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 2 of the MLB Ballparks Ranking. For Part 1, click here.
15. Citizens Bank Park – Philadelphia Phillies
Citizens Bank Park is such a weird park to evaluate because most of the problems with it come from its location more than anything else. The Philadelphia ballpark shares a parking lot with the arenas for the Eagles and the 76ers, and that parking lot makes up the majority of the view from the stadium. I remember there being some bars and restaurants near Citizens Bank Park, but it’s pretty slim pickings overall. As far as the park itself goes, it looks great and features a concourse that wraps the complete way around the stadium. It’s just a shame that it feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere.
14. Comerica Park – Detroit Tigers
Comerica Park might be the best thing about Detroit. Yes, that’s a dig at Detroit, but Comerica is a pretty solid stadium overall. It’s more of a diamond in the rough that real stadium buffs will appreciate more than the average fan.
Like Cleveland’s park, Comerica can often be overlooked. But its downtown location is a gem and the giant stone tigers out front are iconic.Kevin Kaduk, USA TODAY Sports
Fans can get a great view of the Detroit skyline from the ballpark, and that’s just one of the cool things available to them at Comerica. Detroit is in the midst of a revival, and the experience at a Tigers game stands to improve over time as the city improves.
13. T-Mobile Park – Seattle Mariners
T-Mobile Park overcomes some mixed reviews on the architecture and aesthetics of the park with the sheer excellence of the fan experience. The Mariners’ stadium features some of the best amenities in baseball, including excellent standing areas on the concourse and a number of great eateries. In terms of interior aesthetics, there’s not a lot to set T-Mobile apart other than the unique retractable roof design and a decent-but-not-great view of Seattle. Not everyone is agreed on whether they like the design of the park, but pretty much everyone is agreed that T-Mobile excels in the other areas to make up for it.
12. Yankee Stadium – New York Yankees
If this article was just putting forth my opinion, there’s no way Yankee Stadium would rank this high. I think there are probably some ways it makes for an objectively good experience, but my subjective thoughts on it override that. As a die-hard Red Sox fan, you came to the wrong place if you were looking for any positive descriptions of this park. If you’re actually curious about the features of Yankee Stadium, you can look those up on your own time.
Again, this is just the consensus rankings. If it was just me, things would have played out much differently.
11. Busch Stadium – St. Louis Cardinals
I think it’s crazy that Busch fell outside the top 10. Busch looks awesome inside and out, and it offers one of the best skyline views of any ballpark in the country. Furthermore, it has an awesome location, featuring the Ballpark Village and Cardinals Hall of Fame. Busch Stadium effectively goes beyond Busch Stadium proper and extends very naturally into the surrounding area. The one big knock on the Cardinals’ ballpark is their failure to provide high-level amenities, but of all the things that could be wrong with a ballpark, that’s probably the easiest one to fix. I think Busch really has everything a fan could want, and the fact that St. Louis is usually a competitive franchise doesn’t hurt the experience either.
10. Target Field – Minnesota Twins
Based on what I’ve read, I think Target Field might be a tad overrated, but I guess I can’t really say that definitively having never been there in person. It probably presents the biggest difference between the exterior and interior aesthetics of any stadium. From the outside, Target Field looks incredible, having one of the best exteriors of any MLB ballpark. Walking inside, I think I would question if that was the same stadium I saw just five minutes ago. Based on the awesome exterior, the interior leaves something to be desired. For what it’s worth, Target Field does a good job of connecting to the surrounding city while providing access to notable attractions and it does every other important thing pretty well.
9. Coors Field – Colorado Rockies
Coors is one of my favorite parks to play certain baseball video games in (no free advertising here). It’s just such a clean ballpark. The outer façade is reminiscent of Brooklyn’s old Ebbets Field and lends a classic look to the whole stadium. Like many of the other parks in the top half of the rankings, Coors has a fantastic location, offering fans the opportunity to see much of downtown Denver. The interior design of the park isn’t over-the-top, but it gives a nice view of the Rocky Mountains in the distance. Coors has aged very well since 1995 and holds up against the best ballparks of today.
8. Kauffman Stadium – Kansas City Royals
Kauffman scores high on the list because it ranks average to above average in almost every category. I personally think it might be one or two spots too high in terms of the consensus, but the low end of the top 10 isn’t too bad of an assessment. Kauffman has some really cool features to maximize the fan experience, including the Royals Hall of Fame and other entertainment areas. I think the scoreboard is one of the coolest and most recognizable ones in all of baseball, so that’s a plus too.
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7. Petco Park – San Diego Padres
Much like the San Diego Padres, Petco Park has aged remarkably well despite not being highly regarded in years past. Petco ranks at or near the top year after year in ballpark food and fan experience. The architects clearly made a ton of intentional aesthetic choices that make Petco a fantastic place to watch a baseball game. There are very few flaws with San Diego’s ballpark, and those that do exist are very minor. Petco Park will likely continue to rise up the consensus MLB Ballparks ranking in years to come. The team is good, the ballpark is good, and the weather is good. What’s not to like?
6. Dodger Stadium – Los Angeles Dodgers
Dodger Stadium is essentially the Wrigley Field or Fenway Park of the 1960s. It is truly an iconic park in every sense of the word. Aesthetically, it is firmly in the upper tier of all MLB Ballparks. Dodger Stadium doesn’t do too much, and also allows the awesome view of the mountains to speak for itself. It loses some points because of its limited setting and poor accessibility, but those are really the only things wrong with it. This is an excellent spot to watch a game, especially considering the great sightlines and aesthetics of the park.
5. Camden Yards – Baltimore Orioles
Camden Yards is one of the most influential ballparks in history, especially seeing how many subsequent parks attempted to imitate it. Cole Shoemaker lays out some of the features of Camden Yards that have been copied in years hence:
Beyond superficial retro treatment, the architects of Camden Yards implemented some subtle logistical innovations that have been overlooked, all of which were later imitated. Fans don’t think about these things, but they were just as influential:
– The placement of ramps on the inside of the ballpark behind the façade, allowing for unobstructed views of the exterior design. Before this, most new baseball stadiums featured ugly ramps on the outside.
– The lowering of the playing field below street level allowing for easier entry.
– A playing field below street level, coupled with pushing the upper deck forward, allowed for intimate exterior landscaping, thus placing the structure in scale with its surroundings.
– Contextually responsive outfield dimensions along with adaptive reuse of local buildings.
– Standing room only areas.
– Double decked terracing of the bullpens, allowing for fan-pitcher interaction.
– An attractive green ivy batters’ eye.
– A classic team logo at the end of each row of the seats.
– Regional food options.
– Numerous other historical or referential displays, from the Memorial Stadium foul pole in right field and retro signage on the concourses to the hall of fame plaques.
It was an is a revolutionary building, it’s just that some people missed the point.Cole Shoemaker, Ballparkratings.com
The repurposing of the old B&O Warehouse in right field contributes to the incredible interior aesthetics of the ballpark. Camden Yards is one of baseball’s best and most influential stadiums.
4. Wrigley Field – Chicago Cubs
Wrigley Field was built in 1914, but it doesn’t feel like an old ballpark at all. Even without the huge nostalgia factor, Wrigley is an awesome park in its own right. It might be the best ballpark in terms of connection to the neighborhood. Wrigleyville makes for an awesome local scene and Wrigley Field fits in as a seamless part of its community. Recent renovations have allowed it to keep pace with and even surpass newer ballparks with respect to aesthetics and amenities. Overall, Wrigley is undoubtedly one of the top five baseball stadiums in the country.
3. Fenway Park – Boston Red Sox
Of all the MLB Ballparks, Fenway might have the highest nostalgia factor. The oldest of the 30 stadiums, it has hosted more than its fair share of big moments in baseball history. From the Green Monster to Pesky’s Pole to the Citgo sign, Fenway is iconic. Its historic aura allows it to get away with the vast majority of the shortcomings that arise from being an older park. Fenway Park also does an outstanding job of fitting into the surrounding neighborhood, almost completely blending into it. Even beyond the history, this is a great place to watch a game and is one of the greatest sports stadiums in the United States.
2. PNC Park – Pittsburgh Pirates
It’s too bad that the Pirates are so awful, but PNC Park is really worth the trip. This is one of my personal favorites, and I’m not sure there’s a bad seat in the entire park. The architects did a great job to ensure that every fan feels really close to the action no matter where they are sitting. PNC has arguably the best view of any stadium, providing an unobstructed look at the Allegheny River and the Pittsburgh skyline. The surrounding area is also fantastic. PNC Park should be towards the top of any baseball fan’s checklist.
1. Oracle Park – San Francisco Giants
Oracle gets the consensus #1 spot as what most agree to be the most complete package of all MLB Ballparks. You get the iconic view of McCovey Cove. You get unique ballpark quirks like the giant Coke bottle in left field. As Milo attests, you also get some of the best amenities in baseball.
Honestly, I love Oracle Park. The food is the best, and they take advantage of the great produce in the area. I miss the taste of their Gilroy Garlic Fries. Let’s not forget the spectacular views of the bay from the ballpark. Just a lovely stadium.Milo Coulter
Oracle Park is one of the most iconic stadiums in Major League Baseball. Add in the exceptional amenities and aesthetics and you get what many consider to be the best overall ballpark.
That does it for the consensus MLB Ballparks ranking! I look forward to revisiting this in a couple years to see where things stand.
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