Today's 30-Second Read: Top 10 Ballpark Gimmicks

Glenn DarbySenior Analyst IMarch 27, 2008

What gets you out to the game?  What makes you fly across country just to see a team/stadium?  After traveling to about half of the ballparks in this country (and lusting after the other half), I think I have found the secret to success.

10. Fireworks—Nothing draws the fans quite like post-game fireworks. We make a trip to L.A. every year to sit on the grass in Dodger Stadium and watch the Fourth of July show.

 9. T-shirt toss—Just about every stadium does this.  Colorado shot them via sling shot, which was the first time I had ever seen people in the upper deck catch something from the field level (baseballs included).

8. Mascots—Some are quite clever (Wally the Green Monster, for one), and some (like D. Baxter the Bobcat) make me cringe but the kids seem to love them, and whatever junior wants, junior gets.

7. History—The more famous the park, the more people want to go.  Wrigley and Fenway don't compare much to PNC and SafeCo, but both seem to be more beautiful and more important than any HOK construction.

6. Great fans—If you are not a Yankee fan, you dread going to Yankee Stadium.  The fans are rude and drunk. 

I got into a fight on my honeymoon with some drunk Yankee fan because I was wearing Dbacks gear.  Great fans like in St. Louis and Boston who harass the opposing team's players and fans without being vulgar or throwing punches make hometown fans smile and out of towners appreciate the rivalry.

5. Food—I can't say it enough, but ballpark delicacies like those found in San Fran, Seattle, and Baltimore really make the game fun.  Sometimes, I want something local and different.

4. Running food/presidents—Sausages, pierogi, Tomas Jefferson, Miss Taco, etc ... all are insanely stupid but the crowd is never more aware at a Brewers game than when the sausages are running down the line.

3. Stadium Quality—Well-built parks make me want to fly 2,000 miles to see them. Camden Yards was one of the tops on my list.  Turner Field was one I should have ignored.

2. Quality of Play—For some reason, there are teams that, no matter how good they are, they can't sell out and there are teams that lose every year (*cough* Cubs *cough*) and still sell out.. But, despite that, you want to see a winner on the field.

1. Bobbleheads—I thought this craze was over but these games still double the draw in places like Pittsburgh and Arizona.  The wind-up-walker is the next big craze, though, just wait and see.