At the top of my bucket list sits: “Visit all 30 MLB ballparks.”
Every MLB stadium brings something unique to the area it’s in, from Boston’s Green Monster and Chicago’s Wrigley Field ivy to San Francisco’s McCovey Cove and Arizona’s right field pools.
So far, I have visited seven parks. Only 23 more to go. Here are my top five, rated on my overall experience at the ballpark.
5. Citi Field, New York Mets
Despite being on the outskirts of the city, Citi Field still has a more classic feel. It’s easily accessible, with a subway station that takes you directly to the field’s entrance. Although it doesn’t feel as modern and city-like as Yankee Stadium, the vintage feel of the ballpark is a perfect escape from the busy city. However, this same perk is also a drawback, as it is in a less popular spot than the ballparks on the rest of this list.
4. Yankee Stadium, New York Yankees
It pains me as a Red Sox fan to put Yankee Stadium on this list, but until I visit more ballparks, I have to. Despite being a near replica of the old Yankee Stadium, the aura of being in the new one carries it to fourth on this list. The tickets and food are expensive, but the constant energy brought by the Yankee faithful makes this a must-see ballpark.
3. Camden Yards, Baltimore Orioles
While the Orioles have gone through some rebuilding years, Baltimore fans will fill Camden Yards all year with the young lineup beginning to bloom this season. The B&O Warehouse behind the right field concourse gives the stadium a cozier feel than a completely open venue. Despite only being in its 31st year, the stadium already ranks in the top-10 of the oldest fields. The brick and steel construction makes this stadium stand out even in a busy city like Baltimore. While the Baltimore fans may not reach Boston or New York status in terms of energy, their support of their team and its upcoming stars make it a worthwhile trip.
2. Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox
Fenway would easily be ranked first on this list if not for the 111-year-old seats along the first and third base lines facing the outfield rather than home plate. Legroom is minimal, and the giant beams hanging from the second deck will ruin at least a few fans’ nights. However, the nostalgia and atmosphere of Fenway easily make this one of the league’s top-three ballparks. The Green Monster and manual scoreboard are a permanent part of baseball history. With the Boston faithful bringing the energy every night no matter the team’s record, Fenway is a bucket-list ballpark for every kind of fan.
1. Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia Phillies
The stadium has no bad seats, with the lower seats being right in the action and the nosebleeds with a picturesque view of the Philadelphia skyline. Add in the consistent sellouts with the hectic nature of Philadelphia sports fans, and you have an unbeatable atmosphere. Second to only Boston fans, the Philly faithful are top-notch, with their passion for and knowledge of baseball coming out at every game.
Left off the list: Rogers Centre (Toronto Blue Jays) and Nationals Park (Washington Nationals).
The next three ballparks I hope to cross off my list:
Petco Park, San Diego Padres
Named the best MLB ballpark by USA Today, Petco boasts a fantastic location in downtown San Diego, right in the middle of the city skyline, and has beautiful weather all season long. While it is only 19 years old, it still has that old-school ballpark feel. With the giant video board and the Western Metal Supply Co. building in left field, the ballpark has its perks.
Wrigley Field, Chicago Cubs
This seems to be a lock on any baseball fan’s must-see list. The history and nostalgia of the stadium speak for themselves, similar to Fenway Park. With its 109 years of history, the park has aged better than Fenway. The ivy along the outfield wall and the neighborhood setting add charm to this historic ballpark.
PNC Park, Pittsburgh Pirates
Like the Orioles, the Pirates have struggled over the last few years. However, the city, rich with baseball history and tradition, has yet to take a hit. The scene for this field is iconic, with the Allegheny River and Roberto Clemente Bridge in the backdrop. The bridge is shut down on game days for fans to walk over before and after the game. The bushes in center field that spell out “PIRATES” add to the game-day feel. There is plenty to do outside of the game in a bustling city like Pittsburgh.