Dodger Stadium review

DSC00265It 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 my MLB stadium rankings, click here.

MLB stadium rankings: #11-6

#11. CAMDEN YARDS: Orioles

Unfortunately, I did not see a game here either. Had I been able to see a game and witness a game-day atmosphere, this might be higher on my list. However, I did take a guided tour of the park and got to see the whole thing. Starting with the exterior of Camden Yards, this is a very attractive stadium. The exterior is all brown brick and looks great. I personally love it when the exterior of baseball stadiums are made of brick. Beyond the right field wall is an old warehouse building. Rather than tear down the warehouse during the construction of Camden Yards, the Orioles opted to keep it standing and incorporate it into the experience of the stadium. Today, it is used by the Orioles as an office building. Only once has the warehouse been hit on a fly by a baseball, and that came during the 1993 home run derby off the bat of Ken Griffey Jr. The exact spot where the ball hit is now marked on the building. Outside the park and behind center field is a big Babe Ruth statue. For someone who doesn’t know any better, they would be inclined think that Ruth once played for the Orioles. Obviously that was never the case, but he was born and raised in Baltimore. As for Camden Yards, this park has an “old-time” feel to it. I don’t know exactly why that is, but one of the first things I noticed when taking the tour was that it had an old-fashioned feel. My guess is because the seats are right on top of the field. Even while in the upper deck you still feel like you are up close to the action. One interesting fact that I learned while on the tour is that just behind the center field fence is a large area of grass. This grass is grown and kept healthy so that if any patches of grass on the field need to be replaced, the grounds-crew can take the grass from beyond the center field wall and place it on the field of play wherever needed. Just behind the bullpens in left-center field there is an open area with trees and benches for people to sit and eat during the game, which I thought was pretty nice. I am going to make it a point to return to Camden Yards to see a game in the future.

#10. TARGET FIELD: Twins

Let’s start with the exterior of the stadium. Almost every new park that has been built in the last 12 years or so has used either brick or stone Minnesota 028for it’s exterior, which I am a fan of. Target Field is no different. They used light and dark tan-colored stone tiles all around the outside of the stadium. Beyond the right field stands, there is a pretty cool area for fans to kind of hang out before or after each game. In this area, there are different food stands set up, as well as statues of former Twins players, such as Harmon Killebrew and Kirby Puckett. Also, there are big baseball bat-Minnesota 024like structures placed all in a straight line. At the base of each bat, the Twins have planted ivy with the hopes that in a number of years, all of the bats will be covered in the green ivy. I thought this was pretty cool. Once inside the park, one of the first things I noticed was how wide the concourse was. I would have to say that it might have been the widest, most open-air concourse that I have seen at a baseball stadium. Also, the playing field is completely visible from the concourse, which goes around the entire first level of the park. In theory, you could walk around the concourse the entire game and not miss a pitch. I was very impressed with this. The food at Target field was nothing special, but it wasn’t  bad either. One item that they do sell that I have never seen at a baseball stadium before is Root Beer. And believe it or not, the Twins have their own brand of Root Beer Minnesota 049called “Killebrew Root Beer.” My favorite drink is Root Beer, so this really helped score some points with me. After getting a hot dog and Root Beer, I made my way down to my seat and settled in for the game. One of the first things I noticed when I got to my seat was how “compact” the stadium was, for lack of a better term. If you take Busch Stadium, for example, that park is huge. When sitting in your seat there, you feel like you are sitting in an absolutely huge stadium. Target Field on the other hand, does not have that feel at all. The park is much smaller and compact. All of the seats are much closer to the field than they are at some other stadiums, like Busch Stadium. Behind the left field stands, there is one, big jumbo tron/scoreboard that provides player statistics and game statistics throughout the entire game. Above the right field stands, there is another scoreboard/screen, but this one is a bit smaller in size. Here, you are provided with more player statistics, as well as replays and videos (both scoreboards show videos). Something unique about the seating at Target Field is the shape of the right field stands. Starting from the center field-side of these seats, they slant downward as you move closer to the right field line. It is a pretty odd looking shape. As for the field itself, it has some of its own unique characteristics. The outfield wall varies in distance from home plate, from foul line to foul line. In left, the wall is 339 feet from home plate, left-center is 377 feet, center field is 404 feet, right-center is 367 feet, and right field is 328 feet. As I’m sure you noticed, right field has much shorter distances than left field. This is because the outfield wall is much higher in right field than it is in left field, which makes it harder to hit home runs. Also in right field, part of the seating hangs out over the warning track, which can create some difficult bounces for the right fielder, as well as make it a bit easier to hit home runs. Speaking of home runs, after each home run that the Twins hit, fireworks are shot into the air above the left field scoreboard. Compared to other stadiums that I have seen do this, however, Target Field’s fireworks are pretty weak. As far as the overall attractiveness of Target Field, I liked it a lot. If you are sitting along the third base/left field line, you get a decent view of the Minneapolis skyline above the right field stands. Also, all of the seats are a forest green color, which looks really good in baseball stadiums. This park has a Minnesota 050very modern feel to it. There is a lot of glass inside the park, which gives it that modern feel. From the 3 levels of skyboxes to the restaurant down the right field line (I believe it is a restaurant…), there seems to be more glass inside the park than most other stadiums. Another interesting thing about this stadium is that it does not have light towers on its roof. Most parks have big, towering lights that extend above its roof. At Target field, the lights are built into the face of the roof. I haven’t seen this at any other park. Once the game is over and you leave the stadium, make sure to head down 1st avenue. There are tons of bars and restaurants located there with indoor and outdoor seating. It’s a pretty cool setup.  If you live in the Midwest and want to take a road trip to see some baseball, I would recommend Target Field.

#9. MILLER PARK: Brewers

These last 9 are pretty tough for me to put in order, but my number 9 stadium that I have been to is Miller Park. I honestly do not have any complaints about this stadium. Being a Cubs fan and living just north of Chicago, I have been able to attend numerous games at Miller Park, and not just when the Cubs were in town. I thoroughly enjoy going up to Miller Park to see the Brewers take on any team just because of the park itself. From the outside, and the inside for that matter, Miller Park looks huge in size. It can be clearly seen from downtown Milwaukee, which is a couple of miles away. Once you arrive at Miller Park, the first thing you will notice is the number of people tailgating in the many parking lots that surround the stadium. It is pretty much a tradition for Brewers fans, and even opposing fans, to tailgate prior to the games. I would highly recommend taking part in this to anyone who goes to Miller Park in the future. Before entering the stadium, make sure to check out the Hank Aaron statue located near the 3rd base entrance to the park. Now, with me being a Cubs fan, whenever I go see the Cubs play at Miller Park, I always make sure to wear my Cubs jersey. As I said in my write-up on the old Busch Stadium, the most hostile environment I have ever witnessed as a Cubs fan is Miller Park. When these two teams play each other in Milwaukee, the intensity between the fans gets extremely high. I would recommend taking in a Cubs/Brewers game at Miller Park if you get the chance just because of the atmosphere. As for the stadium itself, it is definitely one of the best places in the MLB to watch a game. Every seat in the house is a good seat. While in your seat, it is hard to look past just how huge the stadium is. That always amazes me. The concourses here are all very wide open, and the playing field is always in sight. The food at Miller Park has to be some of the best in baseball. Their brats and Polish sausage are the two meals that I would most highly recommend. During the game, if a Brewers player hits a home run, “Bernie the Brewer” (their mascot) slides down a big slide that is located in left field. This may not seem that all that exciting now, but if you attend a Brewers game in Milwaukee, you will see just how much their fans love this tradition. Also, at the end of each game the roof at Miller Park opens or closes, depending on whether or not it was already open, just to show the fans how it works. Like I said in my Minute Maid Park write-up, they do the same thing there as well. If you are a true baseball fan, Miller Park is a must-see stadium.


DSC00638“The Cathedral” as it’s often called, is baseball’s mecca. It seems that every baseball player wants to one day play a game at Yankee Stadium. While the old stadium that watched Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, and many other legends take its field no longer exists, the new and current Yankee Stadium still possesses that certain “aura.” Recently, I was able to take in a Red Sox-Yankees game at the new stadium, and while there’s no doubt it is a nice stadium, nothing about it really stood out to me.

DSC00610The outside of the stadium is all white/tan cement, similar to the old park. It is very “neat” looking and has somewhat of an old-fashioned feel to it. As for the area surrounding the park, don’t go touring it. I spoke with a New York City police officer outside the stadium before the game and was told to not hang around the “immediate” ares following the game. That’s not always the most pleasing thing to hear when attending a ballgame.

Depending on which entrance you go through to get into the park, you may enter into the “Great Hall.” This is somewhat of an exterior concourse to the stadium. There are different DSC00645souvenir and food stands set up in the hall, as well as massive banners displaying the legends that once called Yankee Stadium their home. Definitely worth checking out. The only downside to this is that the “Great Hall” is completely blocked of the field of play.

The actual concourses at Yankee Stadium were very clean, but could probably have been made a bit wider. Near the ceiling in certain areas, there are pictures of some of the great players that once played for the Yankees, as well as some of the better events to take place in Yankees history. This was a a nice touch.

If you’re a food lover, you’ll probably enjoy Yankee Stadium. There is a wide variety of food available at the park. Everything from burgers and hot dogs, to cheesesteaks and Brother Jimmy’s BBQ (a local favorite) are available around the park, along with other items.

DSC00622One of the stadium’s best and most famous features is Monument Park. This is an area just beyond the center field wall that fans can walk through and look at the plaques of the Yankees’ greatest players in history. I would have loved to have seen this, however I was unaware that the park closes 45 minutes prior to the start of the game. Something to make note of if you plan on going to a Yankee game. The Yankees also have a museum at the stadium, which is sort of like a Yankees Hall of Fame.

As for the playing field itself and its surroundings, there’s nothing too unique about it. They tried to build this stadium similarly to the old one, and I have to admit the two do look a little alike. The outfield consists of a back drop of big advertisements and a couple of video boards. That’s about it. In centerfield, there is a big party room or restaurant that people and corporations can rent out each game. However, that leads me to my biggest complaint about this stadium.

DSC00629The big party room/restaurant that I just mentioned was built in such a way that it prevents fans sitting in left and right field from seeing half the field. If you’re sitting in the right field bleachers, you cannot see the entire left side of the field. If you’re in left field, you cannot see the right side of the field. How on earth a brand new, billion dollar stadium could be built with a major flaw like this just blows my mind. This really lost Yankee Stadium some points in my book.

Other than the outfield bleachers, there’s not a bad seat in the house. The upper deck is way the heck up there, but none of its views are obstructed. I will say this though. Yankee Stadium is huge, so the seats are not real close to the field like they are in some other new DSC00640parks. I’d say that of the parks I’ve been to, Yankee Stadium and Busch Stadium in St. Louis are the two biggest. The seats at both stadiums are ways away from the field, especially the higher up you get. I’m not criticizing either stadium for that, I’m just pointing it out.

All in all, Yankee Stadium is a very nice and modern stadium. They did a good job of preserving a lot of the Yankee history in this new park, which I was hoping would be the case. There’s a lot at Yankee Stadium that you simply just have to see. Writing about it here won’t do a whole lot of good.

#7. COORS FIELD: Rockies

It was extremely tough for me to decide whether or not this should be number 8 or 7, but because of the setting of Coors Field, I made it my number 7 stadium. Coors Field sits a mile above sea-level, along with the rest of Denver. The surrounding environment around the city is what puts Coors Field at number 7 on my list, like I previously mentioned. The Rocky Mountains can be seen off in the distance behind the left field stands at Coors Field, which I though was really cool. The exterior of Coors Field is all brick, which instantly grabbed my attention. At the top of the exterior of the stadium and behind home plate, there is a big clock. This is one feature that I have only seen at Coors Field, and nowhere else. Inside the stadium, the concourses are all quite wide and allow you to always see the field. Also, the walls around the concourses are all brick as well. Normally the interior and exteriors of stadiums look different, but at Coors Field they decided to carry the brick on over into the concourse, which I really liked. Once you are in your seat, the scenery is great. The stadium itself is very attractive, but the backdrop to the outfield helps to make it even better. In center field, they have created a “mini forest” for the batter’s-eye. This was a very appropriate choice considering that there are plenty of forests in the Rocky Mountain area. Possibly the most interesting feature of the park is the row of purple seats that stretches from the end of the right field upper deck, all the way over the end of the upper deck down the left field line. This row marks one mile in elevation. Unless you know what the purple seats mean, they can really make you wonder while at the game. To get the best view of the Rocky Mountains while at Coors Field, you should sit in the upper deck down the right field line. You might also catch a good sunset from those seats as well. This is a great park to visit.

#6. Bush Stadium: Cardinals

I had been wanting to go and see a game at this park ever since the day it opened its gates. What a park! It all starts with the exterior of Busch Stadium. When walking up to the park, I could not help myself from becoming mesmerized by the incredible, brown brick 12821_5355_mexterior of the stadium. Now I know that when some one says “The brown bricks on that building were amazing,” that doesn’t seem all that exciting. But really, the exterior of this stadium is my favorite of any park I have been too, and that’s saying something.  While still outside the stadium, make sure to go and check out the different statues located along the west side of the park. There is a small area with statues of players such as Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, and many more. The interesting part about these statues is that they are all smaller than the normal statue that you are used to seeing outside of most pro sports stadiums. If you continue walking toward the home plate entrance along the outside of the west side of the park, you will come across a full-sized statue of Stan Musial, which is really cool. After seeing the whole exterior of the stadium, I could not wait to get inside. The concourses here are fairly wide and allow for people to walk around the park comfortably. However, they could be a bit wider. Also, the playing field is not visible while in the concourse, which I was not too happy about. I like to be able to walk around the park in the concourse and still be able to see the game/field. The concourse opens up into an open air walkway behind the left field bleachers where you can get some pretty cool views of the park looking towards home plate. Once in your seat, you can really start to take in the scenery. One of the first things I noticed was just how massive the place is. Other parks like Camden Yards or AT&T Park are more compact and not so huge. I personally don’t have much of a preference, but I thought the size of Busch Stadium was pretty amazing. While in your seat, especially if you are sitting along the first base line or behind home plate, you get an amazing view of the St. Louis skyline beyond the left/center field stands. It is quite the sight. All of the seats at Busch Stadium are Cardinal red, for obvious reasons. The reason I am mentioning this is because sometimes stadiums with red seats don’t look so great. Bush Stadium, however, was able to pull it off and make the red seats a part of the overall attractiveness of the park. In right field, there are two scoreboards that provide you with statistics on the batter, pitcher, and  both teams, as well as other game scores from around the league. The scoreboard on the left also shows replays and video clips. As for the atmosphere at Busch Stadium, I would give it a “B.” St. Louis has always been said to have possibly the best baseball fans in the MLB. They draw over 3 million fans pretty much every year, and on most nights almost the entire stadium is full. The reason I am not giving its atmosphere an “A” is because the fans were not always paying much attention to the game, even during some of the most important times. On numerous occasions, including the 8th inning with the score tied, people were trying to start “the wave,” which I cannot stand. This was by far the biggest flaw that I witnessed throughout the game. Pushing that aside, Busch Stadium very much impressed me. I had high expectations heading into my trip to see the park, and it definitely lived up to those expectations. I would HIGHLY recommend seeing a game here if you are a baseball fan.

For 5-1, click here.

Petco Park review

DSC00190I had heard a number of times that Petco Park is one of the nicest stadiums in baseball. This was one of the modern parks that I most wanted to see. Finally, I got to see a game there. After seeing games at PNC Park, AT&T Park, and Busch Stadium (a few of the nicest modern parks), I had some optimistic expectations for Petco, and I was thankfully not disappointed.

The outside of Petco Park is made of all tan/brown stone or brick tiles. The coloring DSC00164perfectly matches much of the architecture in southern California. Also on the exterior were a number of balconies with flowers or bushes growing over the edges. Again, this perfectly blended in with the architecture in the area and helped give the stadium a bit of a “Mexican” feel too it.

When you are going to enter the park, I highly recommend entering behind the left-center stands. This takes you into the area behind the outfield DSC00182where they have the Park in the Park. This is a really cool area that is all grass and hilly. Fans can purchase tickets to sit in this area where they can picnic, play catch, and have fun during the game, all while having a view of the field in front of them. There is even a mini little league field where kids can play whiffle ball. For fans who don’t have a great view of the playing field, there is a large video screen on the back of the batters-eye that shows a live feed of the game being played. This Park in the Park is one of the most unique, but nicest features I have seen at an MLB stadium.

Going along with the Park in the Park theme, the stadium designers added another cool feature behind the outfield fence. Just beyond the right-center wall, there is a large area of sand. In this are, kids can play in the sand during the game, and there are even beach DSC00175chairs in place so that people can sit barefoot in the sand and watch the game (you need a specific ticket for those “beach seats.”) Behind this sand area are numerous rows of backless seats. The interesting part about this is that the ground, if that’s what you want to call it, is all grass in this area as well.

The main-level concourse here is great. It is very spacious and allows you to have a view of the field at almost all times. One negative about the concourse is that it is very confusing and “zig zagging” at times, especially in the left field area. It is tough to describe in writing what I mean, so I guess you’d just have to see it to understand. That is the only complaint that I have regarding the concourse, however.

The food selection at Petco is very good. They have everything from hot dogs, to brats, to Mexican food, to barbecue and seafood. I personally went with a BBQ beef brisket sandwich, which was very good.

The seating here is excellent. I sat in the lower level down the right field line and had a great view of the entire field. Based on what I saw while walking around the park, pretty much every seat is a good seat except the ones in right-center that I described a little earlier. Those seats somewhat block your view of part of center field and left field. One of DSC00177the most unique things about the seating were some of the sky-boxes. There were sky-boxes built into the light towers down both the left and right field lines, which was pretty cool.

The scoreboard, which sits in left field, was not too big, nor too small. It provided me with all the the information that I wanted while watching the game, and I always like a lot of statistics. It also provides replays and other videos throughout the game.

The fans in San Diego were not great, but they weren’t bad either. They were definitely into the game being played, but they were also frequently sidetracked by doing the wave and batting beach balls around. I hate when fans do that stuff, so that was a big negative to me.

All in all, this was really a very nice park and lived up to expectations. While I wouldn’t rate it quite as high as PNC Park or AT&T Park, this is one of the best stadiums in baseball. I would really encourage you to see a game at Petco Park if you’re ever in San Diego.

I will have reviews of both Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium coming in the next couple of days.

For my MLB stadium rankings, click here.