Major League Baseball: Top 10 Ballparks
Marlins Park is new this season
Baseball parks are part of the fabric of America. They are summer-time destinations that are filled with family memories and offer the cherished opportunity to root for your team in person.
With the addition of Marlins Park this year and the opening of Target Field in 2010 and the two New York ballparks in 2009, it is time to get a better look at the 10 best ballparks.
10. Coors Field
Coors Field is located in the great LoDo neigborhood (http://blog.foodservicewarehouse.com/Wine-and-Dine/tag/coors-field/)
Rocky Mountain views and its location in the surrounding LoDo neighborhood bring Coors Field into the countdown at No. 10.
Before the humidor became part of the daily routine at this ballpark, football scores were being put up on the scoreboard in a park that was fueled by offense. Being a mile high (5,280 feet) above sea level in a comfortable park with the large scoreboard-laden right-field wall makes this a great experience.
Can’t miss food choice: The Rockie Dog, a foot-long Hebrew National hot dog covered with grilled peppers, sauerkraut and onions and a Right Field Red Beer.
9. Safeco Field
Safeco Field has the charm in its Sodo location (http://scarletpinstripesonsports.wordpress.com/2011/07/12/safeco-field-seattle-mariners/)
This is a beautiful ballpark located in the Sodo area of Seattle. It offers sunset views of both the Puget Sound and Seattle skyline.
The retractable roof is a necessity for a stadium in Seattle. The layout blows the old Kingdome out of the water.
Although there is not one defining feature, it has a clean and crisp feel to it with no bad sight-lines. It has the Bullpen Market beyond the left-field fence that is a nod to Pike Place Market. The market carries an assortment of sushi, egg rolls, Teriyaki, barbecue, hot dogs and garlic fries.
Can’t miss food choice: The Ivar Dog and a chocolate shake from Kidd Valley.
8. Citizens Bank Park
Citizens Bank Park took over for Veterans Stadium (http://www.baseballpilgrimages.com/national/philadelphia.html)
The Liberty Bell comes to life after every home run in this lively ballpark that is surrounded by Lincoln Financial Field and the Wells Fargo Center.
This is the home of the major Philadelphia sports teams. The most famous area is Ashburn Alley, where people can get a look at both bullpens, eat Philly-type concessions, enjoy significant moments in Phillies history and get clear views to the playing field.
There are four 10-foot tall bronze sculptures of Phillies legends Richie Ashburn, Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton and Robin Roberts. Don’t forget to stop by Harry the K’s, named in honor of legendary broadcaster Harry Kalas.
Can’t miss food choice: A Tony Luke’s cheese steak with a Flying Fish Extra Pale Ale.
7. Yankee Stadium
The new Yankee Stadium has taken over New York (http://www.ballparksofbaseball.com/al/YankeeStadium.htm)
Yes, it is the new Yankee Stadium and not the House that Ruth Built, but it still has that Yankee charm and history associated with the team that has won the most World Series.
This is a re-creation of the old stadium. It has all of the bells and whistles to make Yankees fans happy.
Monument Park was relocated from the old stadium, so you can still pay homage to Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio. If you are a true baseball fan, you have to make the pilgrimage to Yankee Stadium during your lifetime.
The major complaint here is that everything is too expensive.
Can’t miss food choice: Lobel's prime beef sandwich and a “Mo”jito (named after Mariano Rivera) at Tommy Bahama’s bar.
6. Target Field
Twins fans love the outdoor Target Field (http://vesphoto.net/2010/target-field-baseballs-new-look-in-the-twin-cities/)
Nestled on the edge of downtown, Target Field is the outdoor park Twins fans have craved for years.
Once you enter through the center-field gates and get to your seats, the figurines of “Minne” and “Paul,” the original logo of the Twin Cities, dominate. They light up and shake hands when the home club goes yard.
Don’t worry about the weather here because when it starts to get cold, the left-field sanctuary has cozy fire pits with brilliant views of the Minneapolis skyline.
The limestone décor is this park’s signature trait. There are numerous bars and restaurants. The Twins did this park right.
Can’t miss food choice: A Murray’s steak sandwich and a Killebrew root beer.
5. Fenway Park
Fenway Park and the Green Monster are iconic to fans (http://www.redsoxvyankees.com/fenway-park.html)
The Green Monster celebrates its 100th anniversary as probably the most iconic landmark in baseball. Besides the addition of the seats to the top of the Green Monster, this stadium has remained in the same style and shape since it was built.
The hand-operated scoreboard is a true classic. So is the red-painted seat in the right-field bleachers that signifies the landing spot of the longest home run (by Ted Williams in 1946).
The Pesky Pole is the right-field foul pole, the CITGO sign sits behind the Green Monster, and “Sweet Caroline” is traditionally sung in the bottom of the eighth inning.
This is Boston. Don't change it.
Can’t miss food choice: A Fenway Frank and a Harpoon IPA.
4. Wrigley Field
Wrigley Field and its ivy are a tradition no one should pass up
Wrigley Field is arguably the most iconic of all stadiums.
The ivy still grows on the outfield walls and the scoreboard is still hand-operated. The Harry Caray tradition of singing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” is still observed, and many local legends and famous stars have tried to take on that task.
The outside of the stadium is adorned with statues saluting Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Ron Santo and Caray, along with the famous red marquee, "Wrigley Field, Home of the Chicago Cubs.''
Yes, the Cubs have not won the World Series in more than 100 years, but this ballpark is a true slice of Americana. Every fan has to make at least one journey to Wrigley.
Can’t miss food choice: Chicago-style hot dog and an Old Style beer.
3. PNC Park
PNC Park sits right on the Allegheny River (http://jdbaseball.com/pictures/pittsburgh-pirates/pnc-park.htm)
The Roberto Clemente Bridge is the trademark landmark that can seen in the distance from PNC Park.
This gem of a ballpark was built for the lovable losing Pirates, who are finally looking to post their first winning season since Barry Bonds left after the 1992 season.
PNC Park is cozy. The most distant seat is only 88 feet from the field.
Fans are treated to beautiful views of the Pittsburgh skyline and the Allegheny River, where fans wait in boats for a stray ball (similar to the McCovey Cove in San Francisco). The right-field wall rises 21 feet in honor of the late Clemente, who was a fixture in right field until his untimely passing.
Once the Pirates start winning consistently, this will be the place to be seen.
Can’t miss food choice: A Primanti Brothers sandwich with an Iron City beer.
2. Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Oriole Park at Camden Yards set the new trend in ballparks (http://www.city-data.com/picfilesc/picc47027.php)
Oriole Park at Camden Yards set the standard for the modern-day retro park. Nobody blends the classic elegance with a modern twist like Camden Yards.
It was constructed over an old railroad station and sits in the downtown area next to the Ravens stadium, M&T Bank Stadium. The striking feature of Oriole Park is the right-field wall with the B&O Warehouse in the background, sitting right on Eutaw Street.
Eutaw Street is a thoroughfare of shops and restaurants that is a happening place between innings. It's the place where fans grab the Maryland crab-cake sandwiches, Boog’s (Boog Powell) Barbecue and beers.
The sight lines are great. It is a must place to visit.
Can’t miss food choice: Boog’s pit-beef sandwich and a Dogfish Head 60-Minute IPA.
1. AT&T Park
AT&T has the best location and amenities period (http://sanfrancisco.diarystar.com/att-park/)
PacBell Park, SBC Park and finally AT&T Park have been its names, but McCovey Cove, the “Splash Hits” and the breathtaking views of San Francisco Bay make AT&T the best park in America.
Along with the progressive Giants marketing department and a location near Silicon Valley, the Giants try and give you everything and make you feel at home. Enhanced by the Giants relatively recent 2010 World Series title, the Giants sell out AT&T park almost every night, but tickets are still attainable.
The field seats are great. But if you want a view of McCovey Cove, the Bay Bridge and the Oakland Coliseum, I would advise sitting in the second deck looking out toward right field.
Other attractions in the park include the Giant Coca-Cola bottle slide, the 26-feet high by 30-feet wide baseball glove and the little Giants field.
If you can’t get in, venture to the south side right-field wall and get a peek through one of the four portholes.
The only complaint here is parking. You better get here early enough to get a spot or you can hop on the fan-friendly Muni transit system.
Can’t miss food choice: Orlando’s (named after Giants great Orlando Cepeda) Cha-Cha Bowl, an order of Gilroy garlic fries and a Speakeasy Prohibition Ale.
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