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. While there is a “comments” section at the end of each specific ballpark review, please e-mail me at cole@ballparkratings.com if you have any questions or comments.  Definitely feel free to comment, as the old comments couldn’t be transferred to our new layout in 2017!  Also, e-mail 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 April 14th 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

Throughout the month of April, here is what will be done:

  • All major league ballpark reviews will be revised for minor changes that occurred from 2014-2017 and edited for writing quality
  • All features, links, articles, and about pages will be updated and reformatted
  • All 24 post-1991 ballparks (except the new SunTrust Park) will be rated and in many cases re-rated, excluding the dilapidated Tropicana Field, Rogers Centre, and Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, and the classic Dodger Stadium, Wrigley Field, and Fenway Park, as explained in the past.  But full, in-depth reviews will still be pending.
  • An asterisk will be applied to Petco Park, Busch Stadium, and Progressive Field as these parks deserve a new assessment in 2017

Times change, and the ratings will be 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

Throughout the 2017 season:

  • Significantly revamped review and rating of Petco Park based on attendance at games
  • Significantly updated reviews and ratings of Progressive Field and Busch Stadium based on attendance at games
  • Ratings of SunTrust Park based on attendance at games
  • After this, all 24 post-1991 ballparks can finally be ranked with all ratings done
  • Then, I will finish some long overdue reviews
  • New, in-depth reviews of Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Chase Field, and Great American Ballpark
  • New, in-depth review of the new SunTrust Park will receive priority
  • Full, in-depth review of Marlins Park, expounding on to the abbreviated review
  • 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.

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 2017
  • Tigers at Padres, Petco Park, Full Series, June 23rd-25th 2017
  • Diamondbacks at Cardinals, Busch Stadium, July 27th 2017
  • Astros at Tigers, Comerica Park, July 28th 2017
  • Royals at White Sox, Guaranteed Rate Field, August 11th 2017
  • *SunTrust Park series: TBD
  • *Rogers Centre series (possibly): TBD
DSC01446
DSC05970 copy
DSC09617 copy
New, full, in-depth reviews of Hammond Stadium, Roger Dean Stadium, and First Data Park will be released this week, March 6th to March 10th (shown top to bottom).

Ball

Park

News

NEW: The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches

2017 is the biggest year for Grapefruit League ballparks in recent memory.  This new park will open for the Nationals and Astros.  The complex doesn’t look as elaborate as the ballparks that recently opened in Arizona, but we’ll see.

NEW: Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium

Joker Marchant Stadium underwent $48 million worth of upgrades, adding a 360 degree concourse, new club spaces, new party areas, a new berm bar, a new scoreboard, and other new amenities.

Steinbrenner Field receives renovations

I was wondering how the Yankees would respond to the Sox getting a new ballpark.  Steinbrenner Field received comprehensive enhancements, with the addition of loge boxes, bullpen clubs, cabanas (!)

Featured Ballpark: AT&T Park

att_arch_3

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.

 

July’s featured park will be Comerica Park, which may have lost the 2012 World Series, but is surprisingly winning the ballpark ratings war.