in the league, the stands are packed and the atmosphere is one of the best in the big leagues.
3. Yankee Stadium – New York Yankees
Now this isn’t the “House that Ruth Built”, but instead of being built on great names and moments, new Yankee Stadium is a grand cathedral for baseball’s most storied team. Often when visiting Yankee Stadium, visitors are awestruck with its grandeur.
Since the park opened in 2009, they have added many fan friendly amenities such as upper deck bars, USB charging stations and even an on-site butcher. How New York is that, right? New Yankee Stadium might not have the ghosts of legends floating around the outfield, but it more than makes up for it in fan experience.
2. Fenway Park – Boston Red Sox
Fenway Park is an essential trip for any baseball fan. The oldest ballpark in the majors, Fenway still clings to its old world charms. The Green Monster, Pesky Pole, the ability for outfielders to tumble over the 3-foot wall and into the bullpen in right field; these are all what make Fenway unique.
Like the one of the other old historic parks on our list, Fenway also has a hand-operated scoreboard in the outfield. On top of that scoreboard and the Green Monster, Fenway provides one of the most unique ballpark seating options with seats on top of 37 feet in the air. Now that’s a view.
1. Wrigley Field – Chicago Cubs
Wrigley field is the second oldest ballpark in the major leagues and number one on our list. Take a cherished, cozy old park and add $550 million in modernization upgrades and you’ve got a truly spectacular place to watch America’s pastime.
Whether you’re a big-spender shelling out the big bucks to the private club, or partaking on a budget in the outfield bleachers, there’s nothing like a summer day at Wrigley Field. Take a picture in front of the stadium with the iconic red Wrigley sign, check the scores around the league on their human operated scoreboard, and watch long drives get tangled in the ivy on the outfield wall. This is the best baseball has to offer.