MLB stadium rankings: #22-17

It is my goal to make it to every stadium in Major League Baseball, and so far I have been to 22 of them. Here, I have ranked all of the stadiums I have been to in order of my least favorite, to my favorite. When ranking the stadiums, I take all things into account from appearance, atmosphere, seating, food, etc.

#22. MILWAUKEE COUNTY STADIUM: Braves/Brewers

As we all know, this stadium is now long gone, thanks to Miller Park. When County Stadium was still around, however, there wasn’t much to it to write home about. It was by no means an attractive stadium, and had very little excitement surrounding it. I guess the most “unique” thing about it was Bernie’s slide in the outfield. One thing that this stadium had that all new parks are without is some history. Some of baseball’s greatest players played in games at Milwaukee County Stadium. Hank Aaron called it “home” for sometime. Others such as Willie Mays, Ernie Banks, Roberto Clemente, etc. played in games here as well. However, with all of that considered, Milwaukee County Stadium finds itself last on my list.

#21. ROGERS CENTRE: Blue Jays

First off, no baseball stadium should have its name end in “Centre/Center.” Second of all, in today’s day in age, no MLB team should have to play on artificial turf anymore. With that said, Rogers Centre in Toronto, home of the Blue Jays, is quite an interesting place. The first thing I noticed when I entered the building was that their concourses were all carpeted. I had never seen that before at a baseball stadium. Another odd thing about this stadium is that the seats along the left and right field lines retract to make more room for the Canadian Football League games that are played there. Also, there is a hotel located in center field at Rogers Centre. People staying there can look right out there windows onto the field, or they can step out onto the balcony and watch the game. As for the atmosphere, this place can get pretty loud when the roof is closed. The fans that do show up get pretty into the game. Speaking of the roof, it is 31 stories high and was the first fully retractable roof in the world. All in all, Rogers Centre should not play host to baseball games.

#20. OLD BUSCH STADIUM: Cardinals

Even though I have this so low on my list, I really did enjoy being at the old Busch Stadium. It was built during the middle of the “bowl” era, along with Three Rivers Stadium, Veterans Stadium, and Fulton County Stadium. One cool thing about this place was that, being in St. Louis with the St. Louis Arch, they created mini arches along the top of the stadium, as you can see in the picture. I would have to bet that a lot of people who attended a game here never realized the significance of that, or never even noticed the arches. The atmosphere at old Busch Stadium was pretty intense for each game. When I was there, I was there to see the Cubs take on the Cardinals. The only other atmosphere that I have seen get as hostile as this one when the Cubs were in town is Miller Park, but I’ll get to that later. Another thing that I thought was unique was that the walkways to get from one level to the next wrapped around the outside of the stadium. As you would walk up/down these walkways, you could look right out onto the street and the city. This was not a bad place to see a game.

#19. U.S. CELLULAR FIELD (formerly Comiskey Park): White Sox

Prior to this past weekend, I hadn’t been to the Cell in almost 10 years or so. During that gap in time, U.S. Cellular Field endured some renovation projects that really did make the park a lot nicer to look at. Before going down to the game this weekend, I didn’t think very highly of the park based on what I had seen when I was there in the past. Now, I have some new and similar opinions compared to the ones that I had before this past weekend.

The outside of the stadium looks pretty cool. I’m not a huge fan of concrete exteriors, but it doesn’t look all that bad on the Cell. Walking up to the stadium from the east you get a cool view of the park from beyond the left field bleachers. You’re also walking over the Dan Ryan expressway at the same time. When you get up to the stadium on the north side of the park, there is a really cool Chicago sports store that sells merchandise for the Sox, Cubs, Bulls, Bears, and Blackhawks. I would recommend checking this place out. On the second floor of the store, you can actually have your game ticket scanned and then walk over a bridge (over 35th street) and into the park. The store and stadium are connected by this walkway/bridge.

My seat was in the upper deck for this game. Apparently at U.S. Cellular Field, if your seat is not in the first level, you are not allowed to walk around the park on the main level. You are restricted to whichever level your seat is on. If you have read any of my past write-ups on MLB stadiums, you know by now that one of my favorite things to do is walk around each park that I go to. Well, since I was restricted this past weekend to only the upper level of the park, I couldn’t walk around the whole stadium. This really hacked me off. No other park in baseball that I have been to (17 of them) has had this “rule.” So since I wasn’t able to walk around the lower level of the park, I got a good look at the upper level concourse.

The concourse on the upper level was actually pretty spacious, considering the stadium was built in 1991. The playing field is not visible while walking around the concourse, but that’s the way that every upper deck in baseball is. Along the field-side of the concourse, the wall was lined with old pictures from the White Sox’ history. This was a nice touch and provided something interesting to look at/read while walking along the concourse. The food seemed to be pretty decent. I had a pulled pork sandwich, which wasn’t great nor bad.

The playing field itself is not the most attractive in baseball, but it’s not terrible either. When the park was first built, the big “wall” behind the outfield stands used to be made up of white pillars. Since the renovations were done on the park, those pillars holding up the advertisements have now been painted black, which looks a lot better than the white did. The original seats that were put into the park were blue, but have since been switched to a dark green color. Again, the dark green looks a lot better than the blue. Also, a small deck/patio area was built above and behind the left field bleachers during renovations. They call it the “Fundamentals” area where kids can get some quick baseball tips and lessons I believe. Don’t quote me on that. The scoreboard in dead center field is nothing great. They carried over from the old Comiskey Park the lollipop-looking circles that sit atop the scoreboard. Aside from that, there’s nothing too interesting about it. The screen on the scoreboard that shows replays and videos is pretty small in comparison to other parks. This screen also provides statistics about each player during the game, and give the score of the game obviously. Behind the right field bleachers is another screen that gives more statistics as well as the batting order for each team. Just beyond the center field wall there is a black platform that is covered in green ivy which looks pretty nice. It acts as the batter’s eye.

Going back outside the park, the surrounding area is a lot nicer and safer than what it used to be. There is about a 3-4 block perimeter surrounding the park that has been nicely redone and is now much safer to walk around than it used to be. Just don’t stray too far outside that area…

That’s pretty much all I can write about regarding this park for now. Maybe in the future I’ll get to access the lower level.

#18. CHASE FIELD: Diamondbacks

I never actually saw a game here, but I did get to see the stadium. From the outside, this place looks like a huge airplane hangar. You don’t realize it’s a baseball stadium until you’re close enough to read the signs on the side of the stadium. Once you’re inside, you can tell how large this place actually is. The upper deck here is one of the bigger upper decks I have seen, in terms of the number of rows that it has. The scoreboard in center field is pretty cool. It has a very nice HD screen that makes it easy for everyone to read. Also, a swimming pool is located in right-center field that fans can swim in and hangout at during the game. I’m pretty sure you must have purchased a specific ticket to be able to do that. The most unique feature of Chase Field has to be the walkway/porch that sits right below the scoreboard. This area actually hangs over the warning-track and has caused some odd ricochets in the past that have led to multiple inside-the-park home runs. I definitely want to go back to Chase Field to see a game.

#17. DODGER STADIUM: Dodgers

DSC00265

It is the third oldest park in the big leagues and has quite a bit of history to go along with it. For those reasons, I really wanted to see a game at Dodger Stadium. After finally doing so, I must say that this is one of the more unique parks in baseball because of its location.

Known as “Chavez Ravine,” Dodger Stadium is just that. The stadium sits in a ravine, which makes hard to even tell that their is a baseball stadium at that site. As you are approaching the gates to the parking lot, you would never know that their is a baseball stadium sitting on the other side of the hill/mountain to your left. Then once you get into the parking lot, you can finally see the lights and part of the exterior of the stadium. Speaking of the parking lot, I have never seen a larger parking lot at an MLB stadium than at Dodger Stadium.

Because the stadium is built into a mountain, there really isn’t much of an exterior to the stadium like there is at all modern parks.

The first really odd thing about this park that I noticed was the location of its entrances. When I entered the park, I entered through what would be the home plate entrance at most parks. Here, however, that same entrance takes you straight into the upper deck behind DSC00261home plate. I have never seen a park like this in that you can enter the stadium on its highest level. Just outside the entrance on this level, all of the Dodgers’ retired numbers are placed along the sidewalk with little write-ups about the player who wore that specific number. This was pretty cool.

Once inside the park, in my case the upper deck, you get an immediate great view of the field. You also realize just how high up you are. The upper deck behind home plate at Dodger Stadium is one of the highest and steepest upper decks in baseball. It reminded me a lot of the upper deck at U.S. Cellular Field before they renovated it. Because my seat was on the loge (second) level, I had to take an elevator down to that section of the park.

Because my seat was on the second level of the stadium, I was not allowed to go down to the first level. This kind of irritated me, but I can understand their reasoning. However, I think that regardless of where your seat is, you should still have access to the entire park. Also, the bleacher sections here are separated from the rest of the stadium and you must have a ticket to enter the outfield sections.

DSC00277The concourse on the second level was not horrible, but not great. Since the park was built in the early 60’s, the walkways were a little narrow and not very attractive. I felt like I was looking at a lot of grey concrete. The good part about the concourse was that the field was always in plain view. I like being able to walk around the park and still see the game.

The food at Dodger Stadium was mediocre I thought. Their “Dodger Dogs” were good, but overrated. There weren’t really any foods that jumped out at me or caught my eye while looking over the available options. Some parks, like San Diego, have a ton of choices and unique options.

One of the best features of Dodger Stadium was located in the concourse. Behind most of the seating sections there were counter tops set up for people to stand, eat their food, and watch the game. I took advantage of this and ate my Dodger Dog here. I love being able to get food and go stand somewhere to watch the game while eating.

The seating here was another one of the stadium’s best features. All seats, at least in the second level, were angled toward home plate so that you didn’t have to have your head turned the whole time. Also, the sections only consisted of about 8-10 seats per row, which was nice. That way if you have to get up in the middle of the game, you don’t have to walk through many people to get to the aisle.

In your seat while panning over the field and outfield, you’ll notice that there aren’t too many advertisements. This was a big plus with me as I hate when stadiums are just loaded with ads. The outfield doesn’t have much going on. There are two sections of outfield seating, DSC00292both separate from the rest of the stadium, and both separated from one another by the batter’s eye in center field. There is a large video screen behind both outfield sections that provide replays and statistics throughout the game. Basically, nothing really unique going on out there.

Behind the outfield and off in the distance, you can clearly see the mountains. This helps add some scenery to the park, and really does help make the stadium more attractive.

One of two downsides to this park while sitting in your seat was the batter’s eye itself. At Dodger Stadium, the batter’s eye is really just some black “walls” and mesh, along with a big speaker tower. Other stadiums were able to make their batter’s eye fit in with the rest of the park, but not here. All of that black in center field is just ugly.

The other downside that briefly mentioned is the speaker system. All of the sound that you hear during the game (songs, the PA, etc.) come from that one speaker tower in center field. While this part wasn’t exactly bad, the volume was bad. I thought that the songs and all of that stuff were a little loud for a baseball game. But that’s just me.

The atmosphere at Dodger Stadium was pretty weak. The park was only about half full, and the fans weren’t really that into the game. They did the wave a few times, and I noticed a number of beach balls bouncing around the stands, a couple of which made their way onto the field.

Taking everything into consideration, this was not a bad park, given its age. It could use some upgrades, especially along the concourse, but it was really a nice park. Because it is Dodger Stadium, and because of its location and history, I would recommend seeing a game here if you’re a baseball fan. Non-baseball fans may not enjoy it quite as much.

For 16-12, click here.

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2 thoughts on “MLB stadium rankings: #22-17

  1. Nice post Kurt. I am a Jays fans and yes the Rogers Centre / Sky dome was great initially – now, not so much. But on a sunny summers day, with the CN tower in the background, its pretty good however.

    A couple of buddies and I will be on a road trip in May, taking in games in Chicago, Kansas, Cincinnati, St Louis and Atlanta, plus 3 AAA games in Des Moines, Indy, Louisville and Nashville. Looking forward to St Louis and the Reds stadium, although now intrigued by your comments re: Great American Ballpark.

    Blogging about the build up to the trip and also will be doing live blogging on the trip too – please do follow! Cheers
    Matt
    http://kingofthepunditslive.wordpress.com/

    • Thanks for the feedback! I honestly really did enjoy the Rogers Centre while I was there. It was a great experience. I also loved the city of Toronto. I’ve been to many cities, and Toronto is right up there with the best of them.

      I’m jealous of you and your friends. I’d love to go on a big road trip like that. Cincinnati, like I said in my blog, could have gotten a better park than they did, but it’s still nice. It’s good place to see a game, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

      I plan on reading your blogs about your trip. Good luck!

      -Kurt

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