I realize my site is a bit late on the ballpark scene, as I created this website at the end of the ballpark boom, so I must reiterate that these following sites have always served as a guideline. I have read everyone’s content and opinions for years. Of all the websites created by ballpark enthusiasts, I’d say mine is different in that it stresses detailed opinions, uses a comprehensive rating system, and includes research articles. Another difference in my site is that I don’t discuss minor league ballparks (other than spring training), yet.
The best of the best! Baseball fever’s ballpark blog has historically been the virtual center of the ballpark community. While interest has slowed lately, reflecting an end in the ballpark boom, ballpark aficionados have engaged in pages and pages of discussion regarding the merits of the new retro ballparks, new ballpark aesthetics, historic ballparks, ballpark architecture, ballpark trends, and any other miscellaneous ballpark topic you can think of, including specific discussions on almost every current and historic ballpark ever built.
True ballpark critics fuel much of the debate here, not the average American fan, so you’ll sense a strong sentiment against the so-called new generation of “mallparks” built in the last quarter century. The “ballpark hipsters,” as I call them, deride gimmicky features, contrived dimensions, the lack of decking cantilevers, the HOK cookie cutter, invasive premium seating, and new ballpark entertainment, amongst other things, while fashionably deeming the old jewel box ballpark superior. Of course, I agree with them on some of these issues.
Anyway, if you have the patience to dig deep through the achieves, you’ll find the most scholarly debate on ballpark design anywhere on the Internet.
Graham Knight has one of the top ballpark websites on the planet, featuring short, but comprehensive, reviews of MLB, AAA, AA, A, and Spring Training Ballparks. His reviews are primarily informative, but he artfully mixes in enough opinion as well, providing a ballpark ranking at the end of each MLB article.
Spring Training Connection:
If you are a spring training junky like me (13 straight years now), Graham Knight’s companion site is literally the best thing since sliced bread. He provides refreshinglydetailed reviews, delving into detailed categories like directions, practice fields, seating geometry, cup holders, autographs, shading, concessions, and premium seating. He even provides the row numbers for each section! For what it serves, this is the best niche ballpark site on the Internet.
Joe Mock’s baseballparks.com is perhaps the best-known ballpark website on the Internet. While geared toward selling merchandise, his website provides a wealth of information, including in-depth ballpark reviews, photo galleries, rankings, and up to date news.
The top website for ballpark news. Ballpark digest also provides short reviews on a number of major and minor league ballparks with opinion included as a side note.
Here is another one of the ballpark nation’s favorites. Instead of providing the usual factual review, Digitalballparks.com has the largest collection photo galleries on the planet, articulated by thoughtful comments. There are some old pictures that can’t be found anywhere else (like the doomed, but visionary, spring training venue Homestead Stadium). The yearly Ballpark of the Year Award is a handsome honor.
Ballparks of Baseball:
This is one of the older ballpark websites on the net, geared mostly for providing information. Fans can write about their ballpark experiences as well.
Another classic website for providing factual information on MLB ballparks
While not overly detailed, Ballpark Reviews is another website whose opinion I value highly. Brian Merzbach provides succinct, honest reviews of major and minor league ballparks across North America from the perspective of the average fan, not the American consumer or the usual ballpark critic. He gives letter grades to over 500 ballparks.
You won’t find this one through Google, but Andrew Clem is widely known as an invaluable source on ballpark research. His website includes ballpark news and ballpark reviews. The site is perhaps best known for its ballpark cross section diagrams.
Roger Weber’s website hasn’t had any activity for almost three years now, but this little known website includes original research articles and his own scientific rankings system. He was a valuable new addition to the ballpark enthusiast scene whose contributions were known on baseball fever.
While difficult to use as a source, Charlie O’Reilly’s site is said to be one of the best in terms of number of ballparks documented.
Here’s another one of my favorites. Paul Hamann’s ballpark reviews are more of the anecdotal type, consisting of wonderfully written personal stories and opinions based on his ballpark travels. Ballpark rankings are included.
Baseball Stadium Reviews:
Often criticizing kid related entertainment features, Amanda Lippert’s short reviews provide some surprisingly original content (like concession pictures, I’ve always wanted that included) worth checking out. Opinion and ratings included.
MLB road trip:
One of the original ballpark road trip websites from back in 2001.
Consisting solely of pictures, Stadium Page provides some of the most original content in the ballpark community. Eric Okurowski, another contributor on baseball fever, finds renderings of unrealized ballpark concepts and early renderings of now constructed ballparks. This is another invaluable resource, for which I had been previously desperately searching for years!
Another great ballpark website from a well known model ballpark designer and ballpark critic on baseball fever.
A relatively new stadium review website written by a number of regional correspondents. This one varies too much in content and consistency.
The Ultimate Sports Road Trip:
The media friendly sports road trippers from Buffalo review and rank all 30 ballparks.
All Down the Line:
Alldowntheline is one woman’s opinion on a number of ballparks. I particularly like this one for some reason, which I can’t quite put my finger on. This website is of particular interest for ballpark tour junkies.
Here is a social networking community of baseball fans who discuss and post details about their ballpark travels.
Another photo galleries website.
Mop up Duty:
Ballpark reviews from the Canadian website.
My Central Jersey:
A number of ballpark reviews from a Mets website.
Ballpark ratings and rankings from national publications:
Here is ESPN’s ambitious attempt to grade every MLB ballpark out of 100 based on 20 categories. My website is the most similar ratings system since. Though I always say it’s more about comparing the scores in each category than comparing the overall score. What’s the practical difference between say, 88 and 88.5? Anyway, the ESPN reviews shouldn’t be taken too seriously, as the reviews are poorly weighted, written by multiple columnists, and primarily geared at humor. Though I’d be lying if I didn’t somewhat use this as a framework!
Sports Illustrated Fan Value Index:
Here is the famous Sports Illustrated Fan Value Index conducted in 2006. It’s an attempt to find the best experience for the money, not the best experience overall. It also doesn’t measure subjective categories, like aesthetics. Average ticket price, average cost of concessions, accessibility, amenities, atmosphere, neighborhood, and team are measured. Measuring cost is more indicative of team quality and market, so I don’t give this a lot of credence in measuring the quality of the ballpark. Fenway 28th? Safeco 23rd?
Sports Illustrated Fan Survey:
Here is a similar rankings system based on a fan survey. In other words, how do fans rank their own ballpark? This again takes affordability and team quality in account. But the data on Neighborhood and Food ratings is invaluable to my research and reviews. Specifically, the neighborhood ratings are remarkably accurate.
Yelp/New York Times:
The New York Times simply ranks each ballpark based on their Yelp score. This isn’t the most scientific measure, with obvious sampling limitability, but its at least interesting.
Here is Forbes ballpark rankings.