Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mike's Top Five Ballparks

While I'm working on a full list of one through thirty, the ballparks we visited in order from best to worst, I thought I'd post a top five to let everyone following know we're still alive. It's also the most frequently asked question, so I might as well put this up for all to see.

My top five list of the best ballparks in Major League Baseball are based on ballpark design, view, neighborhood, and the overall atmosphere.

Number FIVE:
Safeco Field, Seattle Mariners (1999)

An easy walk from downtown Seattle, Safeco Field sits next to Quest Field, the home of the football Seahawks. The pair sit perfectly next to each other, with the matching curved shape of the retractable roofs the forefront image when entering Seattle on I-90. From the umbrella style roof to the left field bleachers that sit in front of the Seattle skyline, Safeco Field is a great place to watch a baseball game from any seat.

Number FOUR:
Minute Maid Park, Houston Astros (2000)

Here is the MLB's best example yet of what makes a perfect indoor outdoor stadium. Minute Maid Park offers a retractable roof that fully encloses the stadium, allowing it to be air conditioned in the Houston summer, while opening for some cooler evening games. What Houston does better than any other ballpark of its kind is that it feels very open. Giant windows spanning from left field to beyond the hill in center provide a great view of downtown Houston. And did I mention that hill? The Astros have a very unique ballpark - it's small, quirky, and a lot of fun to visit.

Number THREE:
Citi Field, New York Mets (2009)

All of my other top ballparks are in exciting neighborhoods and have great views. Citi Field doesn't have either of those things going for it, but the stadium design itself is so well done that it can stand alone and be one of the best. Enter through the Jackie Robinson Rotunda and walk across the bridge in right center field to enter the scoreboard concourse. Walk towards your seats with a great view of the field from the open concourses and take in everything this ballpark has to offer – even the lighting towers bend in the shape of a bridge. The Mets thought out every inch.

Number TWO:
PNC Park, Pittsburgh Pirates (2001)

A small, intimate ballpark with the best view in baseball sits on the Allegheny River and overlooks downtown Pittsburgh. Outfield seats are almost nonexistent letting in an awesome panorama of the city skyline. Connecting the ballpark and downtown is the Roberto Clemente (6th Street) Bridge, open only to pedestrian traffic during games.

Number ONE, the best ballpark in baseball:
AT&T Park, San Francisco Giants (2000)

Located on the bay in San Francisco, everyone attending a Giants game is sitting right on the water. You can watch yachts and kayaks float by beyond Levi's Landing, or spend an inning or two standing on the landing for a great view of the field. Everywhere you look in AT&T Park there is something beautiful, like the Bay Bridge beyond the Coke bottle in left field, not to mention a great view of the diamond from every seat and stand in the ballpark.


  1. You mean to tell me that Fenway is not there? What kind of RedSox fan are you?

  2. Where is Wrigely Field.

    I thought you said your judging this on atmosphere and view

  3. If it was based solely on atmosphere, wrigley field and fenway park would be the top two no question. If it was based solely on view (of surrounding area) pittsburgh would be number one. If it was based on view (of the field) fenway and wrigley would be down towards the bottom of the list.

    I love Wrigley and Fenway, and I think they are the most fun places to watch a game because of the atmosphere, the history, the realization that Babe Ruth played there...

    But there's the cramped concrete concourse, the poles obstructing your view, almost no decent standing room all around the ballpark - that's why they're not top five. They're definitely top ten, because they are legendary baseball venues, but you have to check out some of these brand new ballparks... there are some great new places out there.

  4. It's basically universally accepted that PNC and AT&T are the best of the best of the new breed of ballparks. I don't think any place can beat the spectacular beauty and ambiance of the SF bay. Not to mention the world famous quirks such as the Splash Landings possible from AT&T park. PNC does have an awesome view of Pittsburg's skyline though, but as far as skylines go Pittsburg is pretty 3rd rate. It's not like you're staring at a top tier skyline like NY/Chi/SF or anything.