For those that missed it, Rob Neyer visited Coors Field recently and wrote a glowing piece on the ballpark. Who am I to argue? Coors Field is fantastic after all.
I have been to, well, let me count: Coors (1), Wrigley Field (2), PETCO Park (3), Angels Stadium (4), Chavez Ravine (5), Oakland’s Dump (6), AT&T Park (7), Ballpark at Arlington (8), Metrodump (9), Jacobs Field (10), Comerica Park (11), Kauffman Stadium (12), Busch II and III (13 and 14), Old Yankee (15), Shea (16), RFKrap (17), Camden Yards (18) and Turner Field (19). It feels like I have been to more. I have been to most of the fields in Arizona other than the Diamondbacks home for 81 days of summer. Some of these parks are great and some not so much. There are some I really, really want to visit (Safeco, PNC and Fenway) and some I just don’t care if I never see (Dolphin and Tampa). There are some I need to revisit since new parks were built after I visited their old ones (Washington, New York x2 and Minnesota) and some that I am sure I might never visit (why would a Cubs fan visit the White Sox park when I only make it to Chicago once every other year or so?).
Yes, I am a Cubs fan. Believe it or not I watched baseball prior to 1993 and being that I was born in Iowa it was either the Cardinals, Cubs or Twins for me to choose from. I have a very large extended family and those are the three teams most everyone roots for. I choose the Cubs probably mostly due to WGN. Mark Grace, Shawon Dunston and Andre Dawson are my idols from my younger years.
With that being said I will leave Wrigley and Coors out of my top five list because I am biased towards both (I don’t know how there could possibly be a better view than the club level or upper deck level down the right field line at Coors Field for a sunset).
My top 5:
1. PETCO Park. I love the little things at a ballpark and loved the field behind the batter’s eye for the kids to play on. On the back of the batter’s eye is a large screen showing the game so the adults don’t miss anything. The neighborhood around the park is awesome and some of the views and the restaurants around the stadium are great. It was a large place and felt bigger than the Ballpark at Arlington which I believe is the biggest ballpark in terms of its footprint. We saw two games there and the second night we sat in the upper deck and the view was breath taking.
2. Camden Yards. The warehouse and the statues of retired Orioles numbers were great touches to this park. It felt like a ballpark. With the red brick and overall atmosphere just plain being baseball like. The best thing about visiting these parks is when I show up only to find out there are giving away something cool and when I was at Camden they were giving out 1983 Cal Ripken bobble heads. SCORE!
3. Kauffman Stadium. I really liked it before the renovation and after it is even better. I love the Midwest (visiting only, please) and it just feels like everyone are friends. Sometimes the people make the park and that is the case with Kaufman. With the addition of the Royals Hall of Fame and all the activities for the kiddos in the outfield the place is the cat’s meow. The rest of the world will realize how great it is next year during the All-Star game. (Check out my pics from Kauffman this summer)
4. Yankee Stadium. Would probably rank higher if I did my homework. First of all we were on the subway from the southern tip of Manhattan at 4pm. I thought we would be ahead of the late arriving/late leaving business crowd. Wrong. It took us forever to get to the stadium and that was riding an “express” train. I have never experienced anything like that train ride before or since. When we got to the stadium Monument Park was closed which absolutely killed me. It closes about an hour before first pitch. I also bought the cheapest seats I could find (I do this because my wife and I barely spend anytime in our seats as we would rather wander the park and see it all) which meant I was literally trapped in the outfield bleachers. The same thing happened at Chavez Ravine. At both of these parks you cannot get from the outfield bleachers to the rest of the park so I couldn’t see all of Old Yankee. Even so, being in a park where Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Joltin’ Joe and all the rest of the Yankee greats played was simply out of this world. I have never been to a baseball game where the crowd was more into the game and more intense, either.
5. Busch III. Even as a Cubs fan I like this park. As we walked around the new place one of the coolest parts of the park was how they outlined Busch II’s outfield fence in the bricks around the park. You could read about the history of those walls on plaque’s on the wall of the new yard. The view of the Arch in center is the only way this park should sit.
The five worst are pretty easy.
1. RFK. It wasn’t meant for baseball and it was older than Jim Tracy. I think I was picking splinters out of my a$$ weeks after visiting that hole.
2. Oakland. Another football field disguised, poorly, as a baseball field. How does a team like the Athletics and all their history and tradition from the 70’s and 80’s not have its own place? Football stadiums are just too big and distant for baseball.
3. Metrodome. I could easily swap the Metrodome with Oakland. We sat down the third base line about 10 rows up and I couldn’t see home plate. No joke. The seats face the 50 yard line, not home plate. To see what happened at the plate I had to lean forward to look past the 20 or so people in my row.
4. Chavez Ravine. While the people make Kauffman so great the people in LA make Chavez Ravine suck. Maybe my opinion would change – it probably would – if I hadn’t been stuck in the bleachers (see #4, Yankee Stadium above). I didn’t get to experience the view that everyone talks about from behind home plate but I did experience fans being just plain a-holes to each other.
5. Comerica Park. It’s Detroit, ‘nuff said.
I expect to see Target Field in the near future as I have plenty of family in the Twin Cities and I expect that park to rank in my top 5. I also hear the new Nationals Park is really nice. Someday I will make it back to LA and go to another Dodgers game and give Chavez another go and this time I’ll spend more money to sit behind home plate…way behind home plate.
What are you favorite parks if you do not include Coors?
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