It’s July, which means baseball has the floor to itself. Baseball fans from across the country and from across the world are flocking to the 30 MLB venues across the United States to watch America’s pastime. But not all ballparks are created equal, so where should spectators attend to get the best game-day experience possible?
Well, you’ve come to the right place if you want to find out. We’ve ranked all 30 of the venues that a Major League Baseball team calls home, based on factors such as location, fan-passion, and the condition of the facility itself. So get ready to see where your favorite stadium ranks against its competition.
30. Tropicana Field – St. Petersburg, FL; home of the Tampa Bay Rays
An ugly dome, fly-ball interfering catwalks, a fair-weathered Floridian fan base, and a last place team. Tropicana Field earns the unhonorable honor of being named the worst place in the United States to watch a baseball game. Naturally a baseball stadium in Florida needs to be covered due to the frequent wet weather in the summer and fall months, the permanent grey dome at the Trop is one of the less appealing sights in all of baseball. And then there is the sight of visiting fans frequently rivaling the Rays’ “faithful” when east coast teams come into town. It’s a shame that Tampa is having its worst season in recent memory too.
29. O.Co Coliseum – Oakland, CA; home of the Oakland Athletics
The last of the “concrete giants” to still host both an MLB and NFL team may only avoid the last place designation because it sits outside in one of the most temperate climates on Earth. The O.Co. Coliseum, which has seemingly gone through what feels like a billion name changes in the last 20 years (Oakland-Alameda, Network Associates, & McAfee to name some previous titles) not only has an entire deck tarped over during regular season games but by a long-shot has the least character of any ballpark in all of baseball. Just take a stroll along the lifelessly warehouse like concourse and you won’t want to come back to this place anytime soon.
28. Rogers Centre – Toronto, ON; home of the Toronto Blue Jays
It’s cool there is a hotel in center field of the Rogers Centre, but remove that and the retractable roof, and feels like you are playing at the old Kingdome in Seattle. Like Oakland and any other cookie-cutter stadium of the past, Rogers Centre lacks in character with three decks of seating all the way around field. It’s also remarkable that just this season, the Blue Jays finally decided to add a real dirt infield opposed the to astroturf wannabes that was commonplace in the 1980s and ’90s. Toronto is also one of those ballparks where the fans vanish when the Jays aren’t a playoff team. I mean had you ever seen the place as crowded as it was last October between then and the 1993 World Series? I certainly hadn’t .
27. Angel Stadium of Anaheim – Anaheim CA; home of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
The Angels just love the phrase “of Anaheim,” don’t they? Anyhow, you may be surprised that this stadium with a view of the San Gabriel Mountains, the Honda Center, and the lovely 57 freeway is as low as it is on the list. But take it from a young man who grew up right around the corner from the Big A; the place is nothing special. The 50 year old grandstand has hardly changed other than getting a green and beshe paint job in the mid 1990s. The rocks, waterfalls, and newly added flamethrowers in center field are a tacky reminder of the Disney era. Panda Express is one of the options on the concourse (seriously, Panda Express?). The bullpens stacked together against the left field wall takes away the excitement of sitting in the bleachers. The only thing that gets fans loud are graphics on the scoreboard that literally say just that. Should I also mention that the wave in Anaheim lasts longer than I’ve seen at any other ballpark? (that’s not a good thing).
26. Progressive Field – Cleveland, OH; home of the Cleveland Indians
It looks kinda like a mirror image of Angel Stadium in some ways, at least with the field design. 10 years ago I would have said that Progressive field may be one of the better ballparks in baseball to attend, but the boom of new state-of-the-art, downtown facilities within the past decade has scooted the stadium way down the list. Like the previous stadiums on the list, it’s one of those venues once again where the fans come during the the home team’s good times (like right now for the Indians) and not so much when the dark clouds blow over. The Cleveland skyline in the back drop of the stadium provides something to look at, but then again, it’s Cleveland.
25. U.S. Cellular Field – Chicago, IL; home of the Chicago White Sox
Originally dubbed “Comiskey Park II,” U.S. Cellular Field was an attempt to combine the vibe of a classic ballpark with the new innovation of the 1990s when the park opened in 1991, but now the stadium on the South Side is one of the more generic ballparks in all of baseball. The scoreboard is a nice tribute to that of the White Sox’ previous home, but there are no kinks to the park that make it really stand out. And while the fans are always packed just a few miles to the north at Wrigley regardless of how the Cubbies are playing, why isn’t that the case for this place? That really says something about the atmosphere, a category that U.S. Cellular Field just doesn’t fare that well in.
24. Marlins Park – Miami, FL; home of the Miami Marlins
The Marlins had a the chance to do something great when they were approved to get a new home in time for the 2012 season, and they really squandered the opportunity. Sure, Marlins Park is an upgrade from Sun Life Stadium. It’s big, high tech, covered when needed, and is suited specifically for baseball, but it overdoes it on the South Florida theme. From the abundant neon colors, nightclub in right field, wacky flamingo home-run mural in center field, and the fish tank built into the wall behind home plate (Are you kidding me? An actual fish tank?), the stadium feels more like an awkward cross between an aquarium and a venue on South Beach than it does a brand-new baseball stadium. And the fair-weathered fan base in Miami doesn’t help that cause one bit.
23. Chase Field – Phoenix, AZ; home of the Arizona Diamondbacks
Chase Field is neat in that it was one of the first stadiums ever built to have a retractable roof and a pool adjacent to right center field. You can also buy an 18 inch corn dog dubbed the “D-Bat” for a generous price of $25. Aside from that however, the stadium is absolutely way bigger than it needs to be, the result of it being constructed in the mid-late 1990s when ticket demand was at its peak. Attendance has been a problem ever since the days of the World Series hype passed, probably because Arizona has seldom made a postseason run since. (Think that time when the camera caught a huge group of sorority girls at the park all with their eyes glued to their phones at once).
22. Miller Park – Milwaukee, WI; home of the Milwaukee Brewers
The ballpark, which opened in 2001, is almost a clone of Chase Field in its design. The only thing that differentiates it from its southwestern counterpart is the absence of a pool and the presence of a massive “home run slide” high above left center field. Miller Park also has the edge over Chase Field in food – I mean how can you not when you’re in a major hub for both the brewing and sausage industry? Brewers fans always seem to make at least some consorted effort to come cheer on their teams well, even during the rough times, but that doesn’t change the fact that Miller Park also struggles to sell out its games when its not the postseason.
21. Turner Field – Atlanta, GA; home of the Atlanta Braves
Turner Field is only 20 years old and is already in its final season of operation as the home of the Atlanta Braves. You’d think that’d be an indicator of a bad ballpark, but I disagree. The stadium does have historical value in serving as the host venue of the 1996 Summer Olympics shortly before it was reconfigured into a baseball only venue. Certainly the dimensions are nothing too fancy, but it gives it the feel of an old fashioned stadium with such a configuration. I will say too that the drop-off in attendance the past two seasons (the worst in recent memory for the Braves) has shown the true identity of Braves fans, one that is far worse than I ever perceived. But still, Turner for so many years was always filled to capacity as the Braves were so good for so long. The place was rocking with the “war chant” ringing throughout the park, and who could forget the infamous “infield fly game” in 2012 that sparked a near riot? Those memories will never fade, even as the stadium does.
20. Globe Life Park in Arlington – Arlington, TX; home of the Texas Rangers
Another stadium of the 1990s that is planned to be closed in the near future, Globe Life Park combines the new and the old with a tribute to some of the classic stadiums by featuring a giant awning over the second deck of the right field grandstand. The Texas heat can make for brutal playing conditions, but the stadium is nonetheless a great place to catch a game, showcasing a great concourse with a variety of food for everyone. After all, who doesn’t love some Texas Barbecue and dollar hot dog nights once a week? Again, there is an excess of seats and the fan-base may not be the strongest considering the Rangers play in a city that is dominated by football, but there isn’t much to dislike about Globe Life Park other than the weather.
19. Citizens Bank Ballpark – Philadelphia, PA; home of the Philadelphia Phillies
Citizens Bank Ballpark is certainly an upgrade from the once generic Veterans Stadium that the Philadelphia Phillies shared with the Philadelphia Eagles for over 25 years. It provides a nice view of the Philadelphia skyline beyond center field if you sit up high enough, and that home run liberty bell is the pavilion is a nice little tribute to one of the city’s finest landmarks. Yet Citizens Bank Ballpark is somewhat a let down for a 21st century ballpark given that it sits in the middle of a multi-stadium sports complex with parking lot all around it rather than being situated in the middle of downtown with plenty of pre/post-game entertainment in every direction (think of parks like San Francisco, Minnesota, San Diego and Washington). Too bad the Phillies have regressed so much of late too.
18. Coors Field – Denver, CO; home of the Colorado Rockies
If you want to see a home run derby without actually going to the home run derby, Coors Field is the place for you. It’s mile-high altitude creates for abundant offense no matter who is playing. The mini-forest, complete with a creek, in center field is a great tribute to the incredible beauty of adjacent Rocky Mountains, but in someways it can come off as a little tacky (kind of like the rocks and waterfalls in Anaheim, but at least this one makes sense). You may even get to see the rare instance of a baseball game getting delayed by a snowstorm given the elevation, but that’s pretty neat if you ask me.
17. Comerica Park – Detroit, MI; home of the Detroit Tigers
Comerica Park doesn’t have the historic feel that Tiger Stadium did, and part of me still wishes that the Tigers never made the move 16 years ago. (heck Fenway is just as old as is still awesome). But Comerica isn’t bad for a replacement. The Detroit skyline makes for a pretty view and ivy covered batters eye surrounded by brick on both sides is a nice tribute to some of the parks of days past. The stadium has also had its fare share of fine moments, from no hitters to an all star game to a few World Series appearances (both of which Detroit lost). For a city that is so industrial and has quite frankly become so depressing of late, Comerica is a nice escape from every day Detroit.
16. Great American Ballpark – Cincinnati, OH; home of the Cincinnati Reds
The Great American Ballpark may be the best thing that the Cincinnati has to offer, situated right on the banks of the Ohio River and providing a family-friendly atmosphere for all to enjoy. There’s a nice little tribute to the river too, as a pair of steamboat smoke-stacks beyond center field blast fireworks out of them after every Reds home run. The downtown Cincinnati location too provides plenty of pre-game entertainment, which only adds to the game-day atmosphere as a whole. The Reds obviously aren’t drawing as big of crowds as they used to given how they are playing, but kudos to the fans who have stayed loyal through all the years of Cincy sports heartbreak. At least they have a nice stadium to call home.
15. Nationals Park– Washington, D.C.; home of the Washington Nationals
Nationals Park may be the most modern stadium in all of baseball – slick in it’s design and located right in the heart of the nation’s capital. And now it is finally being filled to capacity on a regular basis as the Nats have regularly been one of the best teams in baseball over the past few years. Baseball itself aside, who doesn’t love the Presidents races that occur every home game?
14. Safeco Field – Seattle, WA; home of the Seattle Mariners
I think people tend to forget how nice of a stadium Safeco Field actually is. It’s located a few hundred yards from the Puget Sound right in the heart of Seattle, and the retractable roof almost guarantees that playing conditions are always near perfect. The food prices there are notoriously high and the it may not be the most picturesque facility in the league, but if you sit in the right spot you are given a beautiful backdrop of the Seattle Skyline. It’s a shame the Mariners haven’t been able to field a good team since the days since the early 2000s came to an end.
13. Minute Maid Park – Houston, TX; home of the Houston Astros
Some people may still miss the wondrous marvel that the Astrodome was when it first opened, but you have to like Minute Maid Park. A downtown location, the unique incline in center field, a home run train, and the retractable roof to shield its patrons from the south Texas humidity give it plenty of character. And now it hosts one of the youngest and most exciting, upcoming teams in all of baseball after so many years of frustration for Astros fans. That Citgo sign in left is a nice little tribute to Fenway too.
12. Citi Field – Queens, NY; home of the New York Mets
Citi Field is great in that it combines the old with the new. While you have a serious upgrade from the out-of-date Shea Stadium that the Mets once called home, Citi Field has the feel of an old school ball park with the retro Pepsi-Cola sign in right field and the famous “big apple” in center, the lone item salvaged from Shea. The stadium had its shining moment last October when it hosted its first World Series game ever, even though the Mets didn’t end up on the winning side of that series. So grab yourself a hot dog and a slice of thin crust pizza, and you have a pretty good setting for watching a baseball game.
11. New Yankee Stadium – The Bronx, NY; home of the New York Yankees
New Yankee Stadium holds the unique title of being one of only a handful of ballparks to host a World Series in its first year of operation, doing so in 2009. Otherwise, it is simply a modernized blue-print of Yankee Stadium that lacks the historical feel of the “House that Ruth Built.” Nonetheless, you can always expect an incredible atmosphere when watching one of the most storied teams in sports play on their home turf. And have you ever seen a Hard Rock Cafe in the middle of a baseball stadium? Well, this place has just that. On a personal note, I would highly recommend attending a game when the Red Sox are in town, because the experience of seeing that rivalry in person was truly amazing.
10. Target Field – Minneapolis, MN; home of the Minnesota Twins
Another underrated ballpark to say the least. Located right in the middle of downtown Minneapolis, Target Field is incredibly well kept and provides excellent views in every direction. The retro Minnesota sign beyond center field gives the modern marvel a bit of an old school feeling, and if you want some good food, you need to look no further than the bratwursts that the concessions sell, because they’re damn good. But I digress – the point is the Twins have built themselves an incredible place to play ball, and I’d highly recommend catching a game if you ever happen to find yourself in Minneapolis.
9. Kaufman Stadium
Kaufman Stadium was an old, run down park of the 1970s before it underwent major renovations prior to the 2012 stadiums. Now it is once again one of the better places in the country to catch a ballgame. The sight of fountains and a giant crown in center field is iconic, and the addition of color-changing lights in the water has made the signature feature of the stadium that much better. Is Kaufman Stadium fancy? Not necessarily, but its simplicity is what makes it so unique. And hey, who doesn’t like the idea of enjoying some Kansas City Barbecue while watching a championship squad take the field?
8. Petco Park – San Diego, CA; home of the San Diego Padres
The host of the 2016 All-Star Game may have been the best venue that the contest has seen in years. Situated right in the heart of San Diego’s Gaslamp District, Petco Park is truly beautiful in so many ways. Not only did the designers find a way to incorporate a 100 year old building into a suite section for the park, but Petco Park features an entire lawn beyond center field where fans can have a picnic while watching MLB action for just a few bucks. The stadium may boast the best menu in all of baseball too, littered with San Diego Classics form Ballast Point Brewing Company to Hodad’s Burgers. The Padres may not be the best franchise at the moment, but boy are they spoiled to play in such a great ballpark.
7. Dodger Stadium – Los Angeles, CA; Home of the Los Angeles Dodgers
A few year ago it looked like Dodger Stadium may have been on its last leg, but major renovations in 2013 after Magic Johnson bought the Dodgers brought one of baseball’s most timeless venues back up to par. You have to love the sound of Vin Scully’s voice welcoming you into the stadium before you enjoy a Dodger Dog and Rootbeer Float from the left field pavilion. Or you can sit up by the elevator shaft an enjoy a scenic view of the San Gabriel Mountains off in the distance. The fans may not be the most friendliest bunch of all time, but their rowdy brand is what makes them who they are. The stadium is simple, but it is worth visiting if you have a chance.
6. Camden Yards – Baltimore, MD; Home of the Baltimore Orioles
Camden Yards may be one of the most influential ballparks in the history of baseball, as its unique design back in 1992 moved stadium architects away from the concrete giant approach and ushered in the era of new stadiums with a retro feel. Now that the Orioles have made a return as one of the better teams in the American League, Camden Yards is experiencing a renaissance of its early days in which it seemingly always sold out, and its great to see considering how beautiful the park is. Of the parks I have not yet been to that I want to visit, it is certainly near the top of my list.
5. Busch Stadium – St. Louis, MO; home of the St. Louis Cardinals
Located right in the middle of downtown St. Louis, 10 year old Busch Stadium is truly a gem. Not only does it offer a a spectacular view of the St. Louis skyline beyond center field, but it is more importantly home to one of the classiest fan bases and most consistent teams in all of baseball. Like New Yankee Stadium, it is also one of the few parks to host a World Series in its first year of operation, the Cardinals defeating the Detroit Tigers that year. Is there anything more American than catching a baseball game right in the middle of America’s heartland? I don’t think so.
4. Fenway Park – Boston, MA; home of the Boston Red Sox
Don’t get me wrong, Fenway Park is freaking awesome. The Green Monster is incredible. Sweet Caroline is incredible. The food is incredible. The fans (though obnoxious) are incredible. Heck, even the iconic Citgo sign beyond the monster is incredible. The only reason why I didn’t put Fenway Park at No. 1 or No. 2 is because it hasn’t received the much needed renovation that it’s mid-western counterpart received last year. That doesn’t takeaway however from the fact that Fenway Park in one of the greatest American icons of all time and is nothing short of baseball mecca for many.
3. PNC Park – Pittsburgh, PA; home of the Pittsburgh Pirates
Is there a better backdrop in all of baseball? I really do not think so. Unless your team has yet to be mentioned in this article, you should envy the Pirates for getting to play in a place as beautiful as PNC Park. The view of the Allegheny River and Downtown Pittsburgh beyond right field looks like something out of a painting, and now that the Pirates have returned to prominence, the atmosphere at the place is better than ever. The fans are coming out, the place is rocking in October, and talent in form of Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen have entertained baseball everywhere. What a time to be alive in the Steel City.
2. AT&T Park – San Francisco, CA; home of the San Francisco Giants
Imagine a place where you can enjoy a nice warm crab sandwich with a view of the San Francisco Bay, all the while watching the baseball team of the decade surrounded by some of the most passionate fans in all of baseball. That, my friends, is AT&T Park. From the splash hits in McCovey Cove to the world’s biggest baseball glove in right field (and now a kale garden in center field), the place has it all. Many people will have AT&T Park at the top of their list, and it truly deserves to be considered for that position considering that it offers essentially everything that a baseball fan dreams of. Did I also mention that you can watch the games for free from the Embarcadero? That’s hella awesome.
1. Wrigley Field – Chicago, IL; home of the Chicago Cubs
102 years of operation and stronger than ever – that’s what makes Wrigley Field oh so special. From the ivy covered walls to the manual scoreboard to the incredible Chicago dogs, Wrigley Field is truly the definition of baseball. It’s beautiful. It’s timeless. It’s America. And now it once again has a good baseball team taking the field after so many years of failure. Let me tell you right now, you are not a true MLB fan until you have made your pilgrimage to this masterpiece. So congratulations Wrigleyville. Even if you can’t win a World Series, you can celebrate your first place finish in this article. Raise the W.