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!

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.

Petco Park Best Park in Baseball

A new, in-depth review of Petco Park has been released, which we have as the best ballpark in baseball.  As usual, Wrigley, Fenway, and Dodger are excluded from that analysis.  We can have a conversation about the classics, and then we can talk about the other 27 ballparks in the majors.

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

2018 MLB ballpark changes

 

  • Photo galleries are now ordered by category at the bottom of each ballpark review
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • Significantly revamped review and rating of Petco Park.  All photos in the gallery are new, along with vast majority of the content.
  • Photo gallery of Dodger Stadium
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 2018 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
  • New Cactus League spring training ballpark reviews, ratings, and rankings
  • All features, links, articles, and about pages will be updated and reformatted that haven’t been already
  • 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 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:

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 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:

  • Saturday March 3rd, 1:10: Brewers at Rockies, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick
  • Sunday March 4th, 1:05: Dodgers at Giants, Scottsdale Stadium
  • Monday March 5th, 1:05: Indians at Dodgers, Camelback Ranch
  • Monday March 5th, 6:40: Diamondbacks at Padres, Peoria Sports Complex
  • Tuesday March 6th, 1:10: Angels at Diamondbacks, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick
  • Tuesday March 6th, 6:05: Padres at Royals, Surprise Stadium
  • Wednesday March 7th, 1:05: Dodgers at Angels, Tempe Diablo Stadium
  • Wednesday March 7th, 6:05: Cubs at Indians, Goodyear Ballpark
  • Thursday March 8th, 1:05: Angels at Athletics, Hohokam Stadium
  • Thursday March 8th, 6:40: Giants at Mariners, Peoria Sports Complex
  • Friday March 9th, 1:05: Angels at Cubs, Sloan Park
  • Friday March 9th, 6:05: Rangers at Reds, Goodyear Ballpark
  • Saturday March 10th, 1:05: Rockies at Brewers, Maryvale Baseball Park
  • Saturday March 10th, 7:05: Cubs (ss) at Dodgers, Camelback Ranch

Here is my tentative schedule for the 2018 regular season:

  • We’ll be at Kauffman Stadium for the first time since 2009, PNC Park for the first time since 2010, and Coors Field for the first time since 2011!
    -San Francisco at Pittsburgh, PNC Park, May 11
    -San Francisco at Pittsburgh, PNC Park, May 12
    -Kansas City at Cleveland, Progressive Field, May 13
    -Tampa Bay at Kansas City, Kauffman Stadium, May 14
    -Tampa Bay at Kansas City, Kauffman Stadium, May 15
    -Tampa Bay at Kansas City, Kauffman Stadium, May 16
    -Cleveland at Houston, Minute Maid Park, May 19
    -San Francisco at Houston, Minute Maid Park, May 22
    -San Francisco at Houston, Minute Maid Park, May 23
    -Pittsburgh at St. Louis, Busch Stadium, June 2
    -Houston at Texas, Globe Life Park, June 9
    -Houston at Texas, Globe Life Park, June 10
    -Miami at Colorado, Coors Field, June 22
    -Miami at Colorado, Coors Field, June 23
    -Miami at Colorado, Coors Field, June 24
    -St. Louis at Detroit, Comerica Park, September 8
    -St. Louis at Detroit, Comerica Park, September 9

    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.

 

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Progressive Field, Petco Park, and Busch Stadium will be/have been rerated and re-reviewed!  These parks have undergone a lot of changes during the decade.

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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.