This assignment was simple and short: Where does Wrigley Field rank among MLB ballparks?
The answer is equally simple and short: No. 1.
As a Cubs fan, it would be sacrilege to even consider another ballpark as superior. The history here, in baseball and football, and the players that have plied their trade in the Friendly Confines are both unparalleled.
Some of the newer ballparks are able to capture the history of the MLB. But there is only one ballpark in all of America, not just the MLB, which has actually seen and experienced more sporting history than Wrigley Field.
Are there deficiencies with the nearly 100-year-old ballpark? Sure. But do you love your grandparents any less just because their joints creak, their dentures fall out or they sometimes create strange sounds and smells? No.
These new-fangled stadiums might have 100-inch LCD monitors littered through their grandiose concourses, and offer fine dining food options at even finer dining prices and have museums dedicated to the ballparks they are replacing, all to “enhance” the experience of visiting the ballpark. But Wrigley Field has…Wrigley Field.
It has the ivy that cannot be found in any other stadium. It has the brick that others have copied to give their ballparks a false patina. Wrigley Field’s green grass is an oasis amidst a concrete jungle.
Sure, there have been some recent horrible alterations to the ballpark: The “Green Monster-ing” of the right field bleachers; the renovation of the old center field shrubbery into a moneymaking bleacher suite; the application of corporate sponsorship signs in right- and left-center fields, by the bullpen and behind home plate. And compared to other ballparks across the MLB, Wrigley Field is still considered “behind the times” for modernity.
Yet to some, “classic” is a more appropriate designation for Wrigley Field.
Wrigley Field smells like a ballpark, sounds like a ballpark and looks like a ballpark. It is the epitome of a ballpark.
At Wrigley Field, you can look around and see the images of eras past. The crowd dressed in attire we now consider “Sunday best”, Hack Wilson smashing the cover off of the ball, Ron Santo clicking his heels running down the third base line, Mark Grace hitting one of his 511 career doubles (49th in MLB history) for one of his 1,754 hits in the 1990s (the most in that decade).
Wrigley Field is a special ballpark. It's a place where dads bring their children to sit in the same seats that they sat in with their fathers, and that their fathers sat in with their fathers in turn. It is a place where memories are born and live an infinite life.
That is why Wrigley Field is the best ballpark in the world.