Welcome to Ballpark Ratings! My name is Cole Shoemaker, and this has been an ongoing project I have worked on during the tail end of the ballpark building boom, launching in 2012. Ballparkratings.com scrutinizes all major league baseball stadiums and spring training ballparks to a degree never seen before, implementing a comprehensive ratings system based on setting, architecture, functionality, and amenities. This website also features a number of independent research articles that examine the debate (and my opinion) about the history of ballparks, the new wave of retro ballparks, design and architectural trends, the growing business of premium seating, and other logistical specifics: how does it reflect our evolving society from a macro perspective? Each ballpark features a photo gallery with 300+ photos, showcasing not only interior and exterior shots, but pictures that are more difficult to find on the internet, such as the concourses, club lounges, suites, concessions, restaurants, etc. All photos are taken by me. Ones without a watermark are just older.
While there is a “comments” section at the end of each specific ballpark review, please contact me at email@example.com or Facebook if you have any questions or comments. Facebook may be quicker. If you have a question about a specific ballpark, no matter how obscure, please ask! Definitely feel free to comment on the ballpark reviews, as the old comments couldn’t be transferred to our new layout in 2017, so it looks kind of lonely! Also, contact me if you have any interest in writing an article yourself for this website. Thanks!
Hello Hello! I finally created a Facebook page. Like us on facebook!
Ballparkratings.com underwent a new design last year! Most of the format is the same, but the site has a modernized layout that is more tablet friendly. The large photo galleries are more streamlined and accessible (so you don’t have to cycle through all of them), while old “dead” links and pages will be updated. I’ll also revamp some of the content in the ballpark reviews to bring them up to date. Be patient, as I am still working out some of the kinks.
Just in time for the MLB All-Star Game festivities, I have released the full, in-depth review of Nationals Park! I decided to break up the review this time, because it just doesn’t make sense to release 10,000+ words of this sort of content all at once. Included at the moment is my introduction (long synopsis), which gives my general impressions and provides a narrative of the ballpark’s history, followed by a look at Nationals Park’s setting. In my experience, the first page is usually plenty for most fans! On or before 7/23, we’ll get quite granular, looking at the specifics of the architecture and aesthetics, functionality (i.e. concourses/sightlines/etc.) and amenities.
For reasons I outline in the review, Nationals Park has always gotten somewhat of a bad rap from the national press and ballpark aficionados. While it fell far short of expectations, it consistently provides a very good ballpark experience in just about every respect. As the Navy Yard continues to improve, look for Nationals Park to get even better, too.
In a long overdue effort to provide up-to-date content not specific to one ballpark review, I will be writing more blog style articles in 2018 consisting of news, features, rankings, comparisons, special profiles, and more. I’ve realized long 10-15,000 word in-depth reviews simply aren’t optimal for dispensing, consuming, and sharing information in today’s social media environment, although such long-form ballpark reviews will continue to be released for those who enjoy the depth of the analysis. I hope you guys enjoy a more rapid stream of pithy and accessible original content this year.
That starts with a newly released article (2/25) outlining 2018 spring training ballpark changes.
Here is our feature article for the spring: Comparing spring training ballparks in Florida to those in Arizona.
3/23: Most family-friendly spring training ballparks
Throughout the 2018 season:
We provided some much needed new content throughout 2017, and we plan to take that to the next level throughout 2018. Much of the original content, especially the independent articles, date back from 2010 (written before website launch) to 2014. 2018 is a huge year for ballparks all across spring training and Major League Baseball, and we want ballparkratings.com to be a part of that. I will be using the Facebook page for periodic updates and announcements relating to everything above.
Times change, and the ratings have been slightly altered for the first time since 2011:
I am excited for my 19th consecutive year of spring training! Last year was one of the most exciting springs in recent memory, with the World Baseball Classic, two extensively renovated ballparks, and the new Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. This year I will be in Arizona for the 3rd time in our history (2005, 2011, and now 2018). Because I don’t get to Arizona as often as Florida, we have an ambitious schedule of games on tap. I will be seeing 14 spring training games. Of course, all ballparks will be attended and re-reviewed/re-rated.
Here is what is on the docket for March 2018:
Here is my tentative schedule for the 2018 regular season:
Games may be added in the second half in Washington D.C., Atlanta, Toronto, and/or Chicago. More content will started to be posted next week.
SunTrust Park has opened to generally positive reviews. Atlanta’s pad is seen as the model for ballpark mixed-use development, and it’s amenities will burst the scale in our ratings. But it’s the only ballpark I can remember with so little spoken about its architecture and aesthetics upon opening, which is telling. Perhaps that no longer matters.
Minute Maid Park underwent the most significant renovations in major league baseball in 2017. Tal’s Hill was removed, and a bevy of new amenities were added in and above its former location. Most notable are three different bars, the addition of Shake Shake and Torchy’s Tacos, and the new centerfield group space.
Yankee Stadium added a number of fan friendly social spaces in the offseason. New places to hang out were added in the outfield, main concourse, and the upper deck. They also added a new kids area. The amenities were always great at Yankee Stadium, but they’ve now been democratized for all fans.
On the edge of McCovey Cove, the Giants ballpark has the best views in all of baseball. While Camden Yards is generally seen as the poster child of the ballpark building boom, AT&T Park is the biggest success story of the era, constructed with private financing and generating a huge boost in attendance. Like I said, no ballpark transformed a team and its fan base quite like this. Once you couple these factors with transcendental water views and amazing amenities, you easily have one of the best ballparks in baseball.