MLB Power Rankings: Is Wrigley Field Number One? Rating All 30 Team Stadiums

Collin BerglundCorrespondent IIIMarch 29, 2011

MLB Power Rankings: Is Wrigley Field Number One? Rating All 30 Team Stadiums

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    Baseball stadiums bring about a sense of nostalgia, and all 30 teams in the MLB have unique ballparks that showcase what each city brings to the table.

    Tradition, comfort, ticket price and aesthetic appeal combine to create a unique ballpark in each city that plays host to an MLB team.  Every person prioritizes different criteria when evaluating a ballpark. 

    Baseball is different from other sports.  The ballparks have an impact on the game...the Green Monster in left field at Fenway, the baggie in right field at Citizens Bank Park, the hill at Minute Maid Park, the home runs flying out of Coors Field -- each contributes to the experience at each ballpark.

    Each idiosyncrasy gives the ballpark character, and in these rankings, they will be treated as a positive.  Everyone has their own likes and dislikes in a ballpark, comment below with your own.

30. Tropicana Field

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    The worst place to play baseball in the MLB is Tropicana Field.  The Tampa Bay Rays have tried to leave and get a new stadium countless times, to no avail.  

    The population of Florida has an aging population, and even with the Rays' success in recent years, crowds are slow to form and show little emotion when they do.

    Tropicana Field has a dome with a pattern on it that often looks to outfielders like a million baseballs.  They lose the ball in the roof.  The catwalk has ridiculous rules that could turn a pop fly into a double.

    These are not fun idiosyncrasies -- they fundamentally change the results of games based on technicalities.

29. Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

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    The Oakland-Alameda Coliseum is in a bad part of Oakland and the Athletics have been playing there since the 1960s.

    The Oakland Raiders also play there.  Football fields do not convert well to baseball stadiums.  Many of the seats leave ticketholders with poor views of the field.  

    Local politics have prevented the city from coming up with money for a new stadium, but Athletics fans are in dire need of new digs.

28. Sun Life Stadium

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    Sun Life Stadium is another stadium that hosts baseball and football games.  The seats are orange for the Dolphins and are all too noticeable when the seats are empty (which they often are) for the non-orange Marlins.

    The seats also mostly point toward centerfield instead of home plate.

    Like Tampa Bay, the Florida team struggles to draw baseball fans from an older demographic.  

27. Rogers Centre

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    Begin to notice the theme: football fields (also home to the Toronto Argonauts) do not play well as baseball fields.  Blue Jays fans don't get the ballpark vibe from the Rogers Centre.

    Domes are great for weather, but they take something away from the baseball atmosphere.  Toronto might be cold and snow often, but what is gained in convenience is lost in the atmosphere.

    Toronto fans rarely show up to games, coming in 27th in attendance per game in 2010.

26. U.S. Cellular Field

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    Although they have won a World Series title more recently, the Chicago White Sox play second fiddle to the Chicago Cubs in the city.

    U.S. Cellular Field plays second fiddle to the historic Wrigley Field.  White Sox fans like their field, and it is not as bad as the previous stadiums on the list.  

    But it is non-descript -- nothing really separates it from any of the stadiums above it, and some fans who have attended games said the field was dirty.

25. Chase Field

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    The Diamondbacks struggle to fill Chase Field because of expensive tickets and a mediocre team.  The stadium is in the middle of Phoenix and can be tough to park.

    Stadiums with domes can take away from the game experience, and Chase Field might have the roof closed on a perfectly sunny day.  

    Created in 1998 with a capacity of nearly 50,000 people, Chase Field often struggles to fill even half of its seats.

24. Great American Ballpark

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    Despite its name, the Cincinnati Reds new ballpark is not as great as the Reds would have you believe.  

    Created in 2003, fans often have to navigate a poorly-designed, crowded parking lot to get into a less-than stellar MLB ballpark.  

    Even so, Great American Ballpark serves fans at a reasonable price.  Prior to the 2009 season, the Reds had the fourth best value according to the Fan Cost Index (FCI).

23. Rangers Ballpark in Arlington

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    Created in 1994, the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is just another ballpark.  Nothing particularly stands out for the Texas Rangers field, except the unmanageable heat during summer, afternoon games.

    It also is difficult to get to through public transportation and has few nightlife options for fans after the game.

    The ballpark does have a Legends of the Game museum which takes artifacts on loan from Cooperstown to display for fans.  

22. Miller Park

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    According to one Brewers fan, the roof at the Brewers' ballpark leaks and it gets exceedingly hot inside at times when the roof is closed because there is no air conditioning.

    That being said, Miller Park is unique because of a slide in left field that Bernie the Brewer slides down after home runs and victories.  There is also a sausage race every game where people dressed in sausage costumes run around the outfield.

    The Milwaukee culture is represented during the 7th inning stretch -- after Take Me Out to the Ballgame, the speakers play the Beer Barrel Polka.

21. Kaufmann Stadium

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    Kaufmann Stadium was built in 1973.  In 2009, the stadium made changes that were aimed toward creating a more intimate setting.  

    By reducing its capacity to 39,000 and adding terraces looking upon the outfield fountains, the Royals have been working toward making a more fan-friendly experience at their ballpark.

    Kansas City is also home of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, an attraction any baseball fan should be sure to check out.

20. Angel Stadium of Anaheim

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    One of the oldest ballparks in baseball (the Angels moved in in 1966), Angel Stadium has the third cheapest game experience, according to the FCI in 2009.  

    Located in suburban Anaheim, Angel Stadium is near Disneyland and little else.  The boulders beyond the centerfield wall make the stadium recognizable to fans watching games from home.

19. Comerica Park

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    A number of teams began playing in new stadiums in the 1990s, and a 90s stadium is easily distinguishable from a ballpark built in any other decade.  Comerica Park was built in the 1990s (the Tigers began playing there in the 2000 season).  

    The problem is instead of the scenes of the St. Louis arch or San Francisco Bay bay beyond the outfield walls, Comerica looks out upon a parking garage in downtown Detroit.

    Comerica Park also takes a tradition from Yankee Stadium's Monument Park -- beyond its left field wall, there are statues of six former Tigers.

18. Progressive Field

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    More famously known by its former name of Jacobs Field, the ballpark sold out every game between 1995 and 2000.  Located in downtown Cleveland, there are numerous pre and post game options for Indians fans of all ages.

    The glory days in Cleveland are as gone as the record-setting atmosphere of the late 1990s.  In 2010, the Indians had the worst attendance per game of any major league team averaging less than 18,000 people per game.

17. Turner Field

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    Another one of the 1990s stadiums, Turner Field was originally created as the centerpiece of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

    After the games, the park was converted into a new baseball field for the Braves.  Turner Field was built next to the Fulton County Stadium, the Braves' old ballpark.  

    Part of the old left field wall Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run remains outside Turner Field.

16. Minute Maid Park

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    Minute Maid Park is a unique stadium with tons of character.  Replacing the Astrodome -- and it's notoriously dangerous Astroturf -- Minute Maid Park was an immediate improvement for the Houston Astros.

    The left field design and hill in the outfield give the park features few other parks provide.  In 2010, Houston came in sixteenth at average game attendance.

    It also has a retractable roof, which can be useful for weather -- if used in moderation.

15. Yankee Stadium

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    The new Yankee Stadium is one of the newest stadiums in the game.  It has outstanding amenities and the most modern technology.

    And yet some things are missing -- the history, intimacy and atmosphere of the old stadium.

    The price of watching a game at Yankee Stadium can be prohibitive for good seats.  This is true of many teams higher on the list of ballparks, but Yankee Stadium does not sell out all of its games.  

    The stadium is too big to have empty seats and still maintain an exciting atmosphere.  While the old Yankee Stadium was one of the best ballparks in the game, the new stadium is a poor imitation.

14. Dodger Stadium

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    The third-oldest ballpark in baseball was completed in 1962.  It has seen Sandy Koufax no-hitters, played host to a Beatles concert and acted as a makeshift church for a mass given by Pope John Paul II.

    As far as history goes, few parks can compete with Dodger Stadium.  Despite its $5 hot dogs (the most expensive in baseball in 2009), the Dodgers had the third-highest attendance per game in 2010 and the game atmosphere makes a game at Dodger Stadium a necessity for any baseball fan.

    The seats are very close to the field and the possibility of a celebrity-sighting makes any game exciting.

13. Safeco Field

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    Completed in 1999, Safeco Field is the home of the Seattle Mariners and the Sea Dog -- a hot dog style delicacy made of fried cod.

    Safeco is also home to one of the most recognizable retractable roofs in the game.  The roof is unique in that it does not create a dome when it is up, rather an almost umbrella for fans in the stands.

    Safeco is a prototypical 1990s ballpark.

12. Citi Field

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    The Mets' ballpark is one of the newest stadiums in baseball.  Opening in 2009, Citi Field has a modern feel to it with an enormous Jumbotron and a variety of restaurants.

    Citi Field also pays homage to baseball's history, by making all of its seats green like the Polo Grounds and by making the outside reminiscent of Ebbets Field.

    The Mets' field also took influences from their old stomping grounds, Shea Stadium, most noticeably by using orange foul poles, the only non-yellow foul poles in the MLB.

11. Busch Stadium

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    With the famous arch looming over its outfield walls, Busch Stadium is nicely integrated with the city of St. Louis.

    Created in 2006, the stadium might be best known for a famous statue of Cardinals great Stan Musial outside.

    It is similar to many of the modern stadiums, but its integration with the community and amenities in the stadium give it a leg up on some of its peers.

10. Coors Field

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    The famously high altitude of Coors Field leads to a hitter-friendly park and fan-friendly home run hitting contests mid-game that often inflate the ERA of the Rockies pitching staff.

    Beyond the right field stands is the Blue Moon Brewing Company, owned by Coors.  They experiment with brews throughout the season and have won numerous awards in the World Beer Championships.

    In 2010, Colorado had the 10th highest per game attendance in the MLB.

9. PETCO Park

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    Opening in 2004, PETCO Park is known for its pitcher-friendliness and expansive outfield.  

    With a park in center field open to the public, the stadium often plays road games on its Jumbotron for passersby to see.  Deep fences and quirky angles give the park character and give Padres outfielders a home field advantage.

    The stadium tries to replicate quintessential San Diego with its tan, grey and blue color scheme, and fans can look beyond the outfield walls at the San Diego skyline. PETCO Park is well integrated with the city and is one of baseball's best modern parks.

8. Citizens Bank Park

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    Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies, was the first East Coast ballpark to use open concourses.  Fans can still view the game while walking around the stadium.

    This trend has been copied in the Yankees, Nationals and Mets new ballparks.

    The park features Philadelphia cuisine, like hoagies and cheesesteaks and the atmosphere of the park is top-notch placing second in 2010 attendance.

7. Nationals Park

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    Nationals Park is home to a fan-friendly experience for a team that has routinely been less-than-stellar.

    Cheap tickets (some for only $5) allow fans to enjoy the game without breaking the bank.  Similar to the sausage race in Milwaukee, Nationals games feature a President's Race.  Teddy Roosevelt never wins.

    It is also the first LEED-certified environmentally-friendly sports stadium in the United States.

6. AT&T Park

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    AT&T Park came to fame during Barry Bonds' numerous home run chases of the early 2000s.  Bonds would hit a home run, it would land in the bay beyond right field (McCovey Cove).

    Giants fans in kayaks and boats would chase down the ball—truly a unique fan experience.

    In 2004, the stadium went wireless, installing Internet access points around the stadium, creating what was then one of the largest hot spots in the world.

5. Camden Yards

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    The best of the ballparks created in the 1990s, the Baltimore Orioles home field was also the first completed, in 1992.

    With the backdrop of a warehouse in right field and within walking distance of the Inner Harbor, Camden Yards is integrated with the city of Baltimore.

    Boog's Barbecue Pit serves some of the best food of any MLB park.  Ticket prices are also reasonable—on certain nights, students can get $5 tickets.

4. PNC Park

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    With bridges and the Pittsburgh skyline, the backdrop to the stadium can often be more eye-catching than the team on the field.

    Despite their poor play, Pittsburgh is home to one of baseball's best modern stadiums.  Opening in 2001, it was the beginning of the next generation of ballparks.  Promotions, including dollar ticket night (yup $1) are often used to try to draw fans to the ballpark.  

    The Pirates had the second most cost-effective stadium experience in 2009, according to the FCI.

    Easy accessibility and outstanding, unique food make PNC Park a must-see stadium for any baseball fan.

3. Wrigley Field

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    Baseball's second-oldest stadium, home to the Chicago Cubs since 1916, is still one of its best.  

    With its iconic ivy lining the outfield walls and prime location in suburban Wrigleyville, Wrigley Field has been one of the best experiences in baseball for nearly 100 years.

    Outside the park, fans can entertain themselves at one of many bars or restaurants.  Despite the capacity limit at Wrigley (just over 40,000, smaller than most modern ballparks), it still was seventh in attendance during the 2010 season. 

    The intimate setting and stereotypical bleacher fans make Wrigley Field one of the best ballpark experiences.

2. Target Field

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    Just completed last year, Target Field is already the best modern stadium in baseball.

    With a great view of the downtown skyline, Minnesota-style food and pine trees in the outfield, Target Field is a microcosm of the state it is located in.

    Unlike the Metrodome, Target Field is home to outdoor baseball all the time.  Although some thought this would be an issue in snowy Minnesota, the Twins only had one cancellation last season.

    Target Field sells out most of its games, but those who can't get in can peer through the "Knotholes" on Fifth Street.

    There is also an original Twins logo (Minnie and Paul shaking hands across the Mississippi River) in center field that lights up during certain times in the game.

1. Fenway Park

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    More than any other sport, baseball is a game of American history.  As such, it is fitting that its greatest ballpark is also its oldest.

    Home of the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park has been standing since 1912.  Despite small, often uncomfortable seats and sometimes awkward views of the game, Fenway stands apart because of tradition.

    The 37-feet-high Green Monster stands only 310 feet away from home plate, turning some pop flies into home runs and turning other line drive home runs into long singles.  Recent renovations have placed seats on top of the Monster, giving fans a view of the game they can't get in any other ballpark.

    Pesky's Pole stands in right field and is covered with signatures of fans and players alike.

    The dimensions of the park heavily impact the game, the center field bullpen juts out creating a triangle balls often bounce around as batters run for extra bases.

    A game at Fenway is something to be remembered forever, and it will remain baseball's best park as long as it remains standing.

Credits and Special Thanks

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    Many thanks to Tyler Pitrof, Robbie Rosenthal and Alex Bleweis for sharing their ballpark experiences to more accurately rank these fields.