One Unique Feature of Each Current MLB BallparkJuly 18, 2012
One Unique Feature of Each Current MLB Ballpark
New stadiums are taking shape in a number of different ways, and while they continue to evolve the game day experience, the older stadiums are in no way slighted, as they have their own unique features that set them apart.
Some of these features are the most longstanding and notable in baseball, while others are newer and represent the birth of tradition as stadiums are erected.
Since there are many stadiums I haven't set foot in, feel free to chime in with anything I may not be aware of at stadiums across the league.
At any rate, here are some unique features of MLB stadiums near you.
Angel Stadium of Anaheim
Much like fountains in other major league stadiums, the rock fountain and surrounding landscape at Angel Stadium provides a very scenic backdrop for fans watching their Halos take the field.
With sluggers like Mike Trout and Albert Pujols setting foot in the batter's box in Anaheim, the rocks should see plenty of action in the coming seasons.
Since Barry Bonds took off the Giants uniform for the final time, there haven't been nearly as many balls making their way into McCovey Cove for a shot at a longball, but that hasn't stopped fans from making their way there on a nightly basis.
When the new Busch Stadium was erected, Gate 3 was given its own unique touch, as the archway over the entrance bears a striking resemblance to the Eads Bridge, while Stan Musial's bronze statue looks on just outside the gate as well.
With the heat always prevalent in steamy Arizona, the Diamondbacks installed a unique feature when they put a pool and hot tub in the outfield area of Chase Field.
There aren't many images more synonymous with the New York Mets than the giant apple that we remember from Shea Stadium.
Luckily, the landmark wasn't forgotten when the team made its move to Citi Field a few years ago.
Citizens Bank Park
There are few things better than the freedom that our country enjoys every day of our lives—and in Philadelphia, a symbol of our independence has been recreated at Citizens Bank Park, with the 52-foot-tall Liberty Bell lighting up each time a Phillie goes yard.
It's interesting to see new stadiums erected these days, as they've become far more than just a place to take in a baseball game, with numerous activities at fans' disposal should they wander away from their seats.
Comerica Park is no exception, as a ferris wheel and carousel are among the options available for fans in attendance.
I guess this isn't the most typical of stadium traditions, but when Coors Field opened in Denver and quickly became a hitter's haven, something needed to be done to counteract the effects of the elevation.
The humidor at the stadium did the trick, deadening the balls and producing power numbers more comparable to the rest of the league.
Organists have long been a part of baseball, and while advances in technology have changed the way acoustics are utilized in most ballparks, fans at Dodger Stadium have something no other ballpark does, the one and only Nancy Bea Hefley.
The Boston Red Sox have a rich history in Fenway Park that no other stadium in the league can claim, and as they celebrate its 100th anniversary, one of its signature features still comes into play to this day.
As stadiums across the league move to LED scoreboards and videoboards, Fenway still has its manually operated scoreboard at the bottom of the green monster, something I hope they never change.
Great American Ballpark
It has been a longstanding tradition in Cincinnati that the Reds play the first game of the major league season, resulting in an unofficial holiday for the faithful headed to the Great American Ballpark in early April.
Recently renovated Kauffman Stadium got plenty of attention just a week ago as the 2012 All-Star game took aim at Kansas City, showcasing one of the more underrated stadiums in baseball.
The fountains survived, but definitely took on an onslaught after the Home Run Derby waterlogged many balls.
Backstops in newer major league stadiums have really been touched up over some prior versions, with intricate brick facades donning many.
The Miami Marlins took a different route, opting to turn the backstop into a remarkable fish tank, something no other stadium can stake claim to.
The sausage races at Miller Park are certainly a sight to behold, but Bernie the Brewer sliding down his giant yellow slide in the outfield after a Milwaukee home run is just as memorable for anyone in attendance.
Minute Maid Park
Taking a lap across the outfield whenever an Astros player hits a home run or the team wins a game at Minute Maid Park, the train at the Astros' ballpark pays homage to what was once Houston's Union Station.
In our nation's capital, is there really a better way to celebrate the commanders-in-chief of our past than by having their blown-up heads race around the field? I think not.
Given all the different races we've seen in this slideshow, however, you'd have to wonder if a president, dot or sausage would have the edge in a showdown of the best out there.
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
After the Oakland hills represented the stadium's backdrop for three decades, the 10,000 seats added during a renovation in the mid-90s effectively ended that view and further established the stadium's look as a football venue.
The seats aren't utilized for baseball, as tarps cover "mount Davis" and lower the stadium's official capacity.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Since the late 1970s, it has been a Baltimore tradition to sing John Denver's "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" at some point during Orioles games.
During a game in 1997, Denver himself took to the field to sing along with the crowd in what would be one of the last public appearances he would make before his untimely death.
It really is nice to see new stadiums integrate parts of the area's past when building, and PETCO Park in San Diego certainly accomplished that when they left the old Western Metal Supply Company building in place.
Slated for demolition when the stadium was to be built, it instead houses suites, stores, rooftop seating and a restaurant for fans to enjoy while they take in the Padres games.
Having never been to Pittsburgh, I haven't had the chance to enjoy a Primanti Bros. sandwich, which has been a staple at PNC Park since its creation and a part of the Steel City's heritage since 1933.
Needless to say, I'm jealous.
The fans in Cleveland have been treated to some good baseball in the past year-and-a-half, as their Indians are once again contending in the AL Central.
Who knows where the team would be without longtime drummer John Adams getting things going on a regular basis at Progressive Field?
Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
There's no better feeling for a kid at a baseball game than to be able to head home with a souvenir baseball in his or her glove.
At Rangers Ballpark, people have a unique opportunity to get their hands on one, as the grass beyond the centerfield fence often becomes the site of a wrestling match as fans do everything to get their hands on home run balls hit into the area.
OK, so maybe it is just a retractable roof. But what some people may not realize about the one at Rogers Centre in Toronto is that it was the first fully retractable roof of its kind and was revolutionary at the time.
The Baseball Museum of the Pacific Northwest in Safeco Field is one of the most elaborate of it's kind, providing a glimpse not only of the semi-professional teams that have played in the region, but also a great timeline for the history of the game itself.
The Minnesota Twins did a great job of integrating the history of the franchise into the recently-constructed Target Field, and the stadium's focal point in center field is none other than the famous "Minnie and Paul" logo, one of the team's original logos.
When a Twins player hits a home run or the team wins, the two light up and shake hands.
The catwalk in Tropicana Field may not be known for the most positive of reasons, as it has on quite a number of occasions come into play, but nonetheless, it's something that no other stadium has.
Not that the organization needs another reason, but the catwalk has to be one of many selling points on why the team needs a new home.
Turner Field has a number of features that make it stand out from others in the league, but the Grand Entry Plaza definitely provides one of the most positive and fan-friendly experiences you'll find before actually setting foot in the ballpark.
With a number of concession options and pavilions with no shortage of activities, there's plenty of reason to get to the stadium early in Atlanta.
U.S. Cellular Field
It's not every day you get a chance to see a game from field level, but at U.S. Cellular Field, that just what fans in "the Patio" get when they catch a White Sox game.
Located just beyond the right field fence, the patio provides the fan with a fun and relaxed atmosphere, while being able to see what an outfielder sees as he stares into the diamond.
Just like Fenway Park has an iconic outfield backdrop with the green monster, Wrigley Field has the ivy.
It's an iconic feature in Chicago that you would have to think will follow the franchise for as long as it exists.
The New York Yankees have a richer history than any other team in baseball, and Monument Park beyond center field provides fans with the opportunity to take in every step of the franchise's greatness.
The plaques and monuments that call out the best players to ever don the pinstripes are remarkable, and while there has been some criticism of it compared to Monument Park in the previous stadium, it's still something worth seeing time and time again.