Scott's Baseball (and other stuff) Blog
March 31, 2009 -- ARCHIVES
-- Send me a
On a message board I participate in
from time to time, someone invited people to rank the Major League stadiums
they'd visited, from favorite to least favorite. "OK," I said,
"You asked for it," and posted the following. I thought it might
be worth sharing here as well. If I said something negative about your
hometown park, I'm sorry, but I calls 'em as I sees 'em. And keep in mind
that my worst day at the ballpark still beats my best day at the office!
1. Wrigley Field, Chicago - Yeah, it does help that it’s home to my
favorite team, but even if it weren’t I think I’d love it. There are some
things wrong with the old girl (obstructed view seats, narrow walkways, crummy
bathrooms), but there’s oh so much right about it. To me it is a
shrine, and when I’m at Wrigley there is never anyplace else in the world I
want to be.
2. Fenway Park, Boston – Suffers from some of the same old age maladies
as Wrigley, but there’s no place you’ll get closer to the game or its
history. Looking out at the Green Monster is the closest you’ll ever come to
Baseball Heaven (unless you're looking at the ivy at Wrigley!).
3. Yankee Stadium, New York – I’m a big Yankee-hater from way back,
but even so, Yankee Stadium is hallowed ground to any baseball fan. I look
forward to visiting the new place, but I doubt they’ll come close to
recreating the aura of the House That Ruth Built.
4. Camden yards, Baltimore – The best of the newer stadiums. The Eutaw
street vending area gives it a cool old-timey feel, but it’s got great
sightlines and all the modern amenities.
5. Pac Bell Park (or whatever it’s being called these days), San
Francisco – McCovey Cove, the giant baseball glove, garlic fries… what’s
not to love?
6. Old Comiskey Park, Chicago – Some great memories I've had there
might have this higher on this list than it might otherwise be, but this old
joint sure had character.
7. Petco Park, San Diego - Great architecture, and it’s almost always
baseball weather there! I especially like the incorporation of an old existing
building into the ballpark.
8. Jacobs Field, Cleveland – It’s a nice, comfortable, modern
facility in a convenient location. But it’s the atmosphere that made it a
great time, at least when I was there. Cleveland truly does rock, and the
game felt more like a party.
9. PNC Park, Pittsburgh – Another beautiful new facility, but with lots
of homage to Pirates history. Great views of the rivers and surrounding areas
10. Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati – A fine place to see a ball
game, with nice architectural nods to its riverfront location. And Skyline Chili
Dogs at the concession stands!!!
11. New Busch Stadium, St. Louis – A really nice new park with lots of
12. Tiger Stadium, Detroit – Another old historic park, but by the time
I got there it had become fairly run-down, and it was in a truly terrible
neighborhood. Still, I’m glad I went.
13. Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia – It really is a nice stadium.
Just too bad it’s in the middle of nowhere…
14. Miller Park, Milwaukee – My favorite of the retractable-roof
stadiums. From tailgating in the parking lot to Bernie Brewer and his big slide,
It's a guaranteed fun time at the ol’ ball park.
15. Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City – It’s stuck waaay out on the
Interstate with nothing at all around it…. But it’s really a nice place. The
fountains in the outfield are a nice unique feature.
16. County Stadium, Milwaukee – I always thought of County Stadium as
Wrigley’s little sister. It was nowhere near as beautiful or historic, but the
game day atmosphere was similar. And again, the tailgates were always a fun
17. New Comiskey Park, Chicago – I never bought into the complaints
about the steep upper deck. The sightlines are good, the food is great, it’s a
good place to watch baseball. Just doesn’t inspire much passion in me. The
overall look is dull and sterile.
18. Comerica Park, Detroit – It’s a nice, comfortable, new place.
Aside from the big Tiger sculptures, though, there’s just nothing all that
interesting about it.
19. Safeco Field, Seattle – The same architects who built New Comiskey
are responsible for Safeco as well, and it kind of reminded me of Comiskey with
a sliding roof. Nice enough place. Fun neighborhood around it.
20. The Ballpark @ Arlington, Arlington TX – Big and square, it’s
like they built an old-style city stadium in the middle of a massive parking
21. Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles – Not bad, but it actually has much
less charm than it appears to on TV. Ridiculous traffic and parking nightmare.
22. Turner Field, Atlanta – Much like Comerica, it’s a nice but not
all that exciting place. Went there on a chilly, rainy evening though, so maybe
I’m not giving it a fair shake.
23. Bank One Ballpark (now Chase Field), Phoenix – A huge warehouse of
a place, innovative when it was built but already a bit dated.
24. Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim CA – It tries hard, but it ultimately has
a mall/theme park kind of feel, in the land of malls and theme parks.
25. Alameda County Stadium, Oakland – A multi-use park that
nevertheless works pretty well for baseball. Clean and comfortable, not much of
26. Skydome, Toronto – The first retractable-roof stadium was a
technical marvel in its time, but it’s a white elephant now. Too big for its
own good, and it still has artificial turf!
27. Candlestick Park, San Francisco – Not the best place for baseball,
but what a unique old joint that was.
28. Minute Maid Park, Houston – Way too many bells and (train)
whistles. Sensory overload from the relentless turned-up-to-11 music and 43
different scoreboards made it tough to enjoy the game.
29. Memorial Stadium, Baltimore – A decent, stately old place, but not
a lot to recommend about it. It lived past its prime.
30. Arlington Stadium, Arlington TX – It was a minor league stadium
before the Rangers moved in, and it looked and felt every bit the part. A field
surrounded by some bleachers. Yawn.
31. Old Busch Stadium, St. Louis – Very similar to other cookie-cutter
round stadiums of its era, Busch gets some extra points for the Gateway
Arch-inspired design elements and good downtown neighborhood.
32. Shea Stadium, New York – Also similar to the round buildings but
open to the outfield to break up the monotony a bit. The upper deck is so high
you can almost touch the planes flying over from LaGuardia, and you get 200
chances a game to do it.
33 – 36. Fulton County Stadium, Atlanta; Three Rivers Stadium,
Pittsburgh; Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati; Veterans Stadium,
Philadelphia – Here’s those cookie cutter circles I was talking about.
Devoid of all personality, they might all have been built from the same
blueprint. Fulton is first on the list because it had real grass. But still.
37-38. Pro Player Stadium, Miami; Jack Murphy Stadium, San Diego -
At least the round parks were built for baseball. These are first and foremost
football stadiums where they play(ed) baseball. Doesn’t really work.
39. Cleveland Municipal Stadium, Cleveland – Another football stadium,
but a gargantuan, monstrous, cavernous one. Baseball had no business anywhere
near this building.
40. Olympic Stadium, Montreal – Kind of cool looking from the outside,
but ugly and boring as hell inside. I give it a few points for having a roof
that was designed to be opened – except that it was broken for about the last
decade of its use as the Expos’ stadium and stayed permanently closed. It was
like being in a giant tent.
41. Astrodome, Houston – I hate, hate, HATE permanent-dome stadiums.
The Astrodome was less horrific than some others, but it was still awful. This
is they place they invented Astroturf for, for Cripes sake.
42. Kingdome, Seattle – Ugly inside and out. Went there on a beautiful
sunny afternoon and it was grey and dreary inside. Yuk.
43. Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL – Ditto everything about the
Kingdome, but it’s lower on the list because the playing surface is in
terrible shape and because they still freaking play there! I hope the
recent success the Rays have had will renew interest in a new stadium there.
44. Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis – Truly an abomination. A
domed warehouse-like football stadium with fake grass, and folded-in football
grandstands showing behind that stupid Hefty-bag outfield wall when they play
baseball there. Which they shouldn’t. Ever.
Still need to get to: Coors Field, Denver; Nationals Park,
Washington; and the new stadiums in New York.
March 10, 2009 -- ARCHIVES
-- Send me a
I was planning on writing about what a joke the World Baseball Classic
is. About how managers don't want their players participating. About how
most of the players don't seem to want to participate.
But I've reconsidered.
Not that I'm actually interested in watching any of it or care who
wins. I'm not and I don't. To me, the WBC is just an extension of
Spring Training. Just that some of the players are wearing uniforms with
the name of a country rather than a team. Big deal.
But then I started reading about how crazy the fans are for this tournament
in places like Japan, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. It is a big
deal to them. Even Canada and Australia seem pretty interested. And I
realize what an Ameri-centric point of view I have about it.
Here in the U.S., we have Major League Baseball. The whole ball
of wax. The Playoffs. The World Series -- if by "World"
you mean the United States and Toronto.
But to a young Dominican baseball fan rooting on his compatriots (especially
now that Baseball has been booted out of the Olympics) the WBC is the
World Series. So enjoy, World. May the best nation win.