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Trip List by baltoteach

Baseball Park Reviews

6 May 2008  Love of Baseball
4.0 of 5 bubbles based on 6 votes

One of my great loves is baseball and the settings of the games. This is a growing and ever amended list of baseball parks I've visited and their worth to the fan.

  • 1. Oriole Park at Camden Yards
    Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland

    This first of the "old" parks, Camden Yards opened in 1992 and was a fantastic departure of old Memorial Stadium, a great place that served both the Orioles and the Colts. Visually, this park is stunning and there are few bad seats - but there are a few. The new jumbotron is pretty good and gives the scoring fan all they need.

    While the concession food is about as desirous as any other concession food, there are a few highlights including Boog Powell's smoked meat stand out in right field. The omnipresent smoke and smell from Boog's stand adds to the ambiance of the place. You would think that given the state's reputation as a place for crabs that they would be plentiful but as of the last time I was there, I don't recall seeing them. Hopefully, they will be added to the park's cuisine if not already.

    The history of the place is appropriate. The old B&O warehouse behind outfield has a connection to the railroad that serviced this city and the field is on the spot of Babe Ruth's father's business while Ruth grew up in Baltimore. The fact that the park is downtown is another big plus of the stadium, giving the visitor plenty to do before or after a game.

    Don't worry about driving to the park but rather take the rail system which drops fans off in the front of the park. The park is stunning, the atmosphere is unique and the baseball is improving.

  • 2. Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
    Globe Life Park, Arlington, Texas

    The friendly confines of the Texas Rangers is another of the "old" parks built in the mid-1990s and was designed to pull in fans with the history of the great game. Rangers Ballpark combines great seating with great prices. One of the more affordable parks I've visited, the ballpark combines the history of baseball with the histoy of Texas in various reliefs found throughout.

    There are, more so than any other park I've visited, options and things for the younger fans to enjoy including skill contests. There is a large souvenir shop, a smaller one and a historical museum that are also attached to the ballpark and are open during the games for the adults.

    The area is being built up from its green but barran surroundings of previous seasons. With the building of the Dallas Cowboys stadium, there promises to be a great deal more to do, as well as, possibly, public transportation to the park area - though I would not hold your breath on that one. As of right now, there is no public transportation in the city of Arlington so one must drive to the park. The other option is to park at nearby Lincoln Square, in front of Sherlock's where a free bus shuttle runs, beginning an hour before first pitch. However, one could easily walk the same distance on return when the bus, caught in traffic, can take a bit.

    The food is typical with little originality but the game presentation and experience more than makes up for it. New screens and information boards added prior to the 09 season make it very easy to obtain the information you need to score the game. The baseball is on the rise and during its hey-day, it was difficult to get tickets but right now, the tickets are easy to come by and it's worth the trip to the mid-cities area to go.

  • 3. PNC Park
    PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    If your image of Pittsburgh is that of a smog-covered skyline and the smell of molten steel in the air, a great deal has changed - including the demolition of the horrid Three Rivers Stadium. PNC Park is a great place and the wonder is in the details.

    Unlike most of the new stadiums, PNC Park is much smaller and it lends to a much more "minor league" feel which makes for a great experience. And no, the "minor league" reference is not regarding the play on the field. Because of the smaller feel, one feels closer to the action. The visual quality of the park is also amazing because of the outfield framing of the Pittsburgh skyline. It really is quite something.

    The ballpark is within walking distance of downtown. Roberto Clemente Bridge is closed to auto traffic several hours prior to a game so that fans can walk across the bridge which drops you right off at the park. If you are incline, there is a dock for boaters to sail to the game.

    It is a great experience. I didn't eat much of the food but some of the local and great eateries in Pittsburgh have stands in the stadium so there is never a shortage of good food to eat.

  • 4. Safeco Field
    Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington

    In one of the greatest cities in the US, Seattle, Washington, there is Safeco Field - the home of the Seattle Mariners. This is an excellent park and like many of the more recently built facilities, there is an attempt to pattern it after the old-style parks. We had seats in the nosebleed but the action was still visible and the game was easy to enjoy and get into.

    Some of the more unique aspects of the park is the retractable roof which hangs ominously over one end of the field. It is indeed massive. The food is a bit more unusual than your normal ballpark fare. Concession stands sell, beyond the normal hot dogs and the like, sushi and other northwest-inspired cuisine. Additionally, there is a train that runs past the outfield and during the game, it is normal to hear the blast of the train - I think the train conductors sound that horn longer than normal because they are passing the ballpark.

    There are frequent fan give-aways and we actually picked up in our one visit to the park a gift card from Starbucks (I know, kind of obvious, yes?) with a picture of Ichiro on the front. Little things like this makes for a good overall experience.

    If you take public transportation to the downtown area, it is an easy and enjoyable walk to the ballpark. To make it more interesting are the various vendors, hawkers and musicians that line the way to the ballpark. A great experience!

  • 5. LaGrave Field
    LaGrave Field, Fort Worth, Texas

    LaGrave Field is the home of the minor league Fort Worth Cats. This park is in the spot of the original LaGrave Field that had been around since the turn of the 20th century. The park burned down in the 1960s I believe and the team disappeared shortly thereafter. However, a few years ago, the team was brought back and they rebuilt the stadium in its original location.

    All of the hallmarks of a 1920s era park are here, including a nice shot of downtown can be seen from behind the first base line seats and right field. The two original dugouts from the old stadium were located, dug out (no pun intended) and renovated. They are offered as seating and it would be a great way to see the game though I've never sat there before. There are two newer dugouts for the players.

    Food is fairly standard and there is only bus routes that take you to the park so it is probably best to drive.

    The field has often been cited as one of the best parks in the country and it is an enjoyable experience.

  • 6. Fenway Park
    Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts

    Fenway is one of those places that any true baseball fan must visit before leaving for the next realm. To get in, one will undoubtedly pay more than normal because it is one of the smallest parks and the one in the greatest demand. So, one should beware of the ticket prices.

    Prior to the game, if you can, you should check out the tour. Prior to ten in the morning, you can buy a tour ticket ($12) in the souvernir shop across from the ticket office (it does not open until 10 - after which, you can buy there). The tour takes about an hour, does not include on field or dugout visits like in other parks but it is worth your time nevertheless.

    The food was fantastic and there is plenty to choose from. However, there was a report the day before I went to the game saying Fenway failed a couple of inspection points related to their food and food preparation. I'm sure they are fixing that as I type.

    To get to the ballpark, simply take the green line to Kenmore, cross the Brookline bridge and follow the masses. Don't drive to the park. It is ludicrous to try. About 98% of the fans take public transportation and they fill the streets afterward.

    If you go to Fenway, you will have a blast. Try the food, take the tour and brush up on the lyrics for Sweet Caroline and Dirty Water - two fan favorites played nearly every game at Fenway.

  • 7. Shea Stadium

    Shea Stadium is one of the "boring" featureless parks that was built in the 1960s and 1970s. However, what makes Shea a good experience is the great game of baseball and the great fans that are very tolerant to the respectful fan of the visiting team.

    To get to Shea as well as the new Citi Field starting the 2009 season, take the #7 line to Queens. It is the penultimate stop before reaching the Queens end of the line. If you go to an evening weekday game early, you can catch the express train, signified by a 7 within a purple diamond which runs during rush hours.

    The food is typical and there is nothing special but it is good.

    The game presentation is nothing to speak of with a couple of exceptions including the great "Lazy Mary" played during the 7th inning stretch. The seating in the otherwise plain stadium is great - with the steep seating, you are on top of the action and there are no obstructed views that I could see.

    The Met fans are passionate and boisterous and that makes the experience all the better. If you are looking for Mets gear, check out the large tent outside the stadium across from the ticket window for merchandise.

  • 8. Yankee Stadium
    Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York

    Yankee Stadium is in The Bronx and can be easily reached by the Green #4 line. One should not drive to the park. It is not needed and therefore not necessary. The new park is right next door so the directions will be good for the new Yankee Stadium. Even though crowds at the subway station can be a bit daunting, driving is simply not a good option as crowds use up all nearby roads before and especially after the game.

    The game presentation is not the best but when you are the House that Ruth Built, you can forego some of the more silly trappings of newer and less traditioned parks.

    The food is not that bad - particularly the hot Italian sausage but beyond that, the food samples are fairly typical.

    Ushers at the park are a bit overzealous and over-reaching in their enforcement of rules and laws of the park. We were sitting behind home plate and by the 8th inning, with many having already left due to Yankee dominance, and my friend moved up to the row before us so that a little girl behind us could see better. An usher approached him and told him he must return to this seat. I'm not sure the purpose of this but it seemed unwarrented. However, it is their park and they can set the rules as they wish. So, when in Rome...

    Overall, Yankee Stadium is a great place with great fans to watch a game. Indeed, the nature of the fans, passionate and motivated, in part makes the experience. The history of the stadium is something not to miss. If you want to see the monuments in the outfield, get there very early because they close it down short of the game.

  • 9. Minute Maid Park
    Minute Maid Park, Houston

    Minute Maid Park is the home of the Houston Astros and the park is located on the far end of the downtown area, along route 59. It is as god-awful ugly on the outside as it is impressive from within - so impressive that while sitting at the game, you forget what a eye sore it is upon approaching.

    If you are coming to a game at Minute Maid Park, the best and really only way is to drive. There are some parking lots alongside the field but there are also several parking garages within walking distance including the one at the Convention Centre. However, if you get there early enough (about an hour and a half), you should have no problem finding a spot near the park). There is a light rail system but not much of one - it is slow and limited in area covered (only 7 miles) so you might as well drive in.

    The game presentation is great with some incredible "jumbotrons" and other screens that give the baseball fan all the information they could want. The park is massive on the inside with few bad seats.

    The food is pretty good but standard although one feature that is kind of cool is with each visiting team (I think this is right), during that series, they offer a meal representative of that place which I think is pretty cool and culturally aware.

    The place, when the roof is closed, is pretty comfortable - I've never been with the roof open. The Astro fans are a pretty excitable lot though when I went, they were playing the Cubs and there always seems to be way too many of those fans around.

    For an overall relaxing and comfortable experience, Minute Maid Park is nothing to look at but easy to enjoy.

  • 10. Coors Field
    Coors Field, Denver, Colorado

    Coors Field is a great experience but it is uniquely Denver. The best way to get to the stadium is to take the C or E train to Union Station and from there, it is a very easy and nice walk. There are various lots around Union Station and the Icehouse and I'm sure there are other lots nearby but I cannot speak to that. I believe the trains are best for those coming from south Denver.

    If you are scoring the game, there is plenty of information made available to the fan. The presentation is fantastic and the music is fun. The seats are pretty affordable and I sat near the first base line (about 5 rows from the field for about $30). The affordability is one of the big pluses of the park.

    The food is pretty good and I went with the Rocky Dog - a foot long Hebrew National (the only dog in my opinion) and is best served with onions and peppers. The Denver influence can be seen with two things that seem foreign and in my mind, out of place: a salad bar and a gluten-free stand. Welcome to Denver everyone! There is a great ice cream place in the outfield concourse, several microbreweries present and a slew of great food beyond the aforementioned offerings.

    If you want a great view of the Rocky Mountains, you might want to sit behind home plate in the upper levels. However, sometimes, that view can be cloudy and hazy.

    The park is beautiful, it is affordable, the food is great and the baseball is done well. It is a nice attraction and worth the visit.

  • 11. Kauffman Stadium
    Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

    Kauffman Stadium is one of the more beautiful parks I've ever seen. Truly the only way to get there is to drive. The parking is expensive ($9) but you pay so little for tickets, it does not seem right to complain too much. I sat on the front row along first base line for only $33. It is easily the most affordable place that I've visited. Now, the cynic would retort that it is due to the bad baseball but this is a young team and though the product on the field may be experiencing some growing pains, it is worth watching.

    The information on the "jumbotron" is beautifully presented and if you are scoring the game, it will give you everything you need to keep track of the pace and happenings of the game.

    Even though I was wearing the colors of the opponent, I was treated quite well and the fans are ardent but respectful and courteous.

    The food is not too bad, as I delved into the hot dogs at one of the "classic" stands. The buns are not stale and the hot dog is quite tasty. There are also a variety of other stands but nothing that seems to set the food apart from other parks. If there is something particularly special, I did not see it.

    I did not get to visit the Royals Hall of Fame out behind left field but by all accounts, it was something to visit if you get to the park early enough or don't mind missing some of the action.

    As I said before, the park is beautiful (especially the fountains), the food is decent and the fans are cool and courteous. It is worth your visit.

  • 12. Busch Stadium
    Busch Stadium, Saint Louis, Missouri

    St. Louis is arguably one of the best baseball towns in the country and my visit to Busch Stadium did not disappoint. The ballpark is new, the fans are rabid and knowledgable and the general experience is a pleasant one.

    To get to the park, the metrolink is probably the best best - with a stop right along the third base entry. However, to leave the park, you might want to consider other options. The crowd is staggering in its wait for the train. I'm not sure how many trains they run after games or how often the trains run but we decided to walk to our nearby hotel - about 20 minutes. From the looks of the line after the game, I imagine we beat people to our hotel.

    The beauty of the ballpark is that it is downtown and the skyline is framed by the outfield area. The game presentation is done well with the typical features (like a kiss cam and the like) but for the fan scoring the game, it can seem a bit disorienting to catch all the information. For a new park, much of their game information is scattered throughout the field. Now, I was on the first base line, a few ailes up from the field so I could see most everything. If you are elsewhere, I'm not sure that would be the case.

    The fans, their knowledge of the game and the spirit to cheer on the Cardinals, is one of the best parts of the experience. From little kids to little octogenarian ladies, everyone is decked-out in red and they know the game and cheer (or boo) accordingly. For the most part, they are polite and not obnoxious like you might find in New York or other places.

    Last but not least, the baseball is outstanding and I believe, given my limited experiences in St. Louis, were the Cardinals ever experience a downturn, the fans would still turn out in droves and be as passionate as ever.

    If you are a baseball fan, you can not claim baseball knowledge without visiting the scene in St. Louis. It rivals New York and Chicago as the center of baseball.

  • 13. Wrigley Field
    Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois

    Wrigley Field is one of the few true Meccas for any diehard baseball fan. You can get to it by taking the CTA's red line and detraining at Addison. Before the game, there is a host of bars and vending spots with which to busy oneself. There are many recommendations to go to the various bars around the park prior to or after the game. I would not recommend it. They are all jam packed full of drunks and a host of tourists. It is nearly impossible to get in without fighting through the crowds. If you want to watch the Cubs on TV in a bar setting, choose a neighborhood spot not far from where you are staying.

    Before coming here, I'd heard two schools of thought - one, it was a dump and a horrible place to watch a game and two, it was a classic venue that took you to the roots of baseball. I subscribe to the latter point of view. I thought the park was great. For the most part, it is much as it must have been in 1908 with the exception of a couple of small, digital screens and the typically loud production value that all sports teams feel the need to do over the loudspeaker. There's no jumbotron and while it takes time to adjust, I loved the experience. If you are scoring the game, you need to pay attention because there will not be information scattered about the park. I'm a history teacher and the historian in me mentally transported to the first decades of the park's life and I pictured myself enjoying the game in much the same way as we were today. Often, I looked to wife and said, "We are at Wrigley Field."

    The food there is not surprising but the brats and Italian sausage at the little red stands with the generic title "sausages" is the place to go. The Italian sausages are sold with bell peppers, onions and parmesan cheese and brats can go with kraut or it can go real simple with a strip of mustard. Both are delicious.

    The worst part of the experience are the fans, many of whom are there to be seen. Cub chic hit our culture at about the same time as herion chic. I'm not equating the two, merely bringing up a historical fact. I'll let you correlate where needed. There are plenty of good fans but keep in mind that many people in the park are not terribly interested in the game. For a more hard-core experience, sit in the outfield bleachers where the dialogue might get, no...scratch that, will get salty but they are rabid.

    If you can go to only a few baseball parks, this must be one of them.

  • 14. US Cellular Field
    Guaranteed Rate Field, Chicago, Illinois

    The horribly named U.S. Cellular Field is located in the south side of Chicago and can be reached using the Chicago Transit Authority's Red Line - the Sox/35th stop. There is a new monument to the 2005 or 2006 White Sox champions that is pretty interesting to see and often, there are live bands serenading the incoming baseball fans.

    A great deal has been done to the park since its unveiling in 1991 to create some of the old style park feel that is the rage now. The park is nice but I would also say a bit non-descript. There is no prominent feature to the park but I'm not sure there is a bad seat in the park. As for the presentation, the scoring fan will find all the information one needs and I thought it was cool that the jumbotron spends time to highlight the great players of the opposing team. I'm not sure I've seen that before.

    The food is fairly standard with the exception of the elote and esquite stands that sell corn with cayenne, mayo, butter and parmesan cheese. You normally only find stuff like this at lunch trucks in Hispanic neighborhoods (where I've enjoyed many) but to find it at the park was great. The park also has it share of brats to partake in but I cannot speak to those.

    I really enjoyed Comiskey for the game and that is the most important thing. They certainly reward their fans more than the team to the north with regards to winning efforts and success.

  • 15. Miller Park
    Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    Miller Park has been around longer than it seems but the shine has not worn off and it is a great place to watch a game. Assuming you don't travel to Milwaukee frequently, there is a greater than average chance that ballpark enthusiasts might be coming from Chicago. Amtrack has a train called the Hiawatha that leaves from Chicago's Union Station and you pull into Milwaukee's main train station about an hour and a half later. Once you arrive to the city, you need to walk north a couple of blocks to Wisconsin Ave. and pick up bus #90 - its last stop is at the ballpark. It will wait a while for passengers after the game is over.

    The park, like other retractable roof parks like Minute Maid in Houston, is quite ugly from the outside. It is difficult to create great ambiance with those massive iron slates on the roof. Inside, however and also like Houston, the park is stunning with a few holdovers from the previous stadium - including a neutered Bernie Brewer who slides, not into a faux glass of beer but now a simple platform. Apparently, the land of bratwurst and beer has decided that the previous slide destination was not politically correct any longer. It is a shame. There is a great kids area where they can test their baseball skills - it is extensive and impressive. The food is quite good with some notables being the wonderful brats and a little off the map - noodle stands called Wok Off Noodles.

    The presentation is wonderful as the jumbotron allows the scorer just about any kind of information you could want. Its extensive information will keep the baseball fan informed and on top of things.

    There are several other features that might interest the baseball enthusiast. There are a couple of statues on the outside of Robin Yount and Henry Aaron, a monument to the first and last Milwaukee Braves game played in the city and a hall of honor of famed Milwaukee Braves players inside the park.

    It is a great place to watch the game and worthy of a trip to Milwaukee.

  • 16. Nationals Park
    Nationals Park, Washington DC, District of Columbia

    The rather new park in Washington D.C., near the Navy Yard, is a good time and is easily accessible by the Green Line of the D.C. metro. Walking towards the park, there are a string of vendors which might be cost effective to buy drinks and the like instead of inside the park.

    The park itself does not have many special features, the Red Porch and Red Loft in center field not withstanding. However, the board in right center field is a great one for the scoring fan and provides every bit of information one can want. There did not appear to be a bad seat, certainly not an obstructed one, in the house and the spirit of the fans make this a decent park to visit.

    The features around the park are not as prevalent but they do have a few statues, including one of the great Josh Gibson. I will say the statues are a bit odd as the artist tried to show the motion of the player and the swinging of a bat includes about four or five bats in the motion to show the methodology. It might have been a cool concept but it appears odd. The best thing to me, as a history teacher, is a great display on the history of baseball in the nation's capital. It does not spare on the history, complete with banners, individual player profiles and the history of baseball display.

    The food was pretty standard but the one thing that I enjoyed were the Hebrew National hot dogs. I can no longer eat the generic, grayish hot dogs found and constantly seek the all-beef variety that answers to a higher authority. Beyond the dogs, I cannot speak to the variety of food but it was doing a brisk business.

    It was a nice experience and I really enjoyed the time, the park and the atmosphere.

  • 17. AT&T Park
    AT&T Park, San Francisco, California

    Some parks are wonderful in and of themselves. Others benefit from their surroundings and indeed, AT & T Park benefits from its location right on the water and creative and interesting design to draw people to the park. It is one of the best parks I've visited over the years and would love to return.

    To reach the park, one is best to take the municipal train, called MUNI. Take the N, K or T line to the 2nd and King stop. It gets a little crowded at the end of the game but the movement goes pretty quickly. There may be a BART rail that goes to the park but it was on strike when I was in the city and cannot speak to its services. The food is varied and tasty. There is a little food court in the left field section that offers a slew of options. There is nothing particularly unusual but the offerings are solid. For the scoring fan, the information is great. What I liked the most is that the information board with the line-ups and the like keep up with what each player did throughout a particular inning. So, if one is late getting back from the concession stand and missed the first batter, the information on the board will explain what happened with that player. The other statistics are easy to read and provides a great deal of detailed information.

    Overall, the park is beautiful and has a great atmosphere. I went for a Dodger game, the Giants' hated rival so the spirit was even more energetic but the feeling created a perfect scene. If one is cold-natured, it should be known that even in the middle of summer, it can get quite cold for evening games and indeed, people bring jackets and blankets to the game. As one from Texas who often goes to games in 100 degree weather, this blew my mind but I loved it. I enjoyed the park and there is much to see with statues outside of the park and displays within. I would love to return and hope I do. It is one of the better parks in the country.

  • 18. O.Com Coliseum- Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
    Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California

    Some parks are old but seem cool and historic. Some are old and just seem old. It is the latter category where the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum falls. To get there, it is best to take the Bay Area Rapid Transit or BART - unless they are on strike as they were when we were there. The entrance into the park is easy and the seats within are pretty good - indeed, there does not appear to be a bad seat in the house. Again, the house itself is pretty bad and therein lies the major problems.

    The seats are good but the information around you is not. The scoreboards are dated and fuzzy. The baseball scoring fan will have some difficulty maintaining up-to-date information. The out-of-town scoreboard is pretty good but it is so small, it would be difficult to see throughout the stadium. The food is rather ordinary with nothing special offered but the all-beef hot dogs are serviceable.

    This stadium is a call back to the cookie-cutter, multi-purpose facilities (it also is the home of the Oakland Raiders). The advantage of such a park from the fan point of view is the great views of the play on the field, though one can feel quite apart from the action. The major disadvantage, especially after seeing some of the newer parks, is that the coliseum is old, out dated, featureless and generally holds little interest. Even as a tourist attraction, there is not much to draw someone out of San Francisco to an otherwise industrial and run-down area of Oakland. When one sees the stadium and see the out-of-date features (trough urinals in the men's room?), it is little wonder that there has been repeated talks of moving the team because of the lack of municipal support. I can understand. After a couple of hours, I was ready to leave.

  • 19. Dodger Stadium
    Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California

    With regards to the west coast baseball parks, Dodger Stadium is as big as it gets in both its historicity and importance to the development of baseball. I've been quite excited to visit the park and it did not disappoint.

    First, the best way to reach the park is by driving. I did see one very lonely bus that seemed like a fish out of water but I'm not sure I would bank on public transit to arrive at Dodger Stadium. The parking is paid like a toll and one is directed to a particular parking area. Additionally, one's ticket determines which gate one is allowed to enter. That ticket also limits how much exploring one can do. We were told that our ticket gave us access to our seats (top reserved deck) and the food court one level below. The ticket people will re-direct people who try to enter the wrong gate.

    Once inside the park, I really enjoyed it. The design is very much 1960s and my wife likened it to something out of the Jetsons. It does have that feel with great looking pastel seat colors and the overall the presentation of the park is quite nice. From the upper deck, one can also have a great view of the Los Angeles skyline. We sat in the top upper deck right behind home plate and that is about a good of a seat (and cheaper) as one can find.

    The food is pretty good and the much-heralded Dodger Dog is everything it is advertised to be. All beef and grilled, it is one of the tastier dogs I've had. There are tacos and other options that looked just as good but I really enjoyed the Dodger Dog.
    The presentation is pretty nice with plenty of information and the two big screens in the outfield allows the scorer an easy time of it. My wife even enjoyed many of the information she read on the screens. The park has been recently renovated and it looks great. Additionally, each game begins with a breakdown of the match-up by the one and only Vin Scully. Don't know Vin Scully? Google him.

    Overall, I really enjoyed the park and game. It is a historic park and worthy of anyone trying to see the best parks (or all the parks) in the country.

  • 20. Angel Stadium of Anaheim
    Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim

    The surroundings of Angel Stadium is about as interesting as the massive parking lot in Kansas City or the urban blight around Minute Maid Park in Houston. We drove to the park and there is a massive parking lot to accommodate the cars which would suggest that not many fans approach the park via public transit.

    Inside the park, the newer structure is amazingly featureless. It has the faux rocks and waterfall in the outfield but beyond that, the park lacks much in the way of character and therefore, probably not as interesting for the non-baseball fan. The interior has some interesting sections including a child-centered skills area and a historical wrap up of the Angels' organization which was pretty interesting. The food is good and tasty with a large selection of sausages (can't go wrong with sausages). The field of vision is wide open with very little obstruction and the jumbotron was adequate in order to assist those scoring the games.

    The park is not the most interesting but there is a nice vibe. The getting in and out of the large parking lot is quite easy and should ease worries of those who think they should leave early to beat the traffic.

  • 21. Petco Park
    Petco Park, San Diego, California

    Petco Park is in downtown San Diego and opened in 2004, shortly after the Padres' appearance in the World Series. However, the new park, beautiful as it is, has not translated into wins and a large crowd. What it means is that there are plenty of seats available at a relatively reasonable rate. There is a single train that goes to the park but it is limited. Most people seem to drive though there is not a great deal of parking outside of set parking lots in the downtown area.

    One of the things that strikes the casual observer is the greenery found throughout the park, ranging from palm trees to hanging vine to a nice park just beyond the centerfield wall. It gives a nice feeling and aura to the park and something that makes it unique.

    Within the park, it is quite beautiful with some interesting displays including one on the history of San Diego baseball and of the neighborhood in which the current park is situated. There is a museum with plenty of information of those players and figures who have had their numbers retired by the organization. As they did Baltimore, San Diego maintained one of the buildings that once covered the area and built it into the park. The old warehouse brick and signage adds so much character to the facility. The food was average but we did not explore the culinary options that were available.
    I put Petco Park up there with PNC Park in Pittsburgh and Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City as one of the more beautiful ones in the country. It was not the best baseball but hopefully, the Padre fans will have something soon to cheer.

  • 22. Chase Field
    Chase Field, Phoenix

    Chase Field, an indoor field with a retractable roof, is a gorgeous park located in downtown Phoenix. From the outside, it looks atrocious - not unlike the Astros' Minute Maid Park, but within, a great deal of thought has gone into the features of the park and the information provided for fans. Phoenix does not have a mass transit system to speak of (with the exception of buses) and, therefore, the best way to reach the park is by car and parking in one of the handful of parking garages found nearby. Between them and the various lots a bit further out, you can expect to pay between $5-12.

    The park does not have the features for which many other parks are known. It does have a pool just behind the right field wall but from a baseball purist point of view, this is more shtick than anything else. There are some nice, old-style "out-of-town" scoreboards but for uniqueness, the most notable thing is the dirt track that runs from the pitching mound to home plate. All that said, it is a beautifully done and there does not seem to be a bad seat in the house.

    The information for the scoring fan is fantastic with the main board showcasing all the statistics one might need. Like a lot of new parks, sometimes one can be overwhelmed by the amount of information boards and information, but that is the way it seems to be going now. As for temperatures, if the outside temperature is over 100 degrees, they will close the roof according to the team. It does not always happen. They will close the roof within a couple of hours of first pitch but open it up just before the start of the game. For most people, the heat rises and the continued AC keeps things cool but if you are part of the hoi polloi in the upper deck, it might be a bit more toasty for you.

    Chase Field is a great place to see a game. The D-Backs are not at their best but they have a good team. The fans are passionate and the food is not bad. There is a great tamale stand on the lower level. There is also the disgusting, delicious creation called the Sonora Dog which is wrapped in bacon and served with ranch beans and pico de gallo. If that sounds good, come to the park hungry. All around, you will have fun.