AL Central Stadiums: Power Ranking the Crown Jewels of the Midwest
The American League Central may not be home to some of the most illustrious cities in the United States, but you would never guess that if you looked at the fields the teams call home.
Each park has its own unique flare that makes up for its respective team's lack of excellence on the diamond.
Though they may not be as historical as Fenway Park or Dodger Stadium, these stadiums are some of the most underrated in baseball.
5. U.S. Cellular Field, Home of the Chicago White Sox
Year Opened: 1991
In what used to be one of the worst ballparks in baseball, "The Cell" has recently found some character. Opened as Comiskey Park (II), the stadium's naming rights were bought in 2003 by the telecommunications giant that calls Chicago home.
Since going through the name change, the park has had some drastic renovations that have completely changed the look of the once-sterile ballpark.
It may not be as popular as the stadium eight miles to the north, but U.S. Cellular Field is still a great place to watch baseball.
From the pinwheels on the center field video board to the ever-expanding collection of bronze statues that line the concourse with South Side legends, the park is becoming better by the day. It will be there for many years to come.
4. Progressive Field, Home of the Cleveland Indians
Year Opened: 1994
Progressive Field has been the site of some of the best moments in Cleveland Indians' history. Opened as Jacobs Field, "The Jake" became Progressive Field before the 2008 season, when the locally based insurance company bought the naming rights.
Though the name has recently changed, the spirit of the park has not.
Boasting a beautiful view of the downtown Cleveland skyline, Progressive Field is a picturesque monument to the hardworking character of the city.
The park was home to a record 455 consecutive sellouts between June of 1995 and April of 2001, a feat that has since been broken by Fenway Park.
Fans may not flock in the numbers they used to, but a better Cleveland team as of late will draw crowds to one of the most beautiful ballparks in the American League.
3. Kauffman Stadium, Home of the Kansas City Royals
Year Opened: 1973
Kauffman Stadium is by far the oldest ballpark in the AL Central, but the park looks as modern as any built in the last decade.
Though it opened as Royals Stadium, in 1993 the park was renamed to honor longtime owner, Ewing Kauffman.
Recent renovations, which were completed during the 2009 season, have made the stadium look as fresh as any of the newer parks around the country. The high-definition scoreboard in center field is one of the biggest in the United States.
Home to the 2012 All-Star Game, Kauffman Stadium will finally get the national recognition it deserves as being one of the best parks in all of baseball.
2. Comerica Park, Home of the Detroit Tigers
Year Opened: 2000
When the beloved Tiger Stadium ceased its Major League operations in 1999, many were wondering if the new Tigers home would boast the same character and spirit of the old ballpark.
Ask the Detroit faithful, and you will most likely hear a resounding "yes."
The park was opened as part of a revitalization plan for downtown Detroit, along with Ford Field, the home of the Lions. The breathtaking skyline can be seen beyond the walls of the park, mixing modern design with old-school Detroit charm.
Comerica Park honors Tigers' greats all throughout the ballpark, giving each fan a history lesson as they find their seat.
The often-packed park is truly one of the most underrated stadiums in all of America. Though the city surrounding Comerica Park may be in tough times, spending an afternoon in the ballpark may make you think differently.
1. Target Field, Home of the Minnesota Twins
Year Opened: 2010
If I would have done this list in 2009, the Twins would have come in dead last. But that was then, this is now.
Since moving from the worst baseball stadium in Major League Baseball, the Twins have been in one of the best.
Don't believe me? Try walking up to the box office on game day and finding a ticket.
Target Field is the ideal combination of modernization with an ode to Twins history. The Minnesota limestone that lines the exterior gives the park a look never before seen in American sports.
Minnesotans waited a long time for outdoor baseball to return to the Twin Cities. They must have been giddy when this gem opened its doors.
Already headlining multiple lists of some of the best stadiums in baseball, Target Field has no other place than No. 1 in this collection.
Expect this park to be around for years and years to come, but don't expect any new stadiums to match its beauty.
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