Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Five Best Ballparks in Baseball

Ok, so the biggest baseball news of today is Rafael Soriano finally signing a contract with the Yankees.  It's worth three years, $35 million dollars and gives the Yankees an upgrade in the 8th inning, in order to bridge the gap to closer Mariano Rivera.  Unfortunately, Andy Pettitte told Brian Cashman not to count on him to pitch this season, so the Yankees' only problem now is having their shaky rotation actually get through seven good innings, consistently, so that Soriano and Rivera can pitch with a lead.  Anyway, on to the topic of today's post: the five best ballparks in baseball.

1. Wrigley Field- Chicago
Even if I wasn't a huge Cubs fan, Wrigley would be at the top of my list.  It's the second oldest park in the Majors, built in 1914. (Fenway is first, built in 1912).  Here is a list of things that make Wrigley the best, in no particular order: the ivy, the scoreboard, day games, the wind blowing out, the marquee, Wrigleyville, great seats (even in the upper deck), take me out to the ballgame in the middle of the seventh inning (don't try and tell my that another ballpark does it better), and every once in awhile the Cubs might win.  You won't find great amenities at Wrigley, but that isn't why you go to the north side of Chicago.  You go for great sight lines and the chance to enjoy a ballgame on a warm summer afternoon.

2. AT&T Park- San Francisco
The Giants home park has one of the best locations in all of baseball: right in San Francisco and right next to the Bay.  It opened in 2000 and has the retro design that is popular today.  The big glove and Coke bottle in left and McCovey Cove in right are just some of the main attractions at AT&T.

3. PNC Park- Pittsburgh
PNC Park is home to the Pirates and is a huge upgrade over the Pirates old stomping grounds, Three Rivers Stadium.  With a capacity of only 39,000, PNC is intimate and every fan can feel close to the action.  PNC has limited luxury boxes compared to other Major League parks, which allows the upper deck to be closer to field level.  There are great views of Pittsburgh's skyline and of the yellow Roberto Clemente bridge.  As a new park, PNC also has tons of different concession options, if you're not in the mood for a ballpark dog.  And finding a seat is never hard, as the Pirates are basically the equivalent of a AAA team.

4. Target Field- Minneapolis
Opened in 2010, Target Field is the newest field in Major League Baseball.  Fans in Minnesota haven't had outdoor baseball since 1981, and Target Field hasn't disappointed.  Just like PNC Park, Target Field sits around 39,000 and everyone is close to the action.  Target Plaza, just inside the ballpark, allows fans to learn about Twins history and the park offers great views of downtown Minneapolis.

5. Oriole Park at Camden Yards- Baltimore
Opened in 1992, Oriole Park at Camden Yards started the retro ballpark revolution.  Many of the parks built after Camden Yards tried to emulate the park in Baltimore.  Camden Yards sports the classic red brick exterior and the warehouse in right field is one of the most well known objects in baseball.  The park is within walking distance of downtown Baltimore and the harbor.

So there is my list of the top five ballparks in baseball.  I know I'm probably going to get a lot of crap from people about leaving Fenway off of this list.  Yes, Fenway does have some good things, but it's also cramped and has terrible sight lines (unless you're paying a ton of money for the best seats).  If you want to go to an old park, I'd recommend Wrigley over Fenway.

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