DECEMBER 2009 

 

Rank

Park

Nickname

City

Year Opened

Comments/Memories

HSL Trips

1.

Wrigley Field

The Friendly Confines

 

Cubs Park

Chicago

1914

The ivy, the history, the neighborhood bars.  No better place to watch an afternoon game. 

 

1988

1989

2.

Fenway Park

America's Most Beloved Ballpark

 

The Fens

Boston

1912

The Green Monster, Yawkey Way, the subway ride, the Italian sausage vendors.   Heaven on earth. 

 

1994

3.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Camden Yards

 

The Yard

Baltimore

1992

The first ďretroĒ park is also the best.  Lining up for Boogís BBQ next to the Baltimore & Ohio warehouse is a great experience.  Memories of Calís 2131st consecutive game and his lap around the field here will never be forgotten. 

 

1992

4.

Coors Field

Coors Canaveral

Denver

1995

A beautiful structure, composed of nothing but green steel and red brick.  Great view of the Rockies from the upper deck.  The LoDo, a great place to hang out before and after the game.  A top notch place to see a game. 

 

1995

1998

 

 

5.

PNC Park

 

Pittsburgh

2001

Beautiful park, cozy field, too.  Great placement next to river, nice walk-over bridges.  Best view of a downtown skyline from any baseball seat in the country. 

 

2002

6. Citi Field   Queens

2009

A glorious new jewel of a ballpark which made many jaws drop during our HSL Trip to Queens in 2009.  An incredible improvement over Shea Stadium. 2009

7.

AT&T Park (2006)

 

SBC(2004-2005)

 

Pacific Bell (PacBell) (2000-2003)

The Phone Booth

 

The House that Bonds Built

 

Pac Bell Park

San Francisco

2000

Another praiseworthy brick and steel ballpark.  Great view of the Bay from the upper deck.  McCovey Cove a unique and pleasing feature.  Excellent game venue. 

 

 

8.

Comerica Park

 

Detroit

2000

Probably the most wide open of all major league baseball parks, in a surprisingly pleasant and comfortable setting in downtown Motown.  The giant Tiger statues at the entrance are unique and very cool.  Even though Itchie looks more like Hank Greenberg than the Hank Greenberg statue there, and even though Willie Hortonís statue must have been molded when he was in fifth grade and 150 pounds lighter than his playing weight, the ballplayer statues and busts are nevertheless interesting and fun to look at.  A first rate baseball cathedral. 

2007

9.

Safeco Field

The Safe

Seattle

1999

So much better than the Kingdome, itís not even describable.  Beautiful setting, remarkable brick and iron structure.  By far the best of the retractables. 

 

 

10.

Dodger Stadium

Chavez Ravine

 

Taj OíMalley

Los Angeles[1]

1962

By current standards, a rather simple edifice.  The structure itself isnít that much to talk about, but the setting is beautiful.  The palm trees in the outfield are this ballparkís signature. 

 

1993

11.

Rangers Ballpark in Arlington (2007)[3]

 

Ameriquest Field in Arlington (2004)

 

The Ballpark in Arlington (1994)

The Ballpark

 

The Temple

Arlington

1994

A retro classic in design, lots of red brick and green steel.  B.T. and I will never forget Van Cliburn tickling the ivories there at the inaugural game.  A future HSL Trip venue, to be sure. 

 

 

12.

Busch Stadium[2]

New Busch Stadium

 

Busch III

St. Louis

2006

My memories of this stadium are somewhat clouded by the multiple Jšgerbombs served up by Magpie and Itchie, but it is safe to say that this new park deserves a spot in the top half of current venues.  Its best feature is undoubtedly the view of the St. Louis skyline, including the arch.  The only thing on the other side of the ledger that comes to mind is the disturbing if not grotesque statue of Stan Musial, whose sculptor was obviously under the influence of some toxic substance, perhaps Jagerbombs.

 

2006

13. Yankee Stadium New Yankee Stadium Bronx, NY

2009

A valiant effort to essentially recreate Yankee Stadium, but making it bigger, cleaner and more fan-friendly.  However, a bit sterile in appearance, and does not have the history or ambience of its predecessor.  Should stand the test of time, however. 

 

2009

14.

PETCO Park

Bark Park

San Diego

2004

A very nice new ballpark in a good location, vastly improved over Jack Murphy Stadium.  Nice architectural touch to build into the Western Metal building.  Cozy field and good views.  Area refurbishment under way and looking good.  Palm trees a nice touch.

 

2004

15.

Citizens Bank Park

The Bank

 

The Ballpark

 

The Bankpark

 

The Vault

 

CBP

Philadelphia

2004

Opened in 2004, this ballpark is a huge improvement over Veterans Stadium, which it replaced.  Beautiful red brick outside, colorful and open inside, this new home of the Phillies is a welcome addition to the club.  Great food choices including Bull's Barbecue and Schmitter's sandwiches, or Philadelphia cheesesteaks "wit wiz" or "widdout" and tasty crab fries.  The ringing electronic Liberty Bell is a nice salute to the city's history. 

 

2005

16.

Progressive Field (2008)

 

Jacobs Field

The Jake

Cleveland

1994

Well-designed, well-placed.  Big improvement over the ďMistake by the Lake.Ē   A very fine place to see a game. 

 

1996

17.

Turner Field

The Ted

 

Super Stadium

Atlanta

1997

Nice, clean, and family friendly, but not a jaw-dropper.  Good place to see a game.  

 

1997

18.

Angel Stadium of Anaheim (2003)

 

Edison International Field of Anaheim (1997)

 

Anaheim Stadium (originally)

The Big A (1966)

 

The Bigger A (1980)

 

The Big Ed (1998)

Anaheim

1966

Although located in a big parking lot, and even though there are no real distinctive features to drone on about, since Artie Marrero bought this franchise a few years ago, the Big A is definitely a very good place to watch a game.  The park is usually as spit-polished as Ollie Northís combat boots, the ballpark employees are not only helpful but friendly and actually seem to like their jobs, and any night game here almost always guarantees beautiful weather.  The HSL boys definitely deserve a return to this ballpark.

1993

19.

Nationals Park

 

Washington,D.C.

2008

Although currently located on the fringe of a war zone in inner city D.C., without a safe eating or drinking establishment within gunshot, the Natsí brand new park leaves a lot to be desired at this point in time.  Although the inside of the park is quite nice and boasts one of the best scoreboards anywhere, the outside of the park looks like it was designed by a group of concrete structure specialists, with very little on the exterior to please the discerning eye.  In three to five years this will no doubt be a much more fetching venue to attend a Nats game, but in 2008, itís a non-plusser. 

2008

20.

McAfee Coliseum[4]

 

Oakland Coliseum

 

Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

 

Network Associates Coliseum

The Coliseum

Oakland

1968

Iíve only been there a few times, and itís been a few years, but I remember this ballpark as being a very green and good place to be.  Nothing to write home about, but nothing to be ashamed of either. 

 

 

21.

Rogers Centre (2005)

 

SkyDome

The Dome

Toronto

1989

Seems like a long time now since this was announced as the Eighth Wonder of the World.  Perhaps it was the Clemens-Morris pitching matchup, but I have fond memories of this ballpark.  Hope to see it again someday. 

 

1992

22.

Minute Maid Park

 

Astros Field (2002)

 

Enron Field (1999)

The Juice Box[5]

 

Ten-Run Field

 

Home Run Field

Houston

2000

When the roof is closed, which seems to be most of the time, this place feels too much like a domed stadium.  Should have photocopied the plans for Safeco Field and touched them up a bit to avoid charges of plagiarism.  A nice place to enjoy a frothy cocktail, but not much to excite a ballpark purist. 

 

2000

23.

Kauffman Stadium Refurbished (2009)

 

Royals Stadium

The K

McJester's Mistake

Kansas City

1973

This refurbished ballpark contains some nice fan-friendly features, and the fountains in the outfield are its unmistakable calling card.  However, it's still in the middle of a giant, suburban parking lot, and even $400,000,000 worth of lipstick on it, it's still a pig.

 

1985

1986

1987

1989

1990

24.

U.S. Cellular Field (2003)

 

Comiskey Park II

New Comiskey Park

Chicago

1991

Why again did we think this park was so great when we first visited it in 1991?  Because we hadnít yet seen truly great, like Camden Yards, like Coors Field, like PNC Park.  Maybe time will be its friend, but I doubt it. 

 

1991

25.

Great American Ballpark

Great American Smallpark

 

GABP

 

Great American

Cincinnati

2003

A real yawner for a new ballpark, and what a shame for a great baseball city like Cincy.  Some nice possibilities, but then the owner went cheap.  Best described as underwhelming. 

 

2003

26.

Chase Field (2006)

 

Bank One Ballpark

The BOB

 

The Snake Pit

Phoenix

1998

Guess Iím not that much of a retractable roof fan after all.  The BOB is just okay, nothing special.  Looks like the architect tried to do too much, got a little too cute.  The good news is that the area around the ballpark is shaping up, as it should. 

 

 

27.

Miller Park

 

Milwaukee

2001

See No. 21 above.  Nothing wrong with doing a retractable roof -- and probably a darned good idea in Milwaukee -- but make it feel open even when itís closed.  And if youíre going to spend all that money, why not put it right downtown or right on the lake? 

 

2001

28.

Land Shark Stadium (2009)

 

Dolphin Stadium (2006)[6]

 

Dolphins Stadium (2005)

 

Pro Player Stadium (1996-2005)

 

Pro Player Park (1996)

 

Joe Robbie Stadium (1987-1996)

 

Dolphin Stadium (1987)

 

Miami

1987

Not much to recommend it except for the sunshine and tropical smells of South Florida, yet holds a special place in my heart because was the site of Scott and my first-ever, first-ever.  The new joint here, if they ever build one, should be a big improvement. 

 

 

29.

Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome[7]

The Metrodome

 

The Homerdome

 

The Thunderdome

 

The Humpty Dump

Minneapolis

1982

If Hubert Humphrey could see the wretched edifice that his Democratic cronies named after him, he would roll over in his grave, switch political parties, and get on the stump for a third term for Bush.  Thank heavens this baseball embarrassment is destined for the wrecking ball, a fate that cannot come soon enough. 

 

 

30.

Tropicana Field (1996)

 

ThunderDome (1993-1996)

 

Florida Suncoast Dome (1990-1993)

The Trop

Tampa Bay

1990

(first game in 1998)

Owner, architect and contractor should all face a firing squad, sans blindfolds.  Even though the Rays are now an exciting and even contending team, respectable fans avoid it like a bad Renaissance Faire.  There has to be a new edifice with a retractable roof in this teamís ballpark future. 

 

 

 

 

 


 

[1] There was much controversy over the move of the Dodgers to California, perhaps more than over any other franchise move of that era. Walter O'Malley, in particular, is described as villainous by old Brooklyn Dodger fans and is considered a hero by Angelenos for bringing a big-league team to their city. (An old Brooklyn barb is that the three greatest villains of the Twentieth Century were Hitler, Stalin, and O'Malley. The joke is if a fan was locked in a room with the three and had only two bullets who would he shoot? The Answer? O'Malley. Twice.)

 

[2] Replaced Busch Memorial Stadium. 

 

[3] On May 7, 2004 the Rangers announced a deal with Ameriquest Mortgage Company to immediately rename their ballpark Ameriquest Field in Arlington. The 30-year agreement was reported to be for about $75 million. A crisis in the subprime mortgage industry caused Ameriquest to give up its naming rights, and on March 1, 2007 the team announced the stadium would be called Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

 

[4] In September 1997, UMAX Technologies agreed to acquire the naming rights to the stadium. However, following a dispute, a court decision reinstated the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum name. In 1998, Network Associates agreed to pay $5.8 million over five years for the naming rights and the stadium became known as Network Associates Coliseum, or, alternately in marketing and media usage as, "the Net."  In 2003, Network Associates renewed the contract for an additional five years at a cost of $6 million. In mid-2004, Network Associates was renamed McAfee, restoring its name from before its 1997 merger with Network General, and the stadium was renamed McAfee Coliseum accordingly.  Despite the different name changes, locals generally refer to the stadium as "The Coliseum." This fits the trend of older stadium renamings being rejected by the general public. This is especially true in the San Francisco Bay Area where changes to the name of nearby Candlestick Park have been wholly rejected by voters, and changes to the names of both Pacific Bell Park and the San Jose Arena were received with much negative criticism and widely ignored by fans and media alike.

 

[5] The ballpark was first christened as Enron Field on April 9, 1999, with naming rights sold to the Houston energy corporation in a 30 year, $100 million deal. Astros management faced a public relations nightmare when the energy corporation went bankrupt in the midst of one of the biggest corporate scandals in American history in 2001, and they bought back the remainder of Enron's thirty years of naming rights for $2.1 million, rechristening the ballpark as Astros Field on February 7, 2002. The field was unofficially known as "The Field Formerly Known As Enron" by fans and critics alike, in wake of the Enron scandal. On June 5, 2002, Houston-based Minute Maid, the fruit-juice subsidiary of Coca-Cola, acquired the naming rights to the stadium for 28 years at a price exceeding $100 million.  Based on its downtown location next to the old Union Station buildings, one of the suggested names (and nicknames) is the Ballpark at Union Station, or the BUS. During its days as Enron Field, it was also dubbed "Ten-Run" or "Home Run" Field due to its cozy left-field dimensions. In keeping with this theme while paying homage to its current sponsor, the nickname "The Juice Box" is colloquially used today.

 

[6] On August 26, 1996, Pro Player, the sports apparel division of Fruit of the Loom, purchased the renaming of Joe Robbie Stadium as Pro Player Park, and shortly after Pro Player Stadium. Pro Player, which specialized in licensed sports apparel, became the first sports marketing and products company to entitle a stadium or arena with their ten year, $20 million deal. This sparked a controversy in South Florida, as Joe Robbie had spent millions out of his own pocket after the city and the state refused to fund a new stadium for the Dolphins and many Miamians believed his name should remain on the stadium. Many people, including Florida-based sportscaster Hank Goldberg refer to it as "The Stadium Formerly Known as Joe Robbie" out of protest of the name. Pro Player filed for bankruptcy in 1999, but the name remained until January 2005, when their contract expired. The stadium was renamed Dolphins Stadium at that time.  On April 5, 2006, it was reported in both The Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that on April 8, 2006, the "s" would be dropped from the stadium name and revert back to the original "Dolphin Stadium" name along with a new logo. This renaming is part of a national branding campaign that concluded with Super Bowl XLI on February 4, 2007.

 

[7] A somewhat utilitarian facility, though not quite as spartan as Metropolitan Stadium, one stadium official once said that all the Metrodome was designed to do was "get fans in, let 'em see a game, and let 'em go home."