Ranking the Most Realistic Sites for Possible Neutral-Field MLB World Series

Zachary D. Rymer@zachrymerMLB Lead WriterApril 21, 2020

Ranking the Most Realistic Sites for Possible Neutral-Field MLB World Series

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    Petco Park is lovely, and San Diego is beautiful year-round.
    Petco Park is lovely, and San Diego is beautiful year-round.Associated Press

    If the World Series is played at all in 2020, chances are it will be at a neutral location.

    Certainly, Major League Baseball's immediate priority in the face of the coronavirus pandemic is figuring out when and under what conditions the regular season can proceed. That situation is fluid, and there's probably a non-zero chance that the season will be canceled altogether.

    If there is a season, however, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported March 27 that it could ultimately push the World Series into November. For weather purposes, that could necessitate playing the Fall Classic in a stadium that's home to neither of the two clubs playing in the series.

    Out of all the possibilities, there are 10 that we like. We've ordered them from least realistic to most realistic based on factors such as the local weather, seating capacity and nearby accommodations and attractions for out-of-town fans.

10. T-Mobile Park (Seattle, WA)

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Even though the Mariners have been playing Major League Baseball in Seattle since 1977, the city has yet to host the World Series.

    If it comes to it, why not give Seattle the 2020 World Series? T-Mobile Park is a well-regarded stadium that can fit 47,929 people. It's also a short hike from downtown Seattle, and CenturyLink Field is right there if any visiting fans also want to catch a Seahawks game.

    On a less bright side, the reputation of Seattle's weather precedes it. While rain could be shut out by T-Mobile Park's retractable roof, it might still make for a dreary experience for out-of-town fans.

    For that matter, asking how many fans would even travel to Seattle for the World Series is a fair question. For most people in the country, it is far out of the way.

9. Marlins Park (Miami, FL)

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    Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

    Though the Miami Marlins probably aren't going to the World Series any time soon, the city of Miami deserves to host one.

    There haven't been World Series games there since 2003 when the Marlins still played at Pro Player Stadium. Marlins Park, which opened in 2012, is one of the newest stadiums in the majors, and for evidence it can host a raucous atmosphere, consider the 2013 World Baseball Classic and the 2017 All-Star Game.

    Trouble is, Marlins Park can only hold 36,742 fans. Out of the 30 major league stadiums, only Progressive Field and Tropicana Field have smaller capacities.

    Marlins Park is also notoriously difficult to access. Though it's technically in Miami, it's actually located in a residential area away from the city. Getting there via public transportation isn't as easy as it should be.

8. Minute Maid Park (Houston, TX)

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Could Minute Maid Park host World Series games for the third time in four years?

    It's certainly possible. The weather in Houston will be fairly temperate come November, and the park's retractable roof will render any bad weather moot anyway. The stadium is also smack in the middle of Houston's downtown area, where there are hotels, restaurants and bars aplenty.

    But since it seats only 41,000 fans and is not known (h/t BallparkDigest.com) for offering a particularly pleasant fan experience, Minute Maid Park itself isn't the best option MLB could settle on.

    Moreover, the league should think twice before awarding a neutral-site World Series to the home of the Houston Astros. Even if the coronavirus pandemic ends, their cheating scandal might still be fresh in many fans' minds.

7. Angel Stadium of Anaheim (Anaheim, CA)

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    Kelvin Kuo/Associated Press

    If MLB's ultimate preference is to host the World Series in an area that would attract out-of-town fans, it could do worse than Anaheim.

    After all, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are just down the road from Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Assuming those parks open up again at any point in 2020, that could be a dealmaker for families. They could hit the parks in the day and then catch the game at night.

    Angel Stadium itself has been around since 1966, but it's far from falling apart. It can also seat 45,050 fans, and the weather would surely be splendid even in November.

    So why doesn't Angel Stadium rank higher here? We're thinking that if MLB is going to pick a stadium in California to host the World Series, Angel Stadium might not be its first choice.

6. Oracle Park (San Francisco, CA)

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Though it's gone by four different names over the last 20 years, Oracle Park is just as revered now as it was when it first opened in 2000.

    The home of the San Francisco Giants was ranked as the No. 1 stadium in the majors by Baseball America in 2018. It holds 41,915 fans, and it gets points for its architecture, its intimate size, its concessions and points of interest such as the slide in the Coca-Cola bottle beyond left field.

    Oracle Park is right on the water, and there are plenty of places in the China Basin neighborhood to grab a bite and a drink. There are also hotels aplenty both in San Francisco and in the East Bay, which is easily accessible via BART.

    Ah, but the weather. It can get chilly at Oracle Park even in the summer months. By November, night games could be afflicted by both cold temperatures and rain.

5. Globe Life Field (Arlington, TX)

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    If ever there was a chance for Major League Baseball to show off its newest park, this is it.

    The 2020 season was supposed to be—and hopefully still will be—the Texas Rangers' first at Globe Life Field. Because fans have yet to set foot in it, it obviously doesn't have a reputation yet. It does, however, sound like a swell place to watch a ballgame.

    Globe Life Field will seat 40,300 fans in an environment that will be nice and air-conditioned yet not insulated from the outside world. Portions of its retractable roof are made of "transparent materials" that will let in plenty of natural light.

    There are plenty of lodging options in the area around Globe Life Field as well as other attractions such as Six Flags Over Texas and AT&T Stadium, the monstrous home of the Dallas Cowboys.

4. Truist Park (Cumberland, GA)

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    John Amis/Associated Press

    If the name "Truist Park" doesn't ring a bell, that's because the Atlanta Braves' digs went by SunTrust Park between 2017 and 2019.

    In any case, Truist Park is the second-youngest stadium in the majors after only Globe Life Field. It only seats a modest 41,149 fans, but the in-stadium fan experience has a strong reputation based on its clear sightlines and many points of interest.

    Plus, the Truist Park experience isn't limited to the stadium itself. The Braves built it as the center of a larger entertainment complex called "The Battery," which is full of spots to eat, shop and play.

    If there's a downside, it's that Truist Park is a wee bit north of Atlanta proper. But given the amount of lodging options in the immediate vicinity, that wouldn't necessarily have to be a deal-breaker.

3. Petco Park (San Diego, CA)

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    Gregory Bull/Associated Press

    If MLB prioritizes weather above all else in choosing the spot for a neutral-site World Series, the league can't possibly do any better than San Diego.

    As Lewis Black once quipped, the weatherman in San Diego only ever has to say it's "nice" outside. That'll be the case even in November, as it'll be sunny and in the 70s during the day and no colder than the 50s by night.

    For its part, Petco Park is a delightful and relatively new stadium (it debuted in 2004) that can hold 42,524 fans. It's also in an ideal location. The neighboring Gaslamp Quarter has plenty in the way of lodging and attractions. If any out-of-towners fancy a swim, they won't have to go far to find a beach.

    Downsides? Frankly, there aren't any that we can think of.

2. Chase Field (Phoenix, AZ)

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    Because the Arizona Diamondbacks' one and only World Series appearance was all the way back in 2001, it's been nearly two decades since baseball's greatest show came to Phoenix.

    If it's a question of why Chase Field shouldn't be the spot for a neutral-site World Series, the stadium's age enters into the equation. Though its grand opening in 1998 doesn't yet feel like ancient history, it's telling the D-backs are hoping for a new stadium in the near future.

    On the bright side, Chase Field's capacity of 48,633 is fourth-largest out of all major league parks. It's also not far from downtown Phoenix, which has plenty to offer out-of-town fans.

    Besides, it may be Chase Field or bust at this point. If MLB goes with its plan to play games exclusively in Arizona this year, the World Series would inevitably be held at Chase Field.

1. Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles, CA)

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    Elise Amendola/Associated Press

    If not Chase Field, Dodger Stadium will probably be Major League Baseball's first choice if the World Series must be played at a neutral site.

    Mind you, the longtime home of the Los Angeles Dodgers isn't an ideal choice. Most of the nearby hotels are in downtown Los Angeles. That may only be a 10-minute drive from Dodger Stadium, but its infamously terrible parking will add plenty of time to that equation.

    Otherwise, Dodger Stadium is rightly seen as one of the crown jewels of the majors. Its 56,000-fan capacity is the largest of any park, and the stadium's more dated aspects—it's been around since 1962—have been chipped away by a series of renovations over the last seven years. 

    Yet perhaps the biggest factor here is the likely cancellation of the All-Star Game, which is slated to take place at Dodger Stadium for the first time since 1980. If the Midsummer Classic is indeed nixed, Matt Spiegel of 670 The Score reported Dodger Stadium could get the Fall Classic as compensation.