MLB's 12 Best Party Stadiums
As much fun as we fans have inside the ballpark, sometimes the best time is had before we even get to our seats. Be it pre-gaming or tailgating, the true camaraderie between fans occurs before the game even starts, usually over burgers or beers. As a New York Yankees fan, I can't tell you how many random fan friends I've made at Billy's Sports Bar, just across the street from the "House That Ruth Built."
Of course, having been to various ballparks of different teams, I can easily say that New York is anything but the top party town in MLB. Some fans bring various aspects of their local culture into rooting for their teams, so each pre-game (or even post-game) fiesta is unlike the other. Long story short, no two MLB towns are the same in terms of how the fans let loose.
That said, if any fans out there are planning a cross-country road trip for the 2013 season, it is imperative that these stadiums make the itinerary.
New York City: Yankee Stadium
New Yorkers may have a reputation for being rude and abrasive, but one thing is for sure: When it comes to their favorite sports teams, they'll instantly bond with one another, and even out-of-towners, to watch the game.
Don't believe it? Just have a look at this massive tailgate party outside the stadium on a chilly afternoon.
Also, if you're not into being out in the parking lot for the couple of hours before heading to your seats, Yankee Tavern is a great place for pinstripe-clad fans to gather and have some drinks together while talking about their favorite Bronx Bombers. The highly affordable menu also provides some delicious options, in case you aren't one to pay $6.50 for a hot dog.
Oh, and the sight of Yankees fans singing together to songs on the jukebox is always good for a laugh as well.
Philadelphia: Citizens Bank Park
Philadelphia may be hit or miss when it comes to tailgating, but the presence of a McFadden's Bar inside the stadium more than makes up for it. My hometown of New York City also happens to have a McFadden's, just a stone's throw away from Grand Central, and it is easily one of the most fun-loving bars in the country. People go to eat, drink, be merry and just enjoy whatever game is on at any time of year.
New York City: Citi Field
This video was taken after a soccer match played at the New York Mets' home stadium, but just look at how much fun the fans are having. They came to have a good time and based on the vuvuzela alone, I think it cements NYC's status as a party town.
But in all seriousness, fans, Citi Field is a fun spot for fans of any baseball team. Like the aforementioned Citizen's Bank Park, this stadium also has a McFadden's Bar and if you're looking for the nontraditional ballpark fare, be sure to check out the Shake Shack stand if you want a freshly grilled burger and freshly mixed milkshake.
Chicago: Wrigley Field
Having spent my 21st birthday on the North Side of Chicago, just a couple of blocks away from the Cubs' home, I can safely say that this part of town is Party Central for the team's fans. Wrigleyville is home to a great strip of bars, namely Uberstein and The Irish Oak. Naturally, the fans enjoy them both!
Milwaukee: Miller Park
How can a city whose team is called the BREWERS not have a great party experience at its home stadium? Simply put, for beer gut-busting fun and a rabid fan base, definitely make a trip to Miller Park to watch the Brewers play. The fans may be rowdy at times, but they're generally quite nice and quick to welcome you as one of their own (unless, of course, you're a Cardinals fan).
For all of you Man v. Food fans out there, be sure to check the concession stand for the infamous one pound hot dog.
Baltimore: Camden Yards
I've never actually been to a game at Camden Yards, but based on what's happening in this video, something tells me that the pre-game party is beyond fun. From the various food stands to the music blasting, the Charm City certainly appears to know how to let its hair down.
Oh, and let's not forget this. Wherever there's bacon on a stick, there's sure to be a party!
Chicago: U.S. Cellular Field
The North Side may have some fun, but the White Sox fans prove year after year that the South Side has the flavor. These guys make the trip day after day to enjoy each other's company in the parking lot before the first pitch, as evidenced by the beer flowing and the burgers coming off of the grill. Once inside the ballpark, be sure to get the Polish sausage, EXTRA mustard.
Once you're done eating, just forget which team you for and be ready to shout out "GOOOOO SAAAHX" and let loose with some of the rowdiest and most fun fans you will ever meet!
Detroit: Comerica Park
Honestly, at what other ballpark could you find cold beer flowing and some live music blasting right outside the stadium? I may be conditioned to hate the Tigers after the recent playoff series, but one thing's for sure. If I was invited to a tailgate party at Comerica Park, I sure as hell wouldn't say no.
Once inside the stadium, the musical entertainment continues thanks to local Tigers legend Charley Marcuse, the operatic hot dog vendor. Even if my Yankees were getting destroyed by Detroit, it'd be hard to be mad about it b/c though booming, the man's singing is oddly soothing as well.
San Francisco: AT&T Park
As one of the best young teams in baseball, the Giants deserve some young and passionate fans. Sure enough, this tailgate party coverage says it all. If you want some hip parties, head to San Fran not only for the games, but maybe some kayaking in McCovey Cove.
Texas: Ballpark at Arlington
Well, I guess the old saying is true. Everything is bigger in Texas, even tailgate parties!
Pittsburgh: PNC Park
As a city with some of the craziest fans, particularly in terms of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Steel City has already established itself as a phenomenal party town in that it is also home to the University of Pittsburgh, home to good football and basketball programs. Thus, once Pirates' Opening Day comes, it's no surprise that some of the crazy baseball fans turn out in droves.
That said, fans, I have some homework for you. Next season, take a trip to Pittsburgh, grab a legendary sandwich from Primanti's in the Southtown neighborhood (the GOOD location), and hit up PNC!
Boston: Fenway Park
It pains me as a Yankees fan to say this, but I have to give credit where it's due. Out of all the baseball cities in the country, the Red Sox got it right in every way, shape and form. Thus, if I were to plan a tailgate party, I'd have to consult someone from Boston.
Again, if tailgating isn't your thing, worry not. Nearby Lansdowne Street is home to Bleacher Bar, located INSIDE the center field wall of the stadium! Just when you thought you wouldn't be able to go to the game because you and/or your friends couldn't get tickets, this place allows you to watch the game with a field-view from center field! The best part? There's no cover charge.
Simply put, even if you're not a Sawx fan, watching a game from Bleacher Bar is something that should be on every baseball fan's bucket list. It may not seem like much, but it's THAT amazing.