Spring is in the air, so baseball cannot be far behind. This year, Major League Baseball will see its earliest start, with all 30 teams playing on March 29. It will be the first time that all teams have played on Opening Day since 1968.
Fans will flock to all 30 of MLB’s ballparks from Opening Day until the dog days of summer shift into fall. While taking in baseball is a bonding experience for friends and family over the summer, not all ballparks in the league are created equal.
With the Atlanta Braves having opened their new ballpark last season, it’s time to look at all 30 and say which team has the best and which has the worst across them all. As with any ranking, it’s a subjective assessment, and which teams I have in certain places may not match your picks. I’ll be looking to have that discussion on Twitter.
For my methodology, I looked at the overall aesthetics of the ballpark design, including integration with additional structures, such as in Baltimore and San Diego; its setting; the visuals from within the seating bowl or surrounding views; the amenities offered at the facility; historic relevance; and external development that adds to the experience.
At the top of the list is AT&T Park in San Francisco, home of the Giants. Located on the Bay, where balls hit out to right field land in McCovey Cove, it’s a gem, with great views of downtown, activity around the ballpark and trolley access. And while Candlestick Park, the former home of the Giants, could be as cold and windy as any place in the league, the AT&T Park location largely dodges this. Summer day games are beyond glorious.
Rounding out the top 5 are Busch Stadium, thanks to the incredible views of the Gateway Arch and downtown St. Louis; Dodger Stadium, with its classic view of Chavez Ravine and the fact that it feels very modern despite being the third-oldest ballpark in all of MLB; and PNC Park in Pittsburgh, which has a view that might be the most stunning in all of baseball, with a view of the iconic Roberto Clemente Bridge and downtown.
At the back of the pack, unsurprisingly, the 30th- and 29th-ranked ballparks are ones the league and their clubs have desperately looked to replace for over a decade. Coming in dead last is Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays. It is the league’s only remaining dome with no retractable roof, which makes the ballpark experience call to mind being inside a fluted cow pie and is in a far-from-optimal location. It all adds up to an aesthetic that is no longer seen as in line with any of the others in the league.
Just behind the Trop is Oakland-Alameda Co. Coliseum, home of the Athletics. With its aging, cookie-cutter design, it would have been bad off with its decaying interior. But the seating for the Oakland Raiders — nicknamed Mt. Davis after former Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis — also blocked the view of the Oakland Hills.
Rounding out the bottom five are Guaranteed Rate Field, home of the White Sox, which, despite being the original ballpark in the wave of new designs, never had any charm compared with OPACY (which came just after); No. 27 Chase Field, which, while a retractable roof was mandatory in sweltering Phoenix, feels more like an airplane hangar inside; and Marlins Park comes in at No. 26. While the modern design fits in with Miami and broke from a long line of retro designs that had become tired, the color scheme, fish tanks behind home plate and home run sculpture, which I describe as “Busby Berkeley on acid,” make the experience more tacky than grand.
Below is the ranking of all 30 ballparks in Major League Baseball. It includes the year they opened, type of roof (or lack thereof), design type, and primary architect.
|1||AT&T Park||Giants||San Francisco, CA||2000||Open air||Retro-Classic||HOK Sports (now, Populous)|
|2||Oriole Park at Camden Yards||Orioles||Baltimore, MD||1992||Open air||Retro-Classic||HOK Sports (now, Populous)|
|3||Busch Stadium III||Cardinals||St. Louis, MO||2006||Open air||Retro-Classic||HOK Sports (now, Populous)|
|4||Dodger Stadium||Dodgers||Los Angeles, CA||1962||Open air||Retro-Modern||Praeger-Kavanagh-Waterbury|
|5||PNC Park||Pirates||Pittsburgh, PA||2001||Open air||Retro-Classic||HOK Sports (now, Populous)|
|6||Coors Field||Rockies||Denver, CO||1995||Open air||Retro-Classic||HOK Sports (now, Populous)|
|7||Fenway Park||Red Sox||Boston, MA||1912||Open air||Jewel Box||James McLaughlin, Renovation|
|8||Kauffman Stadium||Royals||Kansas City, MO||1973||Open air||Retro-Modern||Kivett and Myers, Renovation (1997, 2008) by HOK Sports (now, Populous)|
|9||Petco Park||Padres||San Diego, CA||2004||Open air||Retro-Classic||HOK Sports (now, Populous)|
|10||Wrigley Field||Cubs||Chicago, IL||1914||Open air||Jewel Box||Zachary Taylor Davis|
|11||Safeco Field||Mariners||Seattle, WA||1999||Retractable||Retro-Modern||NBBJ|
|12||New Yankee Stadium||Yankees||Bronx, NY||2009||Open air||Retro-Classic||HOK Sports (now, Populous)|
|13||Citi Field||Mets||Queens, NY||2009||Open air||Retro-Classic||HOK Sports (now, Populous)|
|14||Globe Life Park in Arlington||Rangers||Arlington, TX||1994||Open air||Retro-Classic||David M. Schwarz|
|15||Comerica Park||Tigers||Detroit, MI||2000||Open air||Retro-Classic||HOK Sports (now, Populous)|
|16||Target Field||Twins||Minneapolis, MN||2010||Open air||Retro-Modern||HOK Sports (now, Populous)|
|17||Miller Park||Brewers||Milwaukee, WI||2001||Retractable||Retro-Modern||HKS, Inc.|
|18||SunTrust Park||Braves||Atlanta, GA||2017||Open air||Retro-Modern||Populous|
|19||Citizens Bank Park||Phillies||Philadelphia, PA||2004||Open air||Retro-Modern||Ewing Cole Cherry Brott|
|20||Progressive Field||Indians||Cleveland, OH||1994||Open air||Retro-Modern||HOK Sports (now, Populous)|
|21||Minute Maid Park||Astros||Houston, TX||2000||Retractable||Retro-Modern||HOK Sports (now, Populous)|
|22||Rogers Centre||Blue Jays||Toronto, Ontario||1989||Retractable||Multipurpose||Rod Robbie|
|23||Great American Ball Park||Reds||Cincinnati, OH||2003||Open air||Retro-Modern||HOK Sports (now, Populous)|
|24||Nationals Park||Nationals||Washington, DC||2008||Open air||Retro-Modem||HOK Sports (now, Populous)|
|25||Angel Stadium||Angels||Anaheim, CA||1966||Open air||Retro-Modern||Noble W. Herzberg and Associates, Renovation (1998) by HOK Sports (now, Populous)|
|26||Marlins Park||Marlins||Miami, FL||2012||Retractable||Modern||Populous|
|27||Chase Field||D-Backs||Phoenix, AZ||1998||Retractable||Modern||Ellerbe Becket|
|28||Guaranteed Rate Field||White Sox||Chicago, IL||1991||Open air||Retro-Modern||HOK Sports (now, Populous)|
|29||Oakland-Alameda Co. Coliseum||A’s||Oakland, CA||1966||Open air||Multipurpose||Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Renovation (1995-96) by HNTB|
|30||Tropicana Field||Rays||St. Petersburg, FL||1990||Dome||Multipurpose||HOK Sports (now, Populous)|