best and worst stadiums ranked from 1
More than in any other major American professional sport, the where matters in baseball nearly as much as the who and how. Ballparks aren just settings for the game. They unique temples that evoke a feeling from fans of the home team and beyond.
The first thing you notice, even before you emerged from the concourse, is the welcoming smell. Follow your nose to the garlic fries stand. Strolling behind the right field fence, you can look left and see Hunter Pence or look right and see San Francisco Bay, stretching beyond the kayaks and assorted water vessels in McCovey Cove. It cozy but not cramped. It feels both modern and ancient, the way any great ballpark should. Across the street from the ballpark, the best spot to pregame is MoMo While you at the park: Crush a crab sandwich while walking along the arcade that separates the right field wall and McCovey Cove.
While you in town: Plan your visit to Alcatraz well ahead of time, as tickets go fast to check out “The Rock.” Take a trip out into San Francisco Bay for a full tour of one of the most famous prisons in the world, and catch a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge on your way.
Player insight: “You know, it different. I think they did a good job with the stadium, but it always, always, always very, very windy there. It almost not baseball weather because you right on the water on the bay. That was the only difference there.” Nationals infielder Stephen Drew
Capacity: 38,496 Opened: 2001
The lone drawback might be how difficult it is to keep your eyes on the game. PNC offers the greatest view in baseball: The Allegheny River, flowing under yellow bridges, with the gothic architecture of downtown providing a backdrop. But the view to the field isn much worse. Because there no third deck, it intimate. The concessions are solid, too. You just won want to leave your seat to fetch them. Along with T (Mexican street food) and Nicky Thai Kitchen, you have an excuse to cross that yellow Roberto Clemente Bridge you can see from the ballpark.
While you at the park: A Primanti Bros. sandwich goes well with the beautiful views of the Pittsburgh skyline and bridges over the Allegheny River.
While you in town: Just a five minute walk up the North Shore from PNC Park, the Andy Warhol Museum is a unique glimpse into the great art and architecture of Pittsburgh. Immersive, interactive and downright cool.
Player insight: “I like PNC, the looks of it. It not a place I get in the box and feel super confident. But yeah, we talk about it. A lot of guys say it their favorite park just for the aesthetics.” Nationals outfielder Chris Heisey
Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Capacity: 45,971 Opened: 1992
Still the crown jewel of baseball neo traditionalist ballpark spree of the 1990s, Camden Yards is as pure a baseball experience as exists, with perfect sightlines, an urban backdrop dominated by the colossal B Warehouse and the atmosphere enhanced by the pungent smell of smoked meat from Boog Barbecue. Walk here from the Inner Harbor and stop for a beer or three along the way. The restaurant is tiny, but the flavors are large.
While you at the park: Try a sandwich from Boog or the crab dip covered waffle fries from Flying Dog Grill and watch batting practice from the flag court overlooking right field. Don miss the baseball shaped plaques that mark home runs along Eutaw Street.
While you in town: The ballpark is a few blocks from Baltimore iconic Inner Harbor, and its famous aquarium. After you see the fish, you can order some or drink like one; a few blocks further are Little Italy and Fells Point.
Player insight: “I think Camden Yards, it a great mix of being able to be a newer feeling stadium, but also has kind of the charm and the old feel. I love the brick, you love the ways they worked the warehouse into the field. I feel like it was really well put together where they still gave a lot of character to it. And at the same time, you still get most of the new frills of stadiums built after 1990.” Nationals catcher Matt Wieters
4. Red Sox
Capacity: 37,673 Opened: 1912
While the Henry/Lucchino/Epstein regime is rightly celebrated for leading the Red Sox back to glory in the 2000s, an equally significant achievement was transforming this historic “lyric little bandbox” in John Updike words with revenue generating features without losing its charm and coziness. It a bustling brasserie with a menu to please just about anyone, including a beloved burger, expertly shucked oysters, pastas, steaks plus well made cocktails, an accessible and fun wine list and an up to the minute craft beer menu.