Now what?

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Minute Maid Park in Houston came in at #22 on USA Today’s ballpark ranking. I’d definitely move it up.

Here’s the list of 14 Major League ballparks I haven’t seen (in order of ranking according to USA Today):

  1. PNC Park in Pittsburgh
  2. Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City
  3. Target Field in Minnesota
  4. Citi Field in New York
  5. Camden Yards in Baltimore
  6. Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia
  7. Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.
  8. SunTrust Park in Atlanta
  9. Marlins Park in Miami
  10. Miller Park in Milwaukee
  11. Yankee Stadium in New York
  12. Rogers Centre in Toronto
  13. U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago
  14. Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay

I forgot to mention in my Dodger Stadium post that I have now seen all five California ballparks, which is kinda cool. Here’s how I’d rank those:

  1. AT&T Park in San Francisco
  2. Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles
  3. Petco Park in San Diego
  4. Oakland Coliseum in Oakland
  5. Angel Stadium in Los Angeles (I know, it’s weird to rank it below the Coliseum but I don’t remember all that much that was memorable about this one either. They do have that cool rock waterfall thing in the outfield, and I did sit in one of the most unique vantage points in this stadium: the first row in left field, next to the foul pole and basically level with the players on the field.)
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Petco Park in San Diego, ranked as the best park in the Major Leagues, according to USA Today.

Speaking of that USA Today list, there are some interesting choices on it. First off, ranking Petco Park as the BEST ballpark in the league is a bold statement. I really did like it a lot, but is it better than all of the rest? Not sure about that. It seems weird to put it at the top of the list when most of San Diego itself feels indifferent about it. I was more impressed with Safeco Field in Seattle, which feels WAY low at #16, but maybe that’s just because the electricity level was significantly higher. Everything I’ve heard about PNC Park in Pittsburgh suggests that #3 is about right. Comparing the classic stadiums to the newer fields is very much apples and oranges, but I’m mostly good with the landing spots for Wrigley (#4), Dodger Stadium (#5) and Fenway (#8, although it’s behind Coors Field?).

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Coors Field in Denver: #7 on the list and one spot ahead of Fenway Park. Red Sox fans are probably fine with this.

With fully two-thirds of the 30 MLB parks having been built in just two decades, between 1992-2012, and most of them having a somewhat familiar look, it’ll be interesting to see where the next stadium design trend might take us. AT&T, Camden Yards, Petco, Comerica, PNC, et al are all beautiful parks, but they’ve all pretty much followed the same blueprint. The distinctive elements of the classics (the Green Monster in Fenway, the ivy in Wrigley, the exhilarating feeling upon emerging from the depths-of-hell concourses at Tiger and Yankee Stadium) haven’t exactly been replicated by the newer parks, although many of them do have cool touches. (btw, cool story on weird old ballpark quirks here). Still, it feels like there’s something new out there and we haven’t seen it yet. Maybe in Oakland…

Even a cursory look at the stadiums left on my list suggests that a follow-up trip will be significantly trickier to plan than the first one. I can’t really do anything specific until the schedule comes out, but I’m anticipating a fun challenge. The good news is that all of what’s left is midwest and east coast; the park that’s furthest west is in Kansas City, and potentially some of those on the Atlantic are even accessible by non-flying transportation. But where I was pretty free to go wherever I wanted the first time (simply because I hadn’t seen many parks at that point), this time the scheduling will have to be more precise.

Anyway, if you are in Milwaukee, Kansas City, Minneapolis, or pretty much anything along the eastern seaboard, I’ll hopefully see you next June!

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I can’t! Stop yelling at me! 

As I write this, I’m listening to the 97.1 radio broadcast of the Tigers/A’s game, which ironically I’m unable to actually watch on TV. Seems like MLB Network shouldn’t be blocking out games that are virtually impossible to see, but at least I get to listen to Dan Dickerson and Jim Price for the first time in a few years. Go Tigers! Go A’s! So conflicted!

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