MLB Ballparks
(Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

MLB Ballparks Ranked

With the 2021 MLB season underway, it is time to take a look at the consensus picks for the best MLB Ballparks. I personally have not been to each stadium (on my bucket list!), so these are not my individual rankings. Instead, I compiled more than 15 other rankings from outlets across the Internet, and the average is presented in this article. This is Part 1 of the MLB Ballparks Ranking.

30. Tropicana Field – Tampa Bay Rays

The Trop finished with the worst average ranking of any stadium in Major League Baseball, mostly due to the ugliness of its interior. The Rays home park is dull and dark, neither of which is helped by the non-retractable dome. They have some entertaining fan spots, including the “Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame” (why is this in Tampa anyway?), but fun amenities are not enough to get past how much of an eyesore this ballpark is.

29. Oakland Coliseum – Oakland Athletics

As a multi-purpose stadium that has not housed a football team in a long time, Oakland Coliseum is bad. The stadium has a ton of seats, which would be good if the A’s played in a big market, but the A’s park always looks empty on game days due to their location. Based on what I have read, the Coliseum needed a renovation decades ago, the location is poor, and options for fans inside are limited.

28. Rogers Centre – Toronto Blue Jays

Rogers Centre suffered in the rankings because it has not aged particularly well, despite the fact that its original design was a pioneer in many respects. The SkyDome debuted as the first retractable roof of all MLB Ballparks, and the stadium has functioned as the home of both the Toronto Bluejays and the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts, but its multi-functionality causes the stadium to lose some character compared to a “true” ballpark. While on the cutting edge of all stadiums at its opening and still holding some redeeming qualities, Rogers Centre needs some renovation for it to rise up the rankings once again.

27. Chase Field – Arizona Diamondbacks

Chase Field had so much potential to be a respectable modern ballpark, but its architecture and aesthetics are inconsistent and an overall miss. It is also missing a lot of great amenities found in other parks. Chase is relatively good from a functional standpoint, and it features really good sightlines, but that is all.

If you’ve ever been to a shopping mall food court and thought, “You know what would be cool? If there was a Major League Baseball game going on in the background,” Chase Field is your dream come true. This cavernous, usually-indoor park has all the charm of a dentist’s office.

Matt Meltzer, Thrillist

26. Guaranteed Rate Field – Chicago White Sox

Guaranteed Rate Field suffers, perhaps unfairly, from sharing a city with Wrigley Field. The White Sox home park is relatively simple, which both helps and hurts it. Simplicity is good because the only thing worse than gimmicks is gimmicks done poorly, but simplicity also hurts the park because it does not stand out in any way. They have taken strides over the last couple of decades to improve the ballpark experience in terms of aesthetics and amenities, but they also have a policy that upper deck ticket holders are not allowed on the lower concourse (Lame!).

25. Marlins Park – Miami Marlins

I was not surprised to see Marlins Park come in this low, although it should be noted that the public perception of Marlins Park is arguably more critical than what is actually warranted by the stadium itself. The architecture of the park is pretty ambitious and honestly quite impressive. It looks dope from the outside. People love to hate the interior aesthetics, but in truth, the interior is not bad. That being said, Marlins Park is located in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood, which makes for quite a jarring juxtaposition, and there are not a lot of places for fans within the stadium to sit and enjoy themselves other than the seats.

24. Globe Life Field* – Texas Rangers

Since this is the first season where fans are allowed at Globe Life Field, there has not been enough data/reviews to give it a true spot. As such, Globe Life Field is taking the spot of its predecessor, Globe Life Park. Globe Life Field has been billed as a state-of-the-art facility, so we shall see whether it lives up to that description.

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23. Angel Stadium – Los Angeles Angels

Angel Stadium is decent, but it has not undergone a widescale renovation since the late 90s, which hurts it when stacked up against other ballparks. The stadium is a little gimmicky and lacks a cohesive design, instead taking some features from other prominent fields. There is not anything outright terrible about Angel Stadium, but the stadium is below-average across the board. It gets some points for proximity to Disneyland, but all in all, Angel Stadium is underwhelming.

22. Great American Ball Park – Cincinnati Reds

To borrow Cole Shoemaker’s sentiment, GABP is like if someone tried to make PNC Park, but they made a bunch of weird decisions in the process. While the ballpark is situated right on the Ohio River, the view of the river is largely blocked by signs and gimmicks. Overall, the park includes the Reds Museum and Hall of Fame, but GABP’s biggest problem is its general failure to successfully maximize its location on the riverfront.

21. SunTrust Park – Atlanta Braves

Some people absolutely love SunTrust and others absolutely hate it. If the stadium does one thing well, it’s the amenities. SunTrust is basically one giant mall masquerading as a ballpark. It provides the bare minimum in terms of functionality, but it maxes out on fan experience. They have restaurants galore, a kids area, and a zipline. The architecture is bland and the sightlines are mediocre, but if you are willing to sacrifice some of the traditional values of a ballpark for some great fan experiences, this park is for you.

20. American Family Field – Milwaukee Brewers

Back in 2014, a fan poll voted American Family Field, then called Miller Park, the “Best Ballpark” in the country. I think the external architecture looks pretty cool, but many sources beg to differ. The interior aesthetics and architecture leave a lot to be desired as well. American Family Field might best represent its home city amongst all the MLB ballparks, explaining why home fans love it while the consensus places it around the middle of the pack. For the record, I also think the name change alone was a big misstep.

19. Nationals Park – Washington Nationals

I enjoyed the game I saw at Nationals Park. The architects did a good job of making the park feel like a natural part of its surroundings. The top of the left-field bleachers is actually at street level, which is a slick design feature. There are also a lot of solid food options in and around the ballpark, but there is not much else that is especially memorable about the stadium of the nation’s capital.

18. Progressive Field – Cleveland Indians

Progressive Field is probably underrated by the consensus. It looks great, inside and out. Progressive fits well into the surrounding city and gives a great view of downtown Cleveland (for whatever that’s worth). There might not be anything distinctive about Progressive Field, but it is solid enough throughout that its plainness is not too much of an issue.

17. Citi Field – New York Mets

Citi Field wants to be New York’s spin on Camden Yards. The result was essentially an exercise in copy-and-paste, as Citi Field borrows a ton of features from other ballparks. The left field bleachers look very similar to Camden Yards, the green seats can be found in a million other stadiums, and the list goes on. Citi is very cookie-cutter, and that’s probably the biggest issue with it. Citi Field does excel in the amenities department, but the setting and aesthetics of the ballpark are subpar.

16. Minute Maid Park – Houston Astros

Minute Maid is another ballpark that feels extremely similar to Camden Yards, but that is mostly because of the trainyard theme more than anything else. MMP has become much more iconic given the Houston Astros’ success in recent seasons, but the consensus still puts it squarely in the middle tier. I was disappointed that they took out the weird hill in straightaway center field, because that was one of the more unique features of all MLB Ballparks. Watching a center fielder try to catch a fly ball while running up a slope is something we won’t get to see now. What a shame.

That concludes Part 1 of the MLB Ballparks ranking! Check back later for Part 2!

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