MLB Power Rankings: The Best and Worst MLB Stadiums
In ranking baseball's ballparks, everyone has a preference. No, I have not seen a game at every stadium, so yes, I will have biases for, or against, stadiums in which I've had certain experiences.
Also, I'm a baseball purist, so I'd rather not see the ballpark have an impact on the game. Stadiums like PETCO Park, Citi Field, the Oakland Coliseum (O.co) and Target Field get bumped down because of their clear favor towards pitchers. Also, as a purist, ballparks like Fenway, Busch and Wrigley got a slight edge for their history.
Part of the beauty of baseball is the uniqueness of each game. Every umpire has a slightly different strike zone. Every crowd has a different approach. And every ballpark is an entirely new experience.
One last thing that went into these rankings is considering the cost of seeing a game live, including tickets, food and transportation, what are the odds the fan will get to see the home team win?
That wasn't the most important factor, but it did go into the rankings.
The Bottom Group: Fans Can Ruin the Day...
26. Tropicana Field, Tampa Bay Rays - The last remaining fixed-dome stadium in baseball, Tropicana is home to the constantly underrated Rays. The team is good, but the fans haven't noticed, and an empty ballpark is hard to get excited about, let alone the miserable weather outside.
27. Wrigley Field, Chicago Cubs - Believe it or not, Wrigley was bumped UP to No. 27 because of the tradition, the ivy walls and the flags in center field. The team is still unlikely to win 75 games this season, and the crowd is notorious for their intoxicated outbursts.
28. Citi Field, New York Mets - Citi Field got a slight bump from a possible last-place finish because you get to walk out after watching another Metropolitans loss and find yourself in New York. The fact the team was forced to move the fences in shortly after the stadium debuted is a bad sign.
29. Oakland Coliseum, Oakland Athletics - Combine a terrible team that just traded away the majority of its talent with a ballpark that makes more foul balls and home runs into outs than any other and you get ALMOST the worst park in baseball.
30. Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles Dodgers - This is the first of the personal experiences I will write about. First of all, the Los Angeles traffic, combined with the stadium's location, make getting to a Dodgers' game a nightmare.
Then you arrive, and find much of the affordable seating is populated by inebriated fans who throw beverages and spew obscenities for the next three hours. And the Dodgers are unlikely to touch .500 this season.
No. 21-25: The 10th Defender
21. PETCO Park, San Diego Padres - PETCO is a beautiful ballpark. The tickets are affordable, but a few glaring problems exist. The first is that some seat views are obstructed by aspects of the park. The second is that home runs end up as flyouts. San Diego will always struggle to keep power hitters in town and thus a competitive team on the field.
22. Target Field, Minnesota Twins - This is another very pretty looking park, and the fans are extremely friendly, for the most part. But the first issue is ticket prices. And Target has a similar problem as PETCO with the power-sapping dimensions, but the effects might even be greater considering the Twins play in an offense-driven American League.
23. Coors Field, Colorado Rockies - Coors is a fun place to see a game due to the high scoring, but as a baseball purist, this is also one thing that bothers me about it. Even since the humidor was brought in, there is a distinct offensive advantage at Coors, but that makes it hard to keep good pitching in town, which is mandatory in the pitching-driven National League.
24. Progressive Field, Cleveland Indians - To see a game, you have to actually go to Cleveland, which is not attractive. In addition, the team boasts few superstars and is likely headed for another sub-.500 season.
25/ Safeco Field, Seattle Mariners - Another American League park that kills offense; the Mariners might be the single most boring team to watch in baseball. The tickets are also more expensive than a 70-win team should charge.
16-20: Nothing Special Part 1
16. Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati Reds - The Reds bring a nice balance of being fun to watch and affordable to see. The ballpark itself, which I have seen a game at, is nothing special, but there's a decent chance of seeing a win. Also, Aroldis Chapman is one of the most fun pitchers to watch.
17. Turner Field, Atlanta Braves - Turner might be lower without Jason Heyward and Craig Kimbrel because the team doesn't have a lot to get excited about. Its an expensive place to see a game as well, and they might be a bit overrated this season. I'll be surprised if they win over 80 games.
18. Camden Yards, Baltimore Orioles - Baltimore might be the most talent-laden BAD team in baseball. There are so many guys on this team who are capable of hitting 30 home runs: Adam Jones, Mark Reynolds, JJ Hardy...Matt Wieters might not reach that level, but it's a fun team to watch and Baltimore is a beautiful locale to see a game and enjoy a night out afterwards.
19. Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City Royals - Affordable seats, friendly fans and the team is stacked with future superstars. The Royals brought in much of the future last season, with Wil Myers, Mike Montgomery and Bubba Starling fast on their way.
20. US Cellular Field, Chicago White Sox - A blah team, from top to bottom, and the ballpark is nothing special either. I've heard from two trusted sources that the concessions are expensive and the fans are rude. All that being said, the team isn't terrible.
11-15: Nothing Special Part 2
11. Nationals Park, Washington Nationals - This team is young and exciting. The location adds to the draw. And the combination of Stephen Strasburg and soon Bryce Harper make this one of the hottest tickets in baseball.
12. PNC Park, Pittsburgh Pirates - Affordable. When television is as good as it is these days, Pittsburgh is one place you can make an argument that he price is worth the product. And the team isn't as bad as people think.
13. Chase Field, Arizona Diamondbacks - The team is "eh, ok." They will probably win a cheap division title. But there is a swimming area in the outfield, which adds some uniqueness. Overall, not a bad place to see a game.
14. Rogers Centre, Toronto Blue Jays - This is a great place to see offense, and not because the ballpark gives away cheap home runs. The team just mashes. That being said, they will struggle to contend in a loaded AL East. And you have to travel north of the border to see a game here.
15. Minute Maid Park, Houston Astros - Yes, the team is atrocious, but the park is beautiful, and this is where personal preference rears its ugly head. I love the hill in center field. The Astros might just be the new lovable losers.
6-10: Something to See
6. Citizens Bank Ballpark, Philadelphia Phillies - Who is pitching tonight? Who cares?! Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels or Vance Worley...they are all worth going to the ballpark to watch. The team is likely to win 95-100 games again, which means a good chance of a happy ending, and prices are reasonable.
7. Comerica Park, Detroit Tigers - Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder hitting back-to-back is enough to make the trip worthwhile. Getting to watch Cabrera try to play third should be good for comic relief, and the team likely wins 95 games.
8. Busch Stadium, St. Louis Cardinals - Not the draw it was with No. 5 playing first base, but the view of the arch and the team history contained in the relatively new park make it a majestic experience. And the team still isn't bad either.
9. Miller Park, Milwaukee Brewers - They still have Ryan Braun, and are in a winnable division, so the Brewers are a decent sell. Milwaukee itself is a very nice city to find yourself in, and the games are affordable.
10. Marlins Park, Miami Marlins - It's shiny, it's brand new, and it's home to Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez and Giancarlo Stanton. And if all else fails, maybe their new manager will say something controversial. The Marlins are a train I'm on board with, including their new stomping grounds.
1-5: The Best Homes in Baseball
5. AT&T Park, San Francisco Giants - San Francisco is one of my favorite cities in America. The fans are generally friendly, and the team is competitive. The prices may be steeper than some, but spend the day in the city, see a game, have dinner in one of the local happening neighborhoods, and tell me it wasn't worthwhile.
4. The Ballpark in Arlington, Texas Rangers - The team is good, they hit a lot of exciting home runs and the ballpark is one of the most recognizable in baseball. I haven't seen a game here, but people say its a comfortable atmosphere, the fans cheer for the Rangers rather than against the visitors, and there's something to be said for a team that will win 90-95 games.
3. Yankee Stadium, New York Yankees - I was fortunate to see multiple games in the old Yankee Stadium, and the place was baseball fans' heaven on Earth. The new stadium is Mecca for baseball purists. Monument Park, pictures of Yankee greats and of course the 27 championship trophies stand as shining beacons of all things extravagant about professional sports. Ticket prices keep this building from being tops.
2. Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox - The Big Green Monster...what else needs to be said? Fenway has moved beyond the level of just a baseball stadium and into the realm of one of the wonders of the modern world. Even the sport-indifferent can appreciate a tour of this bastion of baseball history.
1. Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Los Angeles Angels - Surprised? I grew up in southern California and saw many, many Angels games. This stadium is affordable, the fans are friendly and the park has attractions for kids and adults.
Additionally, the park is far enough from Los Angeles to be easily accessible, parking is easy to navigate and the team is good. With the addition of Pujols and the healing of Kendrys Morales, the Angels could be ready to pass Texas in the AL West.