Ranking America’s Best Ballparks

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For anyone who has had the good fortune to see several Major League Baseball (MLB) games in different venues, comparisons inevitably arise as to which of America’s ballparks is the best place to take in the country’s pastime.

During an overnight layover in St. Louis in 1999, one man made a promise to himself to visit every MLB park. What resulted was a series of personal rankings of all 30 MLB ballparks in operation as of 2014.

Lawrence Gibbs, who compiled the list and shared it with Denver television station KUSA, says that when people heard what he was up to, they had two questions for him: “Which one did you like best?” quickly followed by “Which one is the worst?”

Some high (and low) lights from the best ball park rankings:

Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg (home of the Tampa Bay Rays) was deemed by Gibbs to be “as bad as it gets.” The ubiquitous presence of catwalks, some of which intrude into the field of play, as well as less-than-stellar acoustics, made for a less-than-bucolic ambience in which to enjoy the antics of the Boys of Summer. Gibbs also pointed out that the stadium’s roof doesn’t open to a view of St. Petersburg.

480x200_wrigley_fieldWrigley Field in Chicago (home of the Chicago Cubs) was the last of the old-time ballparks to put in lights for night play. This was largely due to the  late owner’s belief that baseball was a game that should be played during the day. Gibbs ranked this one #15 out of 30, noting that the field – nicknamed The Friendly Confines – is a place where every true baseball fan must see a game before it’s all over. The place needs a makeover, Gibbs noted, but the nostalgic factor and post-game festivities in the surrounding neighborhood can’t be beat.

PNC Park in Pittsburgh (home of the Pittsburgh Pirates) took the number one ranking. The stadium hearkens back to the days of old Forbes Field, with brickwork and high grandstand areas. But the single feature that has fans, Gibbs included, extolling the park’s virtues is the unbelievable, drop-dead-gorgeous view of the city’s downtown area. Having experienced that view first-hand, it’s hard to argue with Gibbs’s assessment of the stadium’s fan appeal.

You can check out the rest of the ballpark rankings by Gibb here.