Unparalleled Ballpark Reviews

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 cole@ballparkratings.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!

What’s New and Future Articles

Hello Hello!  I finally created a Facebook page.  Like us on facebook!

As you can see, Ballparkratings.com has a new design!   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.

As of September 1st 2017, here is what has been done:

  • Photo galleries are now ordered by category at the bottom of each ballpark review
  • Spacing issues have been addressed with a new consistent formatting
  • A new “ballpark news” section has been added at the bottom of this home page
  • New, distinct background images have been added for most ballparks
  • Photo Galleries have been added for EVERY spring training ballpark! (except the Cubs’ Sloan Park)
  • New, extensive (500+) photo galleries have been added for Great American Ballpark and Angel Stadium of Anaheim
  • Ratings for every spring park in Florida
  • Full, in-depth reviews or brief notes for every spring park in Florida
  • New photos from the final game at Turner Field
  • All 27 ballparks have been rated and in many cases re-rated, excluding the classic Dodger Stadium, Wrigley Field, and Fenway Park, for reasons explained in those reviews.
  • New, extensive (500+) photo galleries of Chase Field
  • New photos in Yankee Stadium photo gallery
  • New in-depth reviews of Angel Stadium, Tropicana Field, Progressive FieldMarlins Park, and Citizens Bank Park
  • New in-depth review of SunTrust Park, the new 2017 home of the Atlanta Braves!
  • All 27 ballparks have now been ranked, excluding the classic Dodger Stadium, Wrigley Field, and Fenway Park, for reasons explained in those reviews.
SunTrust Park review new

An in-depth review of the Atlanta Braves’ new SunTrust Park has been released! Clocking in at over 15,000 words, this is my longest review ever, and will be my longest and most comprehensive review for the foreseeable future (other upcoming reviews aren’t as long). Not only do I provide in-depth analysis of the setting, architecture & aesthetics, functionality, and amenities, but I also take time to discuss the three larger implications I see at SunTrust Park for the ballparks of the future.

Throughout the rest of the 2017 season:

  • All major league ballpark reviews will be revised for minor changes that occurred from 2014-2017 and edited for writing quality; many have already undergone these changes
  • All features, links, articles, and about pages will be updated and reformatted that haven’t been already
  • Significantly revamped review and rating of Petco Park based on attendance at games
  • Significantly updated reviews and ratings Busch Stadium based on attendance at games
  • I will also finish some long overdue reviews
  • New, in-depth reviews of Nationals Park, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, Chase Field, and Great American Ballpark
  • New feature pieces and research articles

We are striving to provide some much needed new content throughout 2017.  Much of the original content, especially the independent articles, date back from 2010 (written before website launch) to 2014.  2017 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:

Functionality:

  • State-of-the-art videoboards are now ubiquitous across major league baseball, with less differentiation between parks than ever before. So the “Scoreboard” rating will be changed from x/5 to x/3
  • Correspondingly, “Concourses” will be changed from x/5 to x/7, as ‘walkability’ has continued to be emphasized throughout the decade
  • Combined, “Functionality” still adds up to x/25

Amenities:

  • The most significant ballpark evolution throughout the past seven years has been an increase in the importance of social spaces. “Restaurants” has always been shorthand for “Accessible Restaurants/Bars/Sitting Areas,” which will change to “Accessible Restaurants/Bars/Sitting Areas/Social Spaces.” The rating will change from x/2 to x/5. There can be much differentiation between post-1991 ballparks here.
  • “Signature Food,” which serves to further emphasize the importance of serving regional concessions from high quality local restaurants, and can often serve as a proxy for food quality, will be changed from x/3 to x/2. More ballparks are doing this, so there is less differentiation
  • “Entertainment,” which is shorthand for kids playground areas most of the time, will be changed from x/5 to x/3
  • Combined, “Amenities” still adds up to x/25

I am excited for my 18th consecutive year of spring training!  This is 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.  I will be seeing 10 spring training games and three WBC games.

Here’s the docket for March 2017:

  • Saturday March 11th, 1:05: Marlins at Astros, Ballpark of the Palm Beaches
  • Saturday March 11th, 6:30: United States at Dominican Republic, Marlins Park
  • Sunday March 12th, 12:30: Dominican Republic at Columbia, Marlins Park
  • Sunday March 12th, 7:00: Canada at United States, Marlins Park
  • Monday March 13th, 1:05: Tigers at Nationals, Ballpark of the Palm Beaches
  • Tuesday March 14th, 1:05: Blue Jays at Red Sox, jetBlue Park
  • Wednesday March 15th, 1:05:  Braves at Tigers, Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium
  • Wednesday March 15th, 6:35: Phillies at Yankees, Steinbrenner Field
  • Thursday March 16th, 1:07: Blue Jays at Yankees, FL Auto Exchange Stadium
  • Thursday March 16th, 6:05: Phillies at Orioles, Ed Smith Stadium
  • Friday March 17th, 1:05: Yankees at Tigers, Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium
  • Saturday March 18th, 1:05: Marlins at Tigers (ss), Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium
  • Sunday March 19th, 1:05: Yankees at Astros, Ballpark of the Palm Beaches

During the regular season, here is my tentative schedule:

  • Cubs at Astros, Minute Maid Park, March 31st 2017
  • Royals at Indians, Progressive Field, May 26th
    Mets at Dodgers, Dodger Stadium, June 21st
    Mets at Dodgers, Dodger Stadium, June 22nd 
    Tigers at Padres, Petco Park, June 23rd
    Tigers at Padres, Petco Park, June 24th
    Tigers at Padres, Petco Park, June 25th
    Diamondbacks at Braves, SunTrust Park, July 14th
    Diamondbacks at Braves, SunTrust Park, July 15th
    Diamondbacks at Braves, SunTrust Park, July 16th
    ADDITION: Diamondbacks at Cardinals, Busch Stadium, July 27th
    Diamondbacks at Cardinals, Busch Stadium, July 28th
    EDIT: Indians at White Sox, Guaranteed Rate Field, July 29th
    EDIT: Dodgers at Tigers, Comerica Park, August 18th
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Progressive Field, Petco Park, and Busch Stadium will be rerated and re-reviewed!  These parks have undergone a lot of changes during the decade.

Ball

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News

NEW: SunTrust Park

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 renovations

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 enhancements

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.

Featured Ballpark: AT&T Park

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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.