Hello Hello! I finally created a facebook page. Like us on facebook! This spring, we completed our Cactus League section of the website. The reviews and rankings aren't as esoteric as the major league stuff, other than a number of exceptions, but its similarly extensive in terms of opinions and ratings. The ranking and ratings article of Cactus League ballparks is now up. In-depth reviews of most of the Cactus League ballparks are up, while abbreviated reviews (ratings and photos still included) of Scottsdale Stadium, Camelback Ranch, and Salt River Fields at Talking Stick are up and full reviews will be posted in time for spring training 2014. Reviews and ratings of the Grapefruit League ballparks will appear throughout the winter and spring of 2014 and the full rankings will be released at the end of spring training 2014.
Reviews of the Northeastern ballparks I attended last summer are long overdue. A full, in depth review of the revolutionary Camden Yards is complete. Full reviews and ratings of Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, Nationals Park will be completed whenever I have time, assumably during the winter. I anticipated finishing them earlier but I've been too busy!
During the summer of 2013, I attended/will attend Angel Stadium (July 19th-21st), Great American Ballpark (September 4th-6th), Marlins Park (September 27th-29th), and a number of other previously reviewed ballparks. A full, in depth review will the Reds' ballpark will come out during their potential postseason run in October. The review of Angel Stadium will be released during the 2013-2014 off-season. The same goes for Marlins Park, which I have to put on hold based on recent events, as it is truly the perfect symbol of how the quality of a ballpark is a reflection of the people in it. The atmosphere, concessions, staff, and other amenities have obviously affected by fire sale. So that is why I am going yet again for a reevaluation.
As briefly alluded to above, a number of existing reviews and ratings are now changed. A large part of this website is updating previous reviews because ballpark operations frequently change from year to year. My home park, Turner Field, has taken my advice and significantly upgraded their food options by bringing in a couple of local venders, namely the H&F Burger, which frequently tops lists of best burgers in the nation. After my rather scathing review of Turner Field, it’s nice to say something positive here! Rangers Ballpark is constantly going through a series of welcome enhancements, so a change there is nothing new. Safeco Field, despite caveats about its aesthetic design, further solidified itself as an objectively superior experience by adding the largest video board in baseball. Yeah, once you take out its disastrously clashing aesthetics, its close to being the best ballpark in all of baseball. Finally, the gorgeous Progressive Field finally added something substantially new in the entertainment category. Those four parks will receive a small boost in the ratings, while numerous other parks will be updated, including Comerica Park with personal World Series photos.
Sadly, not all ballpark get better though. In what may be the most significant adverse ballpark aesthetic alteration since the Connie Mack’s “spike fence” in 1935 (i.e. think if the Wrigley rooftop bleachers were obstructed today), surely the most unfortunate ballpark change involves Minute Maid Park. Oriole fans bring up Camden Yards' blocked view of the skyline and Bromo Seltzer Tower in terms of disastrous ballpark alterations, but check this out. The flurry of adds could only been described as a complete distance, throwing off the aesthetic balance, muddling the attractive archways, and obstructing an unmatched view of the 4th largest city. This was a particularly significant review for me because it was one of my longest and opposed the wide consensus opinion on this park. In what is perhaps the most contrarian piece of work I have written on this website, I was the only one that liked this park and took pride in defending it! For me right now, Minute Maid Park is kind of like that drunk girl you always defend, and then she turns around and embarrasses you by making a fool of herself at a party. Ultimately, the park will be deducted 3-5 points overall.
During April 2014, I will see a game at Chase Field. I will also finally attend Dodger Stadium. Because I will be done visiting all of the "rateable" ballparks, I will write composite ranking articles under the features section ranking the 24 new or renovated mlb ballparks overall and in separate categories based on the ratings in the individual ballpark reviews. Dodger Stadium (at least until renovations), Wrigley Field, and Fenway Park don't compare so don't shouldn't be ranked or even rated with the others, while the Oakland Coliseum and Tropicana Field just don't deserve to be in the conversation for obvious reasons. I'll think about Rogers Centre. I will make allusions to these aformentioned parks in these rankings articles (maybe even rank them separately; and I've said I'll write an article comparing Wrigley and Fenway), but it just doesn't make sense to group any of these in with the other 24.
The articles will be like "Ranking MLB Ballparks overall"; ranking in terms of architecture and aesthetics; in terms of objective measures, etc. I will also eventually rank all of the ballparks on sub-categories like interior design, exterior design, concourses, food, club levels, home plate clubs, restaurants ect. Eventually, I will write some more fun miscellaneous articles like "best ballparks never built," "best ballparks in history," "best seats in baseball," "worst seats in baseball," and much more, or perhaps sometimes reviewing a specific extraordinary personal experience at a ballpark.
In case you guys are curious, by April 2014, the only MLB ballparks I will not have attended will be Rogers Centre and the Oakland Coliseum. The former of which I do have interest in attending due to the city and the ballpark's historical significance, while I have no intention of going to the latter.
Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants for winning the 2012 World Series, in what was a faceoff between the two highest rated ballparks in baseball. 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.
Updated with World Series photos, August's will be Comerica Park, which may have lost the World Series, but surprisingly is winning the ballpark ratings war.
History of Premium Seating and Future Trends By Cole Shoemaker
Baseball is foremost a business and premium ticket sales generate an enormous amount of revenue which facilitated the ballpark building boom
Architecture of the Retro Ballpark Movement By Cole Shoemaker
What gave rise to the movement? Is it a trend that will soon fall out of style and receive criticism? How will the retro ballparks be perceived 40 years from now? Are they all too similar? What it tells us about baseball and our society.
Sightlines: Examining Field Proximity By Cole Shoemaker
Short article about the seating and sightlines of new ballparks.