By Sam Kroin
Yes, I really did this. I really sat down for 4 combined hours when I damn well could have been getting some actual work done in order to make this list. If you don’t agree with my rankings, not my problem. Because this is an opinion piece, and if you can’t deal with that, then you should leave now (please don’t I worked really hard on this). The MLB presents a wide variety of ballparks from indoor to outdoor, big to small, and old to new. And I have ranked them all from worst to best.
TIER 6: STRAIGHT TRASH
30. Tampa Bay Rays: Tropicana Field
You know that your stadium is bad when it literally becomes a safety hazard for everyone in attendance. Long after it is inevitably destroyed, Tropicana Field will stay memorable for literally adding a new rule to the game of baseball. There are several different catwalks on the roof of the field, and the amount of bases awarded to a runner depends on which catwalk the ball hits…. Nuff said
29. Miami Marlins: Marlins Park
This stadium is downright ugly. Even with the recent renovations that said goodbye to those green walls, the home of the Marlins remains an eyesore. The only saving grace for this stadium was the giant sculpture in center field, however that was removed in renovation. Marlins park has an ugly, depressing nature, that goes hand in hand with the on field quality.
28. Oakland A’s: O.CO Coliseum
There is some hope that the departure of the Oakland Raiders will lead to the renovation of the coliseum, but for now, it looks terrible. The A’s stadium was the only MLB stadium to split time as a home to an NFL team, and it shows. That horrendous upper deck that was constructed for Raiders games remains an eyesore as it is always left empty for the A’s, and the overall shape of the stadium just feels awkward, like it’s not meant for baseball.
27. Toronto Blue Jays: Rogers Centre
“This stadium is amazing!” is what somebody would say about the Rogers Centre if we were in the 80’s. What was originally intended to be a futuristic stadium has now been passed over by the times, becoming a relic similar to tomorrowland. The blue seats and walls stand out too much, and the lack of dirt between the bases is not a good look. While some stadiums such as yankee stadium and wrigley field have stood the test of time, Rogers Centre looks out of place in today’s MLB. Bonus points for the in-stadium hotel though.
TIER 5: BELOW AVERAGE
26. Chicago White Sox: Guaranteed Rate Field
Guaranteed Rate Field really suffers from being located so close to arguably the most iconic baseball stadium of them all in Wrigley Field, but that’s not the only thing holding it back. The stadium is simply too big, and the seat elevation seems like it might not even be safe. This is also just a very basic stadium, with no features that make it stand out.
25. Texas Rangers: Globe Life Park
Another stadium that suffers from being too big, Globe Life Park truly represents Texas. The heat at Rangers games is noted to be overwhelming and the on field play isn’t great either. This stadium tries (and fails) to make a lot of gimmicks work, such as the overhanging upper deck and whatever that thing in center field is supposed to be. The Rangers took some risks, and they didn’t pay off.
24. Milwalkee Brewers
If you couldn’t tell by this point, I really don’t like indoor stadiums. Baseball is a sport that should be played outside, it’s just the nature of the game. Stuffing all those seats inside an indoor space makes Miller Park feel a little cramped. Also, all the old scoreboards and walls don’t give the stadium a classic vibe, instead making it feel outdated. Miller Park does have some bright spots though, the atmosphere is great inside the stadium and that slide is an original idea native to Miller Park.
23. Seattle Mariners: T-Mobile Park
This is one of the biggest ballparks in baseball, with a capacity of over 47,000. The overlooking roof over the right field bleachers is an interesting touch that doesn’t bother me too much. I’m not really a fan of the dark green and blue that overpowers this stadium, but the Mariners have to work with their own colors, so I won’t fault them that much for that.
22. Cleveland Indians: Progressive Field
Progressive field is in a prime location with a great view of downtown Cleveland, but the actual stadium isn’t much to look at. The towering wall in left field looks out of place compared with the rest of the outfield, and there is way too much space behind the plate. Also, the 3 level suites along the 3rd base line ruin the symmetry of the upper decks.
21. Atlanta Braves: SunTrust Park
People have been raving over this stadium since it opened in 2017, but I’m not sure what all the hype is about. There are no standout features to the stadium, and the view is not that great. Once again, I do not approve of the dark green walls, and the Braves don’t have an excuse, since green is nowhere to be found in their color scheme. The saving grace for this stadium is that it is very new, so all the facilities and the game experience should be quality. Also, the tomahawk chop is great at Braves games.
20. Arizona Diamondbacks: Chase Field
The panels behind the outfield wall and the retractable roof make this stadium a sight to behold. If you decide to go to Chase field, you will not have a bad time. The countless restaurants, bars, and the famous swimming pool will take care of that. The problem with this stadium lies in its size. Chase field was built way too big, and this leads to an empty upper deck section that takes away from the stadium atmosphere.
TIER 4: NOTHING TO HATE, NOTHING TO LOVE
19. Washington Nationals: Nationals Park
Nationals park is a perfect representation of the “meh” tier of the list. There is really nothing wrong with it, the seating is good and the stadium is a good size, but it has no defining characteristics. Try and think of something interesting about Nationals Park… you really can’t. This is a basic stadium that does nothing wrong, but in order to be higher on the list you can’t just be good, you have to be great.
18. Detroit Tigers: Comerica Park
This park has some nice little features to it that would surprise you. The stone tigers that surround the stadium, coupled with the home plate-shaped dirt, are some quality aesthetic choices. The downtown view of Detroit is also much better than you would think. It’s a solid stadium, so it’s right in the middle of the list.
17. Minnesota Twins: Target Field
This is a really, really nice ballpark in a very nice city. The limestone backstop and wall next to the left-field foul pole are great touches, as well as the overhanging upper decks in the outfield that make the place feel like something of a cauldron. The Twins logo high above center field is a nice touch which adds some flair to the stadium. I don’t like the LED outfield walls, and I think that they are too high in left field. If you want to make an absurdly high wall, don’t half-commit.
16. Colorado Rockies: Coors Field
This is a pretty solid stadium to visit… if you can handle the altitude. There really aren’t that many distinguishable features to this stadium. The Denver skyline looks nice and the home run numbers are off the charts. Seriously, how are there no Rockies in the All Time home run leaders?
15. Philadelphia Phillies: Citizens Bank Park
The home of the Phillies is the smallest ballpark in major league baseball, leading to a lot of home runs. The double decker bullpen out in center field is a cool concept native to Citizens Bank Park, and a view of Philadelphia adds a nice aesthetic. Other than those features though, there is not much to talk about. Also, I’m not really a fan of putting the scoreboard on the right field wall, it just looks weird.
14. Cincinnati Reds: The Great American Ballpark
I tried to get this as high up on the list as possible because I love some water views, but this park doesn’t have enough to get beyond no. 14. Obtaining a view of the Ohio river comes at the cost of facing the stadium away from downtown Cincinnati, instead treating the fans to a great look of awe-inspiring Northern Kentucky. The dimensions of this stadium are also a bit odd, causing it to feel cramped at times.
TIER 3: A GREAT PLACE TO WATCH SOME BASEBALL
13. St Louis Cardinals: Busch Stadium
Busch Stadium is a classic MLB park that has everything you need to watch a baseball game. The view of the city, complete with the Gateway Arch, is great, and the stadium is a perfect size. However, there is not much else that the Cardinals stadium has to set itself apart. I feel that this field looks eerily similar to Nationals Park in its format and the only thing that puts it higher up is the view and the tradition.
12. Houston Astros: Minute Maid Park
The only real critique I have about this park is that it has that large overlooking roof that set the Diamondbacks and Mariners back on this list. Other than that, I think this Stadium is very unique. I think that the creative wall in left field does a great job of opening up the park, although sometimes it’s annoying to see home run balls bounce back into the field of play. The scoreboard in right has a great feel to it, as it takes up the perfect amount of space. The astros also recently removed that hill in center field that was just begging to injure someone. It’s hard to do an Astros entry without thinking about their cheating scandal, so they’re gonna lose points for their camera in center field (and their trash cans).
11. New York Mets: Citi Field
Citi Field is a huge upgrade from the absolute dump that was Shea Stadium. This park is located on a nice strip of land close to the water, neighboring with the US Open and the World’s Fair. The park has some features that set it apart, such as the pepsi porch, the iconic Home Run Apple in center field, and the Shea Bridge. There is also a game area behind left field complete with a dunk tank and wiffle ball park. My only critiques for this stadium are that the outfield wall is misshapen, and the bullpen space takes up prime seating area.
10. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Angel Stadium
The rocky waterfall in left field carries this stadium to the brink of the top 10. Being in LA doesn’t hurt either, since the temperature for most Angles games ranges in the high 70’s. The stands are always packed for Angles games, and Disneyland is only five minutes away. I have to knock this stadium down a few tiers because it is the scene of the criminal waste of Mike Trout’s career
9. San Diego Padres: PETCO Park
The Padres did a fantastic job designing and building Petco Park, which combines modern niceties with some old-fashioned flair. For example, the Western Metal Supply Co. building, one corner of which serves as the left-field foul pole. There’s also the beach area behind center field. And this stadium is located right in the middle of the gaslamp district of San Diego. Location isn’t everything, but it does help.
8. Kansas City Royals: Kauffman Stadium
Say what you want about this stadium, but you can’t deny that it’s different. I personally am a big fan of the crowned scoreboard in center field and I think the view, while sorta plain, is actually quite nice. The best part of Kauffman stadium are the fountains in center field that go off after home runs and big plays.
TIER 2: ELITE BALLPARKS
7. New York Yankees: Yankee Stadium
The only way to replace one of the most iconic stadiums in MLB history is to build a near exact replica. This was the mindset of the Yankees as they constructed the new Yankee Stadium. The only difference is that this one is bigger and way more expensive. The highlight of this stadium has to be monument park in center field, which pays homage to the greatest Yankees of all time. This stadium is great, but no matter how hard they try, this new Yankee stadium will never be able to capture the magic of the original.
6. Los Angeles Dodgers: Dodger Stadium
Though it’s clearly showing its age, Dodger Stadium remains a national treasure. There’s just nothing like stepping out from the fourth deck high above home plate and looking out at the magnificent vista. Those 2 sets of bleachers in the outfield are incomparable to any other stadium and this is the only place you can get a Dodger dog. The only thing I hate about this stadium is the tiny walls right next to the foul poles that let up short home runs.
TIER 1: LEGENDARY
5. San Francisco Giants: Oracle Park
This stadium is all about the views. The view of San Francisco Bay is breathtaking. The see-through brick wall in right field is a great touch for pedestrians walking outside the park to be able to see in. McCovey Cove is one of the coolest aspects to the ballpark and adds a feeling of hope that a home run will splash into the water. The Golden Gate bridge and a view of San Fransisco can be found from the upper decks of this park, giving every seat their money’s worth.
4. Baltimore Orioles: Camden Yards
The original retro ballpark remains one of the very best. So many other parks built in the ’90s and ’00s tried to duplicate Camden Yards, but none truly could, for one good reason: the warehouse. It already existed, so the ballpark was built around it. You can’t fabricate something like that. It has to be organic. This stadium has such a classic feel to it that is hard to replicate
3. Boston Red Sox: Fenway Park
Arguably the most historic stadium in sports, Fenway Park is about the experience, not the amenities. And it’s a wholly unique experience, well worth it. The Green Monster hovers over everything. Sure, there are obstructed seats and you’ll feel cramped, But Fenway is one of the coolest places to watch any sporting event, and you’ll be glad you got to experience a place that has so much baseball history. It’s a must for any baseball fan.
2. Pittsburgh Pirates: PNC Park
Honestly the Pirates have no right to have a stadium this good. From any seat in the 2 deck bowl you can see the entire Pittsburgh skyline, complete with a view of the Roberto Clemente Bridge. The hedge cut “Pirates” in center field, coupled with the great scoreboard and batters boxes, makes this stadium visually perfect. However, this list is not called “Best looking MLB Parks”, it’s called “Best MLB parks”. The truth is, no matter how good PNC Park looks, it simply does not have the history or legacy to pass number 1.
- Chicago Cubs: Wrigley Field
To step into the Friendly Confines is to step back in time. Wrigley Field is arguably the most iconic stadium in all of baseball, and for good reason. There simply is nothing like a Chicago summer afternoon spent in the bleachers at the corner of Clark and Addison. The ivy. The manual scoreboard. The rooftop seating. The rest of Wrigleyville outside the stadium. In terms of pure experience, this is the best in baseball. If you’ve never been, you need to put this on e on your list.