Power Ranking All 30 MLB Stadiums

John EwenContributor IIIApril 5, 2012

Power Ranking All 30 MLB Stadiums

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    Ahh, the baseball stadium. Home to America's pastime, 30 baseball diamonds are spread across North America, where fans flock to cheer on their teams. But which stadium is the best? 

    It's a question that doesn't have a definitive answer, but I can sure as well try to give it one. Each stadium will be graded in five categories, receiving a score between 1 and 10. The higher the score, the higher the ranking. The categories are as follows:

    • History: Does the stadium have any defining moments? Anything that is forever attached to the stadium? The older fields might get an unfair advantage in this one, but historical parks are always favorites.
    • Atmosphere: Does the stadium put you right in the game or take you out of it? Design and quality will be judged.
    • Tenants: Does the team calling the stadium home have any reason to put fans in the seats?
    • Distinct Features: Does the stadium have anything unique that separates it from all the others?
    • Turnout: Is the stadium packed to the nosebleeds, or are more seats visible than fans? Rankings are determined based on the last three years' attendance numbers.

    Without further ado, let's dive in.

30. O.co Coliseum

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    Home Of: Oakland Athletics

    Opened: 1966

    Capacity: 35,067

    History: Being around as long as The Coliseum has gives the home of the A's an advantage in the first category. 1972 marked the first of three straight World Series championships in Oakland. Six of the franchise's 15 AL pennants, as well as four of their nine World Series, were brought home to the O.co. While recent success has been hard to come by (we'll get there in a minute), it's hard to deny the rich history of the Athletics. 

    Score: 8

     

    Atmosphere: The biggest problem The Coliseum has is its other tenants: the Raiders. Raider Nation is unquestionably larger than the A's fanbase, leading to the stadium to pamper more to its football residents. In 1996, an upper deck was added, fully enclosing the stadium and giving it a true football feel, much to the chagrin of baseball fans. The deck, nicknamed Mount Davis in mockery of Raiders owner Al Davis, removed the view of outlying hills. It's hard to get a baseball experience in a stadium designed for football.

    Score: 2

     

    Tenants: The Athletics have not been a good team in the past few years. The Rangers and Angels have been taking the crown in the AL West since 2007, and this year will be no different, leaving Oakland to fight with Seattle for last place.

    Score: 1

     

    Distinct Features: Nothing, absolutely nothing, makes O.co stand apart from the other stadiums in the MLB. I understand that since it's old, it hasn't been able to add any fancy new technology, but as we'll see later in this list, plenty of older stadiums have incorporated unique items to separate them from the pack.

    Score: 1

     

    Turnout: To say attendance is lackluster is an understatement. The Athletics have boasted the league's lowest attendance twice in the past three years, and when they weren't dead last, they were 29th. Sorry, O.co, no fans=bad grade.

    Score: 1

    Final Score: 13 

29. Marlins Park

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    Home of: Miami Marlins

    Opened: 2012

    Capacity: 37,000

     

    History: OK, it may be unfair, but it's opening season for The Fish Tank. The stadium couldn't possibly have history if a professional game hasn't been held in it yet. The only reasonable score is a 1.

    Score: 1

     

    Atmosphere: It'll be much easier to get a feel for this one once the season gets underway. From what I can see, it looks like the stadium would be an enjoyable experience, but that's just judging from empty pictures. 

    Score: 5

     

    Tenants: With the move to a new stadium, the Marlins grabbed some new toys to bring fans to the stadium. Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle now call Miami home, heeding orders from new skipper Ozzie Guillen. Throw in established Marlins like Hanley Ramirez and Mike, err, Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlins will be a fun team to watch this year.

    Score: 7

     

    Distinct Features:  For being a new ballpark, Marlins Park really doesn't bring anything new to the table. Save for that giant monstrosity in centerfield. Seriously, what is that thing? All I know is that it looks like this in motion, which really doesn't make matters any better.

    Score: 2

     

    Turnout: The Fish have been in the bottom three in league attendance since 2005. As a Mets fan, I wasn't able to see much of the O.co empty, but I saw more than my fair share of desolate Marlin games. Will the new stadium change things? Here's hoping.

    Score: 1

     

    Total Score: 16

28. Safeco Field

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    Home of: Seattle Mariners

    Opened: 1999

    Capacity: 47,878

    History: The Mariners have only had four playoff berths in their history, two of them coming in Safeco. Both berths ended in the ALCS to the Yankees, where they went 1-4 at home in the two series. As such, there isn't much of a stadium history to talk of.

    Score: 2

     

    Atmosphere: The picture I have chosen for this slide does not do Safeco justice. When the roof is down, the scene is just majestic. I'm a sucker for the Seattle skyline. I love CenturyLink Field, home of the Seahawks, for its amazing view of the city, and Safeco is no different.

    Score: 7

     

    Tenants: Remember how the Mariners only have four playoff berths in their history? There's a reason for that. Save for Ichiro in the outfield and King Felix on the mound, the M's have little starpower in their lineup. They are getting better, but it's only going to be good enough to keep the pesky A's in the basement of the AL West. The Rangers and Angels have nothing to fear here.

    Score: 2

     

    Distinct Features: Not much to write home about here. Safeco's only unique feature is the giant SAFECO in left field. We're looking at "1" territory here, but the retractable roof earns Safeco an additional point.

    Score: 2

     

    Turnout: Seattle was able to hold the 18th and 19th-best attendances in 2009 and 2010, respectively, until taking a fall to 23rd in 2011. But at least they're not at the bottom of the league!

    Score: 3

     

    Total Score: 16

27. Tropicana Field

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    Home of: Tampa Bay Rays

    Opened: 1990

    Capacity: 34,078

    History: In 14 years, the Rays have made the playoffs three times, the first being in 2008. Other than the playoffs, The Trop had the honor of hosting the Rays' 8-7 victory over the Yankees in the last game of the season last year.

    Trailing 7-0 in the eighth, Tampa began a comeback, scoring six before heading to the ninth. Dan Johnson tied it in the ninth with a homer with two strikes and two away. Evan Longoria won it in the 12th with a homer of his own, three minutes after the Red Sox lost to the Orioles, blowing a nine-game wild card lead and putting the Rays in the playoffs. 

    Score: 3

     

    Atmosphere: There's a reason everyone hates the Trop: It's a terrible stadium. The catwalks up above the field have been cause of many a controversy, and it lacks the bright colors a majority of the other stadiums feature. Oh, and there's the fact that the soil was found to contain hazardous chemicals because the stadium was built on a former coal plant. But there's nothing wrong with that, right? Right?

    Score: 1

     

    Tenants: The Rays have been getting better with each passing year, and 2012 will be no different. Their rotation might just be the best in the AL East, which will keep them right in the thick of it with Boston and New York

    Score: 9

     

    Distinct Features: If gray was a distinct feature, I'd have no problem giving the Trop a perfect 10. The one unique feature the stadium can call its own is a ray touch tank, where fans can interact with Tampa Bay rays while watching the Tampa Bay Rays. I'm sure there's a Xzibit joke waiting to be made.

    Score: 1

     

    Turnout: The team's location really hurt their attendance. The Rays have been in the bottom 10 in attendance for the last three years, and it's certainly not because the team has been bad. A baseball team in the middle of Retirement Central USA does not spell out sellout crowds. Throw in the mix that the stadium's a dump to begin with, and you get a bad turnout like Tampa has experienced.

    Score: 3

     

    Total Score: 17

26. Nationals Park

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    Home of: Washington Nationals

    Opened: 2008

    Capacity: 41,456

    History: Absolutely nothing. The Nats haven't made a playoff appearance since moving to the states from Montreal. The stadium was home to Albert Pujols' 400th homer, Adam Dunn's 300th and Randy Johnson's 300th victory, but only Dunn's milestone was on Washington's behalf. Then there was the whole debut of this Stephen Strasburg kid, where he set the team record for strikeouts. None of these moments were really monumental, leaving the park a low history score.

    Score: 2

     

    Atmosphere: It's a decent-looking stadium. Nothing really monumental, save for the view of the Washington Monument from the right field upper deck. See what I did there? I'll be here all week.

    Score: 6

     

    Tenants: Washington hasn't been that good in the past few years, but they are improving, which is always a plus when trying to draw in a crowd. The Nats will be as good as their rotation will make them, which means Strasburg will have a lot of weight on his shoulders after a rough spring. They won't be making a playoff push, but they will win a few games.

    Score: 4

     

    Distinct Features: I got nothing. There's a grove of cherry blossoms past the left field bleachers as a sign of the nation's capital, but they don't add much to the stadium as a whole. I'll give Washington a point for the racing presidents, but I see the run of the mascots as a tradition of a stadium much later in this list.

    Score: 2

     

    Turnout: Washington has been slowly gaining in attendance, posting the 20th-best in the league last year. It's nothing colossal yet, but if the trend continues, the Nats could break into the high teens this year. Not bad for the stadium's fourth year.

    Score: 4

    Total Score: 18

25. PETCO Park

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    Home of: San Diego Padres

    Opened: 2004

    Capacity: 42,691

    History: While the Padres themselves haven't made much history in their ballpark, PETCO has hosted several memorable events in the past few years. In 2008, the Padres hosted the Rockies in what would become a 22-inning pitcher's duel, the longest game in 15 years. Colorado won, 2-1.

    In 2009, the park got the honor of hosting the first baseball game delayed on a count of bees. There was almost an hour delay in the contest between San Diego and the Astros. And there was a guy by the name of Barry Bonds who tied Hank Aaron's home run record in 2007, but I'm sure that wasn't as important as the bees. Insert Nicholas Cage joke here.

    Score: 4

     

    Atmosphere: PETCO doesn't seem like an enjoyable visual experience. They haven't done anything original using the cityscape as a backdrop, but the San Diego buildings look dull. Still, watching a game in the beautiful California weather makes up for it.

    Score: 4

     

    Tenants: The Padres were competitive two years ago, only losing the West by two games to the Giants. Last year, though...let's just say a 23-game deficit does not draw crowds.

    It looks like another long year in San Diego.

    Score: 1

     

    Distinct Features: Yeah, I just said the buildings weren't the best looking, but San Diego actually built PETCO around a building. The Western Metal Supply Co. sits in left field and serves as the foul pole. The building was scheduled to be torn down, but was later incorporated into the stadium design. Great choice. The building now serves as a team store, suites, a restaurant and additional seats. 

    Score: 6

     

    Turnout: Slowly, San Diego has been moving up the attendance ranks. They have gone from 20th to 17th in the past three seasons. It's slow, but at least it's rising, unlike some other stadiums later in this list. 

    Score: 4

     

    Total Score: 19

24. Progressive Field

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    Home of: Cleveland Indians

    Opened: 1994

    Capacity: 45,000

    History: The Indians had an impressive span of six consecutive AL Central Division titles from 1995 to 2001, missing first place only in 2000. Only two pennants came from these titles, but The Prog used to be a place to win. Emphasis on used to

    Score: 6

     

    Atmosphere: In 2008, The Prog was named the best ballpark in America by fans. While that was four years ago, it still gained the stadium a favorable score. Also adding to the stadium atmosphere is "The Drummer," John Adams, who has brought a drum to a majority of home games since 1973. The Indians organization certainly noticed his impact to the stadium atmosphere; they recently started paying for his tickets.

    Score: 8

     

    Tenants: Remember, The Prog used to be a place to win. Not so much anymore. They finished second in the AL Central last year; that's the good.

    The bad? They were 15 games out of first at the season's end. Still an improvement from the previous two years' 20-plus game deficits, but this team is not going to keep up with the Tigers. Not that anyone else in the Central will be able to either.

    Score: 3

     

    Distinct Features: Well, it's got a 19-foot wall in left that suddenly drops 10 feet in center. Green Monster it is not, but I'm reaching for something here. Nothing really pops.

    Score: 2

     

    Turnout: Remember how the A's had the lowest attendance in two of the past three years? Want to take a guess at who held that honor in 2010? Cleveland climbed six spots last year, but there's nowhere to go but up when you're dead last.

    Score: 2

     

    Total Score: 21

23. PNC Park

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    Home of: Pittsburgh Pirates

    Opened: 2001

    Capacity: 38,362

     

    History: The Pirates haven't been in the playoffs since 1992. PNC hasn't had anything historical happen within its walls. Unless you count the 2006 All-Star Game. But nobody counts the All-Star Game.

    Score: 1

     

    Atmosphere: Thus begins my bias towards parks on the water. Nothing looks better to me than a ballpark situated right on the river, and would you look at that; PNC neighbors the Allegheny River. With the Roberto Clemente bridge serving as a backdrop leading to Pittsburgh, PNC Park is a visually-pleasing stadium.

    Score: 8

     

    Tenants: There was a point when the Pirates were the laughingstock of the baseball world. OK, they still are, but the Astros will make it hard to make fun of Pittsburgh this year. The front office made a few pickups during the offseason, but nothing to propel this team from fourth to compete with the upper echelon of the NL Central. 

    Score: 3

     

    Distinct Features: It may be cheating a little, but I'm bringing the bridge back into this one. Yeah, yeah, it's not part of the stadium, but it's sort of impossible to think of PNC without picturing the Roberto Clemente Bridge overlooking it. It really separates PNC from the other stadiums in the league.

    Score: 6

     

    Turnout: Attendance at the park has been on the rise. Pittsburgh was 22nd in attendance last year, a six-spot increase from 2009. More fans are making their way to PNC for some reason or another.

    Score: 3

     

    Total Score: 21

22. Minute Maid Park

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    Home of: Houston Astros

    Opened: 2000

    Capacity: 40,967

    History: Most of the franchise's historical events took place in the Astrodome, where the team spent 34 years. The move to Minute Maid earned three playoff berths and a pennant in 2005. Minute Maid did have the honor of hosting the first World Series game in Texas, but it was bittersweet. The Astros lost both games at home to the Chicago White Sox.

    Score: 4

     

    Atmosphere: Minute Maid is a beautiful-looking stadium whether the roof is open or closed. The Houston skyline is nothing special, but still looks good, especially during night games.

    Score: 7

     

    Tenants: Hey, remember how I said the Pirates used to be the laughingstock of the baseball world? Welcome to the home of the current laughingstock! The team "ace" is Wandy Rodriguez, who has a career 4.07 ERA. Prepare for a long, long, long, year in Houston.

    Score: 1

     

    Distinct Features: Minute Maid has one of the strangest features in any baseball stadium: That hill in center. It's called Tal's Hill, and apparently hell on Earth to patrol. To quote Lance Berkman, "If the ball rolls onto the hill, it's not steep enough to roll back, so you have to go get it. Then there's the chance of running into the flagpole that's on it and getting hurt.”

    Not only is trying to make a catch on the 30-degree incline a challenge, the giant metal pole that's in play is a safety hazard. But at least it's unique! Minute Maid also has a train that runs along the top of the left field wall when an Astro hits a home run or the home team wins. Something tells me there won't be a lot of locomotion this year in Houston.

    Score: 9

     

    Turnout: Slowly decreasing. Houston was 13th in the league three years ago, but fell to 19th in 2011. If the trend continues, the Astros would fall into the bottom third of the league in attendance. 

    Score: 3

     

    Total Score: 24

21. Citi Field

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    Home of: New York Mets

    Opened: 2009

    Capacity: 41,800

    History: The new home of the New York Mets has only been in use for three years, so there hasn't been much opportunity for history. There's been a few milestones that took place in Citi's confines. Gary Sheffield and Jason Bay hit their 500th and 200th homers, respectively. Yankees star closer Mariano Rivera recorded his 500th save. Eric Bruntlett won a game for rival Philadelphia with an unassisted triple play, becoming the first game in the history of the NL to end in such a way.

    Nothing really groundbreaking here, and added to the fact that the stadium itself honors Brooklyn Dodger history more than Mets history, Citi has a bit of a personality issue.

    Score: 2

     

    Atmosphere: It certainly isn't Shea, but Citi has an atmosphere that's all its own. It pains me to say that the Mets are the B-team in New York, but the Amazins' are in no shape to challenge the Yankees for the crown of New York. Still, I've enjoyed every game I've gone to at Citi. The park just felt open, and now that the walls will return to a familiar shade of blue, fans will feel more at home.

    Score: 7

     

    Tenants: Oh, my Mets. Ever since that collapse in 2007, the team has struggled to put a winning unit together. 2012 is not the year the pieces come to place. The young kids will have their moments, but it will be more of the same in New York this year. The Mets finishing .500 seems like an impossibility at this point.

    Score: 3

     

    Distinct Features: When Citi opened, much was made of its outfield. The wall has sharp, unique cuts, highlighted by the indent in right field by the Modell's Clubhouse. Also in right field is the Pepsi Porch, which hangs over the field. And who could forget about the iconic home run apple in center field?

    Score: 7

     

    Turnout: I blame the Wilpons for this one. Then again, I blame the Wilpons for everything wrong with this franchise. In 2009, the Mets were seventh in league attendance. Last year, they fell to 14th. With the team struggling to get by, attendance is sure to fall again. 

    Score: 5

     

    Total Score: 24

20. US Cellular Field

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    Home of: Chicago White Sox

    Opened: 1991

    Capacity: 41,432

    History: The Sox made the playoffs four times while calling US Cellular home. The biggest was in 2005, when the team swept the Astros to win their third World Series in franchise history.

    Mark Buehrle made history himself in the park. The former White Sox ace pitched a no-hitter in 2007 against the Rangers, then outdid himself with a perfect game in 2009. 

    Score: 5

     

    Atmosphere: Chicago is up among the best cities in America when it comes to sport atmosphere. The Cell has a interesting design where there are no upper decks in fair territory. It's only a structural aspect, but it keeps fans in the outfield seats a part of the whole experience. 

    Score: 8

     

    Tenants: The Sox aren't looking like contenders this year. Robin Ventura takes the helm as manager, but the ChiSox don't have enough weapons to compete with Detroit in the Central or the Wild Card. 

    Score: 3

     

    Distinct Features: I don't know about you, but when I first saw US Cellular Field, those pinwheels on the top of the scoreboard caught my eye. It's described as an "exploding scoreboard," so I assume they spin and launch fireworks all over the place once Chicago knocks one out of the park. They might not be the most attractive features, but the pinwheels are unique, that's for sure.

    Score: 5

     

    Turnout: Unlike their Windy City brethren, the Sox have had a falling attendance in the past few years. They were 21st in attendance last year, falling five spots from 2009. A falling turnout results in a falling score.

    Score: 3

     

    Total Score: 24

19. Oriole Park at Camden Yards

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    Home of: Baltimore Orioles

    Opened: 1992

    Capacity: 45,480

    History: Three words: Cal. Ripken. Jr. Arguably the sport's unbreakable record, Ripken's 2,632 consecutive games played took place mostly in "The House That Cal Built." The previous record held by Lou Gehrig of 2,130 was broken at Camden in 1995. So the team only had two playoff appearances since making Camden home; who cares? The fact that the stadium used to host Iron Man is more than enough historical credibility.

    Score: 6

     

    Atmosphere: Camden Yards got the ball rolling in the retro ballpark trend. When ground broke in 1989, the park was the first to shift away from the multi-purpose stadium trend. It's the retro feel that makes a game at The Yard such an experience.

    Score: 9

     

    Tenants: The O's have the misfortune of being in the AL East with three powerhouses and a team on the rise in Toronto. They have hardly a chance to survive. A .500 record seems like a pipe dream for the team that finished 28 games out of first last year.

    Score: 2

     

    Distinct Features: While it's no longer considered original, Camden Yards was the first to take the retro park idea and run with it. I'm giving credit where credit is due and recognizing the park that started a trend.

    Score: 6

     

    Turnout: Attendance has been falling over the past three years. Twenty-first in 2009, Baltimore was 26th last year. Don't expect much of change in 2012.

    Score: 2

     

    Total Score: 25

18. Kauffman Stadium

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    Home of: Kansas City Royals

    Opened: 1973

    Capacity: 37,903

    History: There hasn't been much to talk about in The K in recent years, but the Royals did put on a few shows years ago. All six of the team's playoff berths came while playing at Kauffman, most notably the 1985 World Series run. Game 7 of the series was won in Kansas City, but the stadium was also home to the infamous Don Denkinger call in Game 6. Nolan Ryan christened the stadium by pitching the first of his seven no-hitters about a month into the stadium's life while a member of the Angels. 

    Score: 5 

     

    Atmosphere: I don't know; I just don't feel it. Nothing about Kauffman screams a special experience. This is just judging from pictures, and I obviously can't give a fair assessment until I ever set foot in the ballpark, but it's just not there.

    Score: 6

     

    Tenants: The Royals might have the youngest roster in the majors. The rookies are looking to get a hang of the ropes, looking to improve from a fourth-place finish in the Central from last year. A few more seasons of training and the team might be ready for a competitive push, but the pieces aren't there just yet.

    Score: 4

     

    Distinct Features: Look at that scoreboard! That thing's a masterpiece! Yeah, I know; it's a basic screen outfitted with the Royals logo, but the design is so unique that it separates Kauffman from the rest of the pack.

    Score: 9

     

    Turnout: Kansas City has been situated in the bottom six in attendance for the past three years. Odds are this trend will continue until the Royals can be taken seriously as contenders.

    Score: 2

     

    Total Score: 26 

17. Great American Ball Park

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    Home of: Cincinnati Reds

    Opened: 2003

    Capacity: 42,319

    History:  With the newer stadiums, I've attempted to look at the team's history within the stadium compared to their overall franchise history. Unfortunately, the Reds are a historically rich team that hasn't done much memorable in their new playground. They had a playoff berth in 2010, but that's it.

    Score: 1

     

    Atmosphere: It's the return of the water! As I said about PNC Park, stadiums on the water gain points in my atmosphere book...if I had an atmosphere book. The GABP is situated on the Ohio River and gives the same feel PNC did: a great place to catch a game.

    Score: 9

     

    Tenants: Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and company look to make a push in a now Pujols-free NL Central. It could be a three team free-for-all between the Reds, Cards and Brew Crew for the Central crown.

    Score: 5

     

    Distinct Features: There's a gap, appropriately named "The Gap" in the stands between home plate and third, allowing downtown views into the stadium. But the standout feature to me is the Riverboat Deck in dead center, a fake boat that serves as a private party area, but adds to the riverfront motif. There are also two smokestacks that shoot fireworks in celebration, adding to the theme.

    Score: 8

     

    Turnout: On a dramatic rise. The Reds were 27th in 2009, but scaled 11 spots over the next two season to 16th in 2011. Will the fans help Cincinnati jump higher up the ladder in 2012?  

    Score: 5

     

    Total Score: 28

16. Target Field

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    Home of: Minnesota Twins

    Opened: 2010

    Capacity: 39,504

    History: Target Field has only been open for two seasons, so history is hard to find. The Twins won the AL Central in their first year in their new home, but apart from that, there's nothing to write about.

    Score: 1

     

    Atmosphere: ESPN The Magazine conducted a survey in 2010, asking fans for their input in eight categories in order to rank every professional team playing in the United States (and Canada). Out of the 122 teams ranked, who was No. 1 overall in stadium experience? The Twinkies. They came in third last year behind Lambeau Field and another stadium we'll get to later on in this list. But it's clear the fans love Target Field.

    Then again, it's not hard to do better than the Hefty bag look of the Metrodome.  

    Score: 10

     

    Tenants: The Twins finished dead last in the Central last year, an atrocious 32 games out of first. To put that in perspective, only one team in the league was more games behind their respective division leader: the Astros. Detroit is a powerhouse this year, making winning the division very unlikely. The team will rely on the health of Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, who put together a decent end of spring, giving some bright spots for the team.

    Score: 4

     

    Distinct Features: In homage to the team's history, centerfield hosts a large Minnie and Paul, the franchise's original logo. The sign celebrates everything, whether a run, strikeout or victory. It's a nice touch that no other stadium has. Target Field also hosts the league's only bonfire, situated in the left field roof deck. 

    Score: 5

     

    Turnout: Since opening its doors, Target Field has had a dramatic increase of spectators than its predecessor. The Twins were 14th in the last year in the Metrodome. They climbed to sixth in 2010, then to fourth last season. Fans are making their ways to Twin games nowadays. 

    Score: 9 

     

    Total Score: 29 

15. Turner Field

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    Home of: Atlanta Braves

    Opened: 1997

    Capacity: 49,586

    History: The Braves won an incredible 11 consecutive NL East titles. The streak started in 1995, making nine of those 11 take place in The Ted. Yes, the 1996 Olympics were held here, but I'm sticking to baseball exclusive history.

    Score: 6

     

    Atmosphere: Turner Field is simple. And simple, in this case, is good. Very few stadiums give the feel of being part of the game as Turner Field does due in part to the relatively low, uniform height outfield wall. It makes the stadium feel open, which is always a plus.

    Score: 9

     

    Tenants: Apart from last year's collapse that removed them from playoff contention, the Braves are a competitive team. Maybe not up to Phillie standards, but their pitching is good enough to keep them in the thick of the wild card race all season long. The question mark is the offense.

    Score: 6

     

    Distinct Features: The problem with keeping Turner Field simple is exactly that: It's simple. There's nothing that makes The Ted stand out above its counterparts, yet its simplicity is unmatched by any other stadium in the league.

    Score: 3

     

    Turnout: Atlanta's been bouncing around in the mid-teens for the past three years when it comes to league attendance: 15th in 2009, 13th in '10, then back to 15th last year. Expect numbers to be around the same this year.

    Score: 5

     

    Total Score: 29


14. Coors Field

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    Home of: Colorado Rockies

    Opened: 1995

    Capacity: 50,490

    History: All three of the franchise's playoff berths came from Coors, including a World Series appearance in 2007. The Rockies themselves haven't been around that long, joining the league in 1993. The team doesn't have much history, but the history that it does have is tied in with Coors.

    Score: 4

     

    Atmosphere: Atmosphere is hard to come by in Colorado—literally. They don't call it Mile High for nothing. The city is elevated above sea level that air might be scarce, but the ballpark atmosphere is not. Missing outside the stadium is the commonplace city landscape with gigantic skyscrapers. Instead, Coors Field offers a cityscape with low buildings, allowing a game at sunset to be an incredible sight. 

    Score: 8

     

    Tenants: The question mark for the Rockies is the pitching staff. The only names familiar to people outside Colorado are Jhoulys Chacin for his fantasy value last year and Jaime Moyer, who was playing back when the Rocky Mountains were still hills.

    It was a disappointing season in 2011, and there are little expectations heading into the 2012 campaign. Should be interesting to see how far an offense can carry a team lacking an ace.

    Score: 5

     

    Distinct Features: Not exactly part of the stadium, but the elevation adds a new factor to the game. Baseballs tend to fly in Colorado. And fly. And fly some more. The walls are far back compared to the rest of the league, and balls are stored in a humidor in attempts to make the ball fly like it does everywhere else in the league. It helped, as home runs decreased, but the thin, dry air still plays a part in all games played in Coors.

    Score: 6

     

    Turnout: Colorado has been 12th, 10th and 11th in attendance in the past three years. How's that for consistency? 

    Score: 7

     

    Total Score: 30

13. Comerica Park

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    Home of: Detroit Tigers

    Opened: 2000

    Capacity: 41,255

    History: Quick; name me three pitchers that have thrown perfect games. Yeah, you get Buehrle cause I gave you him six slides ago, and you probably remember Roy Halladay from his spectacular feat in 2010, but I'm sure you can answer this next question quicker: Name a pitcher who lost a perfect game from a blown call. Oh yes, Armando Galarraga.

    The infamous event took place in Comerica in 2010 after Jim Joyce called a runner safe with two outs in the ninth. Let's be honest, had the runner been called out, you'd remember Galarraga for the rest of the season, and maybe into 2011. But because he was robbed of his historical event, we'll remember him for a lot longer as an interesting piece of baseball trivia. Yeah, Justin Verlander threw a no-no in 2007, but it's the perfect game that wasn't that makes Comerica historical.

    Score: 4

     

    Atmosphere: Say what you will about Detroit; Comerica Park separates itself from the rest of the city. I like the way this stadium looks, and it seems to be in a totally different place than the crime-ridden side of Detroit. It's another simple design, but it works.

    Score: 8

     

    Tenants: The Tigers face little adversity in the AL Central race this year. Not only will they run away with the crown, they have a team that can make a serious playoff push. It'll be fun to see how Prince Fielder adjusts to his new home. 

    Score: 10

     

    Distinct Features: Tiny things make Comerica all to itself. Detroit is one of two stadiums that features the keyhole, the strip of dirt between the mound and home plate. Does it do anything? No, but its rarity makes it an appealing sight. Comerica also has a fountain in center field that shoots water in celebration of a home run. Again, small things, but things nonetheless.

    Score: 4

     

    Turnout: The Tigers have been bouncing around the low teens for the past three years. They look to crack the top 10 with a lineup that is sure to bring fans to the park.

    Score: 6

     

    Total Score: 32

12. Dodger Stadium

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    Home of: Los Angeles Dodgers

    Opened: 1962

    Capacity: 56,000

    History: Dodger Stadium is one of baseball's oldest parks, and the history contained in it is countless. Eight pennants and four World Series won by the Dodgers. Ten no-hitters. The list goes on.

    Score: 9

     

    Atmosphere: Compared to fellow old parks Fenway and Wrigley, Dodger Stadium just hasn't seemed to age well. There's a fine line between classic and old, a line that Boston and Chicago have managed perfectly, while Los Angeles has fallen over on to the old side. The park, simply put, doesn't look good. Not that there's much they can do to spruce it up.

    I have a problem with the bland outfield wall, but maybe that's just me. Still, Dodger faithful make a game in L.A. an enjoyable one regardless.

    Score: 7

     

    Tenants: Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier highlight a team that isn't ready to compete for another division title. Arizona and San Francisco are too good to be followed closely by the Dodgers. They'll have moments, but nothing too threatening in this part of L.A.

    Score: 4

     

    Distinct Features: Well...it's old. I guess that's distinct. Dodger Stadium is a strictly business field, as in there's no "gimmicks" like in modern parks. So it's got that...I'm stretching for something to write about here.

    Score: 3

     

    Turnout: They might have fallen to 11th last year, but in 2009, the Dodgers had the league's highest attendance, and were third in 2010. The slip prevents a perfect 10 score, but the fans earn Dodger Stadium a high score regardless.

    Score: 9

     

    Total Score: 32

11. Rogers Centre

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    Home of: Toronto Blue Jays

    Opened: 1989

    Capacity: 49,260

    History: The Jays won both of their World Series titles in the confines of the Rogers Centre, although it was known as the SkyDome in those days. Four AL East titles were won in the SkyDome days, and while the Jays haven't been as successful in recent years as they were in the early '90s, the Centre was home to bright days in Toronto sports.

    Score: 6

     

    Atmosphere: I'm a sucker for retractable roofs. Not as much as for the waterfront, but when a retractable roof is done right, it's a masterpiece. Rogers Centre was done right. When open, the CN Tower looms from outside the right side bleachers. Unlike The Trop, the Rogers Centre still looks welcoming when enclosed by the roof. Maybe it's the lack of the overabundance of gray.

    Oh wait, we're in Canada now. Grey. Much better.

    Also, unlike the Trop, Rogers Centre uses artificial grass, which makes the field look better than the field in Tampa. Take notes, Rays management. It's an indoor stadium done right.

    Score: 8

     

    Tenants: The Jays have the misfortune of being in the AL East. Any other division, and they'd be first-place contenders for sure. But as good as this team is, the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays are in the top tier of the MLB that Toronto isn't quite at yet. They'll be a fun team to watch for sure, as they will continue to get better in hopes of making the East a four-team race.

    Score: 6

     

    Distinct Features: The Rogers Centre has a hotel built in it. Those windows in dead center? Hotel rooms. What a great experience that must be: the feel of a live baseball game from the comfort of a hotel room. The beds have to be more comfortable than the stadium seats. Rogers Centre was also the first stadium to have a fully retractable roof, but it's the hotel that gets the points here.

    Score: 10

     

    Turnout: Toronto was 22nd in attendance in 2009 and has fallen ever since. They posted the 25th-best last year. I guess the fans in Toronto aren't as crazy about their roof as I am. 

    Score: 3

     

    Total Score: 33

10. Busch Stadium

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    Home of: St. Louis Cardinals

    Opened: 2006

    Capacity: 43,975

    History: The Cardinals are one of baseball's most storied franchises, so it's hard for their home of six years to capture a good chunk of Redbird history. Busch brought home two World Series titles, including one just last year, but when compared to the team's other nine, it's a small footnote in the scheme of things.

    Score: 6

     

    Atmosphere: The St. Louis skyline is highlighted by the Gateway Arch, and it's hard to overlook it at Busch Stadium. The Arch dominates, creating an awesome sight at any Cardinals game.

    Score: 9

     

    Tenants: The good news? The Cards are defending World Series champions. The bad news? The manager and first baseman that led them there have left town. Chris Carpenter is out until who-knows-when, so there are a few unknowns for the Redbirds heading into 2012. 

    Score: 8

     

    Distinct Features: Busch has no aspects that make it stand out from a traditional ballpark. It's one of the several "retro-classic" parks in the league today, so unique features are not to be expected.

    Score: 1

     

    Turnout: After two consecutive years at fourth in league attendance, St. Louis fell to sixth last year. Not a huge fall, and Busch is always up among the tops in attendance.

    Score: 9

     

    Total Score: 33

9. Rangers Ballpark in Arlington

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    Home of: Texas Rangers

    Opened: 1994

    Capacity: 49,170

     

    History: All of the franchise's playoff appearances came once they got situated in Arlington, starting with a division title in '96. They've had deep runs in the past two years, but a championship has just been out of reach for the Rangers.

    Score: 5

     

    Atmosphere: Arlington just looks like a great place to catch a game—if the Texas heat is under control. The ballpark was received as a great stadium in its opening years, but there has been suggestions that a roof would would deal with the hot summer sun and help attract more free agents, namely pitchers. The park is still an awesome sight, but the hot hot heat deducts a point.

    Score: 8

     

    Tenants: The Rangers were knocking on the door of a World Series championship in 2010 and 2011. The Giants came out victorious two years ago, and the Cardinals got the better of Texas last season. Texas may have lost C.J. Wilson in the offseason, but Yu Darvish looks to make a splash in his major league debut. A third straight trip to the World Series is not out of the question.

    Score: 9

     

    Distinct Features: Rangers Ballpark has Greene's Hill beyond the centerfield wall. It serves as the batter's eye, providing contrast with a pitched baseball, allowing the batter to see it easier. The hill used to have the Rangers logo mowed into it, but that is no longer done. The "T"' was a nice touch, and it's a shame that it's not longer a part of the hill.

    Since 2010, Rangers flag girls run across the field whenever Texas plates a run, much akin to a football game. 

    Score: 7

     

    Turnout: You go to two consecutive World Series, and fans show up. Go figure. Seventeenth in 2009, Texas climbed to 10th last season. Another jump in attendance isn't out of the question for the 2012 campaign.

    Score: 6

    Total Score: 35

8. Chase Field

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    Home of: Arizona Diamondbacks

    Opened: 1998

    Capacity: 48,633

     

    History: Chase has been home to the D-Backs for their entire existence, starting when they joined the league in 1998. Three years into the league, Arizona became World Series champions, winning Game 7 at Chase Field in dramatic fashion. The image of Luis Gonzalez leaping into the air after dropping a single that barely reached the outfield off of Mr. Unhittable, Mariano Rivera, is one of baseball's greatest stillframes. It proved that even after winning four of the previous five World Series, the damn Yankees were not invincible. Thanks, Gonzo.

    Score: 8

     

    Atmosphere: The roof returns! Chase, like the Rogers Centre before it, has perfected the use of the retractable roof. When opened in '98, Arizona was the first stadium in the United States to feature such futuristic technology that gave Safeco and Minute Maid inspiration. The only problem is that it still is Arizona, and Arizona is hot. The stadium underwent a renovation to deliver air conditioning to all spectators so nobody, you know, collapses.

    Score: 7

     

    Tenants: Basement dwellers in 2010, Arizona was able to win the West behind 21-win Ian Kennedy. It has everything together to win the division for a second straight year.

    Score: 8

     

    Distinct Features: Well, here's the other keyhole I mentioned, but the real winner here is that Chase Field has a swimming pool. It's a part of a suite that goes for a whopping $3,500 a pop, but it's a swimming pool. In a baseball stadium. Unique!

    Score: 10

    Turnout: Attendance has been pretty constant for the past 3 years. Arizona was 19th in '09, 21st in '10, and 18th in '11. 

    Score: 4

     

    Total Score: 37

7. Miller Park

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    Home of: Milwaukee Brewers

    Opened: 2001

    Capacity: 41,900

    History: The Brew Crew hasn't had many memorable moments in Miller Park; in fact, more of the history in the stadium was made by the Cubs. In 2008, Hurricane Ike forced the Houston Astros to move their series against Chicago to Milwaukee, where Carlos Zambrano threw a no-hitter. It was the first, and so far only, no-hitter to be thrown on neutral soil. It might not be Brewer history, but history nonetheless.

    Score: 3

     

    Atmosphere: Wisconsin loves their sports. Well, they love their football and baseball. (Sorry, the Bucks haven't been relevant for years.) Miller Park seems like such an open and welcoming atmosphere, aided by the glass windows that allow sunshine to enter the stadium even if the roof is closed. Then again, when your team and ballpark are named after alcohol, I'm sure a few drinks makes everyone a little more relaxed.

    Score: 10

     

    Tenants: The Prince has left the building. Now that Fielder has left for Detroit, the Brewers will have a big gap in their offense. The pitching rotation is decent, so it will be the offense and, possibly more important, the defense that holds Milwaukee's future.

    Score: 7

     

    Distinct Features: What's that in left field? Is that a slide? Oh yeah, it's a slide. Every time the Brewers knock one over the wall, Bernie Brewer goes for a slide into the splash zone, sending water flying. And who can forget the sausage race? It's ridiculous, but it's enjoyably ridiculous.

    Score: 9

     

    Turnout: After a little slip in attendance ranking in 2010, Milwaukee bounced back in 2011, posting numbers good enough for a seventh-overall ranking. 

    Score: 8

     

    Total Score: 37

6. Yankee Stadium

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    Home of: New York Yankees

    Opened: 2009

    Capacity: 50,291

     

    History: Sorry, Yanks, you're not getting points that easily. The Bronx Bombers made the playoffs in all three of their years in the new Yankee Stadium, which is good and all, until you remember it's the Yankees and they've had a bajillion other playoff berths. Yes, a World Series was won in the new home, but it was No. 27. Those things stop being special once you eclipse the 15 mark. Maybe it's the bitter Mets fan in me that just typed that out, I don't know.

    What I do know is that compared to the franchise's history, Yankee Stadium Part Deux holds a very small portion.

    Score: 4

     

    Atmosphere: OK, Yanks; maybe you are getting points that easily. It's Yankee Stadium. I don't know if there is a more popular stadium in the country. You go to Yankee Stadium, you'll get the ballpark experience. As much as it pains me to write that.

    Score: 10

     

    Tenants: It's the New York Yankees. The team that is capable of winning the title every damn year. Moving on.

    Score: 10

     

    Distinct Features: I'll give credit where credit is due. I really do like the frieze in the upper-deck seats. It's a simple design, but it's symbolic of the Yankees that makes the ballpark it's own. But that's about as far as it goes when it comes to standout features.

    Score: 4

     

    Turnout: Again, it's the Yankees we're talking about here. Their fanbase is crazy enough to go to the stadium regardless of how insane the ticket prices might be. They are always in the top three of attendance, more often than not being in the No. 1 spot.

    Score: 10

     

    Total Score: 38

5. Wrigley Field

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    Home of: Chicago Cubs

    Opened: 1914

    Capacity: 41,159

    History: I don't have the time or the stamina to write about everything that's happened in Wrigley. Yeah, the Cubs really haven't won anything in a good 100-plus years, but think about all those "This is gonna be the year!" that ended up not being the year. I'm sorry if I rubbed salt on wounds, Chicago. I hope the score makes up for it.

    Score: 10

     

    Atmosphere: Like I said in the U.S. Cellular Field slide, Chicago is a great sports city. The fans love their teams, even if they break their hearts over and over and over again. A game at Wrigley is an experience that few stadiums can replicate.

    Score: 10

     

    Tenants: And here's where having the Cubs hurt. Theo Epstein is now in control, but the Cubbies aren't ready to make a playoff push just yet. But on the bright side, they aren't the Astros.

    Score: 3

     

    Distinct Features: When you think of Wrigley, you think of the ivy. The outfield walls are brick, but it's rarely seen as ivy is used as padding instead of typical...well, padding. Wrigley is also home to a hand-turned scoreboard, a rarity in today's technologically-advanced society. It's a refreshing site to look at Wrigley and see fully functioning evidence of the past.

    Score: 10

     

    Turnout: Give Cub fans credit. They show up regardless of how the team plays. Chicago is always in the top 10 of attendance, but the top five is always just out of reach. But the Cubs faithful are, for lack of a better word, faithful

    Score: 8

     

    Total Score: 41

4. Citizens Bank Park

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    Home of: Philadelphia Phillies

    Opened: 2004

    Capacity: 43,651

     

    History: The Phils have successfully doubled their World Series titles in Citizens Bank Park by winning it all in 2008. The Phillies also have the honor of being the first professional sports team to lose 10,000 games, an event that took place in Philadelphia in 2007. Yeah, I had to throw that one in. Numerous playoff berths have come from Citizens Bank, as the Phillies have dominated the NL East since moving in. 

    Score: 8

    Atmosphere: I'm not doubting that a game at Citizens Bank is an enjoyable experience, but it's hard to overlook that it is Philadelphia. The City of Brotherly Love that isn't so brotherly. Philly fans are known to be among the toughest fanbases in sports because they are unruly.

    The bottom line is this: If you're a Phillies fan, you'll have a great time. If not, keep your team's jersey at home if you want to stay alive.

    Score: 8

     

    Tenants: The Phils have the best rotation in baseball, bar none. They have been NL favorites for the past few years and have a decent chance of returning to the World Series if they can overcome numerous injuries, namely Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.

    Score: 10

    Distinct Features: The Phillies have used the Liberty Bell as a symbol for years, and have incorporated it into the stadium. Every homer prompts the mechanical replica of the Bell to "ring" and light up. Small touch, but it's Philly's own.

    Score: 5

     

    Turnout: Philly has made the climb from third to first in the past three seasons, which isn't surprising when Halladay, Hamels and Lee are bringing fans to the stadium. With the greatest pitching show on dirt, expect the Phils to be right near the top in 2012 attendance.

    Score: 10

     

    Total Score: 41 

3. Angel Stadium of Anaheim

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    Home of: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Southern California of the Pacific Coast of the United States (the LAAASCPCUS for short)

    Opened: 1966

    Capacity: 45,389

     

    History: Angel Stadium has been home to many historical moments in baseball. Six ALDS. Six ALCS. The 2002 World Series over the state rivals in San Francisco. Reggie Jackson's 500th homer. Rod Carew's and George Brett's 3,000th hits. The list goes on and on.

    Score: 10

     

    Atmosphere: Anaheim is home to Disneyland, so of course it's going to be a welcoming atmosphere. Or that's what I'm guessing. It looks nice, and that's good enough for me.

    Score: 8

     

    Tenants: Well, the Angels do have new toys in Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. However, the West is still home to the Rangers. These two teams are among the five best teams in the league, so the division could come down to the wire. 

    Score: 9

     

    Distinct Features: Angel Stadium hosts the "California Spectacular," but people outside of Anaheim refer to it as the rocks in left-center. The area has geysers, fireworks and a stream that give the park a unique feel. 

    Score: 6

     

    Turnout: The Angels have been fifth in attendance for the last three years. What can be said but Anaheim loves their baseball?

    Score: 9

     

    Total Score: 42

2. Fenway Park

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    Home of: Boston Red Sox

    Opened: 1911

    Capacity: 37,493

    History: Fenway is the oldest park in the league, and as such, it's impossible to list all of its historical moments. I'm going to give it the 10 and move along.

    Score: 10

     

    Atmosphere: Like Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park promises the ballpark experience that very few ballparks can deliver nowadays. As long as you aren't wearing pinstripes, Fenway will be an enjoyable time.

    Score: 10

     

    Tenants: It's hard to overlook that collapse that happened last year in Boston, but the team is still competitive. They sort of have to be to survive in the beast that is the AL East. Bobby Valentine steps in as manager this year in hopes of putting the Sox back on track.

    Score: 9

     

    Distinct Features: The Green Monster. The gigantic left field wall is an iconic image in baseball that taunts hitters with its massive height. It's always a spectacle seeing a hitter power one over the monster. The park also hosts "The Triangle" in center, a strange triangle cut in the wall that makes fielding a ball of the wall a challenge. Fenway also has a hand operated scoreboard, which really separates it from the pack.

    Score: 9

     

    Turnout: Boston has held firm at eighth in attendance for the past three years, a little interesting in my opinion. Not that eighth is an unimpressive rank, but I figured the Sox would be in the top five at least once in the past decade, which isn't so.

    Score: 7

     

    Total Score: 45 

1. AT&T Park

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    Home of: San Francisco Giants

    Opened: 2000

    Capacity: 41,915

    History: It's hard to stand out in Giant history with the incredible past they had in New York. Since making the move to San Francisco in 1958, the success of the East Coast times was hard to come by. The Giants made a few playoff appearances in their original San Fran home at Candlestick Park, but a World Series wasn't in the cards until 2010 in AT&T. It was the team's sixth title, but the first in California, putting the team in the state's sports history book.

    Barry Bonds also called AT&T home, where he broke many a home run record. Whether or not you believe he deserves the records is another story, but AT&T has a lot of history in its walls. 

    Score: 9

     

    Atmosphere: So remember how Target Field was named the No. 3 stadium experience in North America behind Lambeau and a mystery stadium to be named later? Mystery solved. I don't need to explain why I love this stadium; you can tell just from the presence of water that I'd be a fan. But the fans are fans, and that makes it even better,

    Score: 10

     

    Tenants: Well, the pitching is good. The Giants' downfall last year was offense, driving in an NL-worst 570 runs. On the other side of the coin, they gave up the second-least amount of runs in all of baseball, only behind Philly. The bats need to come alive if San Francisco wants to return to the playoffs.

    Score: 8

     

    Distinct Features: Yes, several stadiums are on the water, but no stadium incorporates it like AT&T. McCovey Cove is a staple of the park, as fans sit in San Francisco Bay in kayaks waiting for home runs to splash in the water. In left is the iconic giant Coke bottle and glove. I'll be completely honest, I don't know why they're there, but it's certainly AT&T's own.

    Score: 10

     

    Turnout: After making a tiny jump from 10th to ninth in 2010, San Fran scaled all the way to third in 2011. A huge part of that probably being coming of the World Series win, but it's a jump nonetheless. Whether the numbers fall back to 2010 numbers or stay up like last year is an interesting question.

    Score: 8

     

    Total Score: 45