I believe baseball parks are the greatest places to watch a sporting event. I might catch a lot of heat from this but to me nothing beats sitting in a ballpark during summer afternoons. The moment you walk out from the tunnel to your seat to see the field, players, fans and all the amenities of the park, it just becomes breathtaking. I remember as a kid living in Houston, my first baseball game was at the Astrodome. I have never been in such awe when I walked from the concession stands to my seats. I felt at home. From the first pitch to the last, all the sights and sounds where incredible. No matter how many times I go to a game, regardless of where it is or who is playing, the one thing that just consumes me is aesthetic of the ball park. Every park has some type of signature that it is known for. Examples would be: Wrigley field since 1937 has been known for the ivy on the brick wall, Fenway obviously has the Green Monster, Miller Park for the home-run slide, AT&T Park has McCovey Cove and Minute Maid Park for Tal’s Hill. This leads me to listing my top ten favorite modern ball parks.
1.) Busch Stadium ( St. Louis Cardinals)- Despite my distaste for the Cardinals, Busch Stadium has the best backdrop in baseball. With the St. Louis skyline and the Arch, it is really something to see. I love the color red and when that stadium is full, it becomes mesmerizing. When you walk into the park, you just feel engulfed in the game. You just become baseball. Though the stadium doesn’t have some of goofy signature parts, the color of the stadium inside and out is just so stunning that you cannot enjoy yourself there.
Capacity- 46, 861
Construction Cost – $365 Million
Opened – April 10, 2006
2.) PNC Park ( Pittsburgh Pirates) - The city of Pittsburgh seems to have it all correct when it comes to the ultimate sports venues. Pittsburgh Steelers play in one of the most premier football stadiums in America, Heinz Field, while the Penguins are about to have one of the top-notch hockey arenas, Consol Energy Center. Even though the Pirates have been struggling for past few years, their stadium rivals any other stadium to date. Just like Busch Stadium, PNC Park has a great back drop that includes a massive downtown skyline along with the Roberto Clemente Bridge that stretches over the Alleghney River. The stadium isn’t the prettiest from the outside but baseball games at night defines perfect.
Construction Cost- $216
Opened- March 31, 2001
3.) Citi Field ( New York Mets) - One of two new parks introduced in 2009, Citi Field I believe one of the most underrated ballparks to come watch a game in. The stadium has one of the most unique entrances you will see. The front entrance of Citi Field features a rotunda named after Brooklyn Dodgers legend Jackie Robinson and honors his life and accomplishments. Engraved into the rotunda’s 160-foot diameter floor and etched into the archways are words and larger-than-life images that defined Robinson’s nine values: Courage, Excellence, Persistence, Justice, Teamwork, Commitment, Citizenship, Determination and Integrity. Another feature that transitioned over from Shea Stadium was the home-run apple. Located dead center, every time a Mets player homers the apple rises up.
Capacity – 41,800
Construction Cost- $900 Million
Opened- April 13, 2009
4.) Chase Field ( Arizona Diamondbacks) - Finished in 1998, Chase Field is one of five stadiums that has a retractable roof. It is one of two stadiums that has a dirt strip that stretches from the pitchers mound to home. Though the stadium has a very typical style to it, the enormous advertising signs in the outfield makes the stadium feel very gigantic. What I really like about this stadium is how close the fans are to the field. The deep far right and left foul lines are not more than 10 feet from the stands. As fans we all enjoy being as close to the field as possible, especially baseball where we can try to snatch foul balls. The stadium has a swimming pool in right center field. If you have $6,500 to spend for a ball game, than you can rent out the pool for a whole game.
Construction Cost- $354 Million
Opened- March 31, 1998
5.) AT&T Park (San Francisco Giants)- This park isn’t very big and for that very reason is why I love this park. The ability to watch players hit home-runs out of the park and into McCovey Cove is just mind-boggling. Being able to go watch a game in this ball park seems to have a very fresh feeling. Being located right next to San Francisco Bay, fans have the ability to enjoy the sun and the beauty of the bay. There is a massive coca cola bottle in left field that has a slide in it. Every time a home-run is hit, it lights up and blows bubbles. Right next to the bottle is an old fashion 1927 baseball glove.
Construction Cost- $357 Million
Opened- March 31, 2000
6.) Rangers Ballpark in Arlington ( Texas Rangers)- This might be one of the prettiest parks in America. When fans show up and deck out the Rangers Red, White and Blue colors, it just screams America. The design of this park has been taken from other stadiums such as Fenway Park, Oriole Park at Camden Yards and Comiskey Park. This stadium has a very old school feel to it, especially with the massive office buildings out behind centerfield. Rangers Ballpark has one of the best exterior structural designs. The Texas Sunset Granite on the outside makes it very attractive, especially when walking up to the stadium. The grass field with the big Rangers T logo is a nice asset and just adds that extra quality to the overall aesthetics.
Construction Cost- $191 Million
Opened- April 1, 1994
7.) Yankee Stadium ( New York Yankees) - What I really admire about the stadium is not that it is a year old but how they manage to keep the old Yankee style to it. Being able to transfer a lot of the same structural designs over from the old park to the new has really kept the tradition of playing in Yankee Stadium alive. Along with the old tradition, they did incorporate modern looks too. The massive scoreboard in centerfield is definitely a nice touch. Of course any stadium is going to look grand when you spend $1.5 billion on it. All the distances from home to walls are the same from the old field. Oddly my favorite feature is the entrance to gate 4 where in large letters, it reads Yankees Stadium. Something about the way it looks just proclaims greatness.
Construction Cost- $ 1.5 Billion
Opened – April 16, 2009
8.) Minute Maid Park ( Houston Astros)- There is so much that could be said about my love for my team’s home field. There is a lot that I could say that I dislike too. I really like the fact that they decided to make the stadium roof retractable to help with the Texas heat during those long summer days. Most people do not like to sit way out in the outfield but the Crawford Boxes have to be one of my favorite sections in the park. The Crawford Boxes are so popular that they are actually the most expensive outfield seats in the major leagues. Tal’s Hill is a very unique feature and a lot of great catches have been made on this Hill. The one main thing that I dislike is the pole on top of the Hill. The idea was taken from numerous older baseball stadiums but I just don’t like the idea of an object that can hinders a player’s ability to make a play. Even if you are not an Astros fan, it is a very family oriented built park and a great place to take your kids.
Construction Cost- $250 Million
Opened- April 7, 2000
9.) Citizens Bank Park ( Philadelphia Phillies) - This park to me carries a true home field advantage. I know all parks are designed to feel comfortable to home team and fans but Citizens Bank Park exploits the City of Philadelphia. The park has a replica of the Liberty Bell in center field that lights up when balls exit the park. There are numerous food stations where you can experience the famous Philadelphia cheese steak sandwich along with pizza, bbq, and pubs. The stadium has rooftop seating which give fans a great view of the field and the city. There are ton of historic venues to view while touring the stadium. For opposing fans, the one thing to be cautious is how rowdy Phillie fans can become. Notoriously known for being the rudest fans in the big leagues, it is almost best to not wear your teams gear.
Construction Cost- $458 Million
Opened- April 3, 2004
10.) Fenway Park ( Boston Red Sox)- Known for the Green Monster, Fenway Park is one of the most historic parks in all of baseball. Built in 1912, this ball park has seen it all. This park has been host to hockey games, football games, and even soccer games. There are ton of famous elements from Pesky Poll, The Lone Red Seat, The Triangle and Duffy Cliff. Red Sox fans are also the most committed in all of baseball. From good times to bad, they always seem to be behind their team. It is a place that you have to just go to even if you don’t like baseball. I really admire this stadium due to the great of an atmosphere it conveys throughout the year. Never a dull moment and the crowd is always energetic.
Construction Cost- $ 14.8 Million
Opened- April 20, 1912