Mickey Mantle once said that playing 18 seasons at Yankee Stadium was the best thing that could have ever happened to a ball player. Unfortunately, that Yankee Stadium that Mantle referred to was torn down and rebuilt with a luxury boxes, club seats, and where for $5, you can see half of the stadium.
With the exception of a handful of ball clubs, most teams are now playing in new state of the art stadiums. Although they may be more appealing, in terms of actual baseball field, some are a far cry from their counterpart, like Old versus New Yankee stadium.
My personal favorite baseball field of all-time is quite simply known as "The Jake", which didn't make the cut, but the following five Major League ball parks listed did. These, in my opinion, are the five best current ball parks in all of Major League Baseball, with explanation.
Camden Yards may simple be known as the "baseball stadium with the warehouse".
When I think of Camden Yards, I think of the 1994 baseball classic film, Major League 2, which was filmed entirely at the Baltimore Orioles Park. Who can forget the scene of Pedro Serrano running to the outfield to tend to a bird he nailed with a line drive ball, only to be tagged out before the tying run crossed home plate?
Camden is also home to the night that Orioles' short-stop Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive games played streak at 2,131.
Overall, Camden is what a ball park is supposed to be. Beautiful, appealing, fan friendly, and above all, a baseball park first and foremost.
Without a doubt, PNC Park has the most beautiful skyline in all of Major League Baseball.
Behind the ball park is the Allegheny River and the bridge connecting the ball park to downtown Pittsburgh was renamed the Roberto Clemente bridge, in honor of the great Pittsburgh Pirate himself.
While seating just under 38,500, making it the second smallest park in the Major Leagues, PNC Park makes up for it with it's appeasing skyline view of downtown Pittsburgh and affordable tickets. For just under $20, you can enjoy a seat in the right field section where directly behind, sits the Allegheny River.
The right field fence stands 21-feet high, in honor of Roberto Clemente who wore No. 21 while the left field fence stands just 6-feet high, very reminiscent of Dodger stadium.
PNC Park is the kind of ball park that teams considering building a new ball park, should look for ideas from. It's beautiful and incorporates its general surrounding nicely to make it one of the best looking stadiums in all of baseball.
The San Diego Padres, like the Baltimore Orioles, kept a warehouse structure and incorporated it into the overall design of the baseball park. In left field stands sits the Western Metal Building, which was originally scheduled to be demolished when Petco was being built. Instead, it was renovated and holds suites, the team store, restaurant, and rooftop seating.
In the right-center field is an entire section where fans can pay to lay down and watch a baseball game. What a concept! Known as the "Park at the Park" section, fans pay $5 and can lay or sit down in a sandy beach type section or sit in the bleacher section, directly behind the sand box.
Overall, Petco Park is the kind of baseball stadium worth going to just because of the eye-candy it has.
The first ever World Baseball Classic was played at Petco Park.
Simply known for "The Green Monster", Fenway Park is the oldest and smallest Major League ballpark today.
The history of the stadium itself was always second fiddle to Yankee Stadium in terms of nostalgia and history, but once Yankee Stadium was torn down, Fenway became the new iconic stadium.
From The Green Monster, to the Citgo sign behind the Green Monster, to the John Hancock signature above the score board in Center field, to Pesky's Pole in right field, to Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline being sung in the 8th inning, Fenway is the kind of stadium you visit just to say you were there.
There is no shortage to the history of Fenway stadium.
Even if you don't know much about baseball, you've heard the name Wrigley. Not just from the chewing gum, but for the generation that grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, Wrigley Field was the one stadium featured in classic films such as Ferris Bueller's Day Off, A League of Their Own, and Disney's Rookie of the Year.
Everything about Wrigley Field is iconic, but the ivy covered walls in the outfield are Wrigley Stadium. They are to Wrigley what the Green Monster is to Fenway Park.
The rooftop seats across from the street from Wrigley Field have also become iconic to the park. Although they are not counted as part of the official attendance, a settlement with the Chicago Cubs allowed the seats to continue to be used with accessible view to the playing field.
Home run blasts can often catch the net above the ivy, or if you're Albert Pujols, can end up in the front lawn of someone's house just down the street from Wrigley Field.
Then of course, there is the 7th inning stretch, filled with celebrity shoe-ins to help sing "Take me out to the ball game", only instead of "root root root for the home team", it's "root root root for the Cubbies".
Everybody at some point in their life, is a Cubbie, and if you could only visit one baseball park in your lifetime, Wrigley field is that park.