September 09, 2003

Final Page 2: rankings of the MLB ballparks after touring them all this summer. PNC came out first and Olympic Stadium the worst. Pretty interesting to read assessments of different facets (beer selection and prices, fan knowledge, trading up seats, 7th inning stretch routines, etc.) around the league.

posted by dales15 to baseball at 12:34 AM - 35 comments

I enjoyed reading it but was a little disappointed when I caught on that it was a stable of Page 2 writers and not just one guy making the trip. C'mon. Every summer it seems like there are fans that make the trip to see every stadium. I would have been more interested in reading about a hardcore experience like that as written up by Page 2 and given a semi-slick ESPN presentation. Yeah, all sorts of fans do make the trip every summer but they are anonymous fans without the profile of ESPN. Couldn't they have sent just one lucky Page 2 scribe on the trip for the whole summer? As it is the multiple critics introduce some critical bias into the rankings. Which are just for fun of course so it is not a big point to harp upon. I guess they did what they set out to do but I kind of wished they had set out to do it slightly differently. (and no San Juan? at least one guy roadtripping went to San Juan).

posted by gspm at 04:03 AM on September 09, 2003

Pardon my ignorance, but what exactly is "Signature Food"?

posted by squealy at 04:47 AM on September 09, 2003

I think "signature food" represents some type of food that is either exclusive to the ballpark or to the city it is in. Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, Montreal smoked meat sandwiches, etc. Some places don't really have a "signature food" (like New York) but they might have a better brand of regular food that everyone knows about (ballpark franks or giant pretzels).

posted by grum@work at 07:08 AM on September 09, 2003

The guy reviewing The Bad-Named Park in Arlington made a couple of rookie mistakes. The signature food there is not the turkey leg -- it's nachos piled with Jalapenos to test your digestive mettle. Also, the thing he described as a "hoedown fiddle thing" is Cotton-Eyed Joe. I agree with the assessment that it's gigantic, but the word I would use is "cavernous" rather than "epic." Also, if you write about Coors Field (an incredible park) and you don't mention the fact they are the only venue to sell bull testicles (Rocky Mountain Oysters), you weren't paying enough attention. I was amazed to see two ballparks rated below Tropicana Field, which is easily the worst venue for professional sports I've ever been to. Garish, ugly, confined, and dull. So bad it's worth going at least once.

posted by rcade at 08:22 AM on September 09, 2003

I find it disturbing that I have to look up the name of the field and match it to it's team due to the corporate name buyout. My baseball fanboy dream is to get to Dodger stadium before they decide to build a new stadium. The guy seems to be right on with what I have read about certain stadiums, their fans, food, etc.

posted by jasonspaceman at 08:24 AM on September 09, 2003

One of these days I'll get to do an eveyr ballpark trip. When I was going around the country in 94 I mapped out the best route and everything. I've been to 11 or 12 stadiums, I think, and my favorites are, in order: Pac Bell Arlington Yankee Wrigley (big dropoff) Oakland (pre-renovation) Edison (pre-renovation) Oakland (post) Comiskey Skydome Shea and wherever else I've been, which is obviously not memorable. Haven't hit Camden or Fenway yet, but I hope I can get to Boston by the end of this month, or sometime next year. As you can see by my #2 stadium, I like the newer retro parks. Arlington is no Camden, but it's nicer than they'd have you believe.

posted by Bernreuther at 08:47 AM on September 09, 2003

P.s. Don't eat the bull testicles. Shortly after I moved to Denver, some people sprang them on me at a party without telling me what they were until after I ate one. I still have nightmares about the chewy horrors.

posted by rcade at 09:01 AM on September 09, 2003

Rogers Cadenhead and the Chewy Horrors would be a good band name. Just something to think about.

posted by Samsonov14 at 10:21 AM on September 09, 2003

Signature food denotes something not available at other parks. I can guarantee you the nachos at Busch Stadium will test your ability to consume jalapenos at a rate not suitable for the human body.

posted by wfrazerjr at 01:08 PM on September 09, 2003

Thanks to all you "signature food" explainers.

posted by squealy at 01:19 PM on September 09, 2003

I agree with Eric Neel's assessment of Dodger Stadium for the most part. But his failure to secure a pre-game meal at either Felipe's or El Burrito is astounding. Who doesn't love the world famous french dip? Or a "real" burrito con salsa verde y un cerveza? Huh? Tell me!
(Shaking fist) Ya, punks...

posted by lilnemo at 01:21 PM on September 09, 2003

gspm maybe it was out of respect for these guys.

posted by lilnemo at 01:28 PM on September 09, 2003

I disagree on the vital signature food issue -- it should be the food that would be criminal not to eat while at the ballpark, whether or not it is unique to that park. As the deep-fried bull testicles at Coors Field demonstrate, unique does not always equate to good. I've been to the Ballpark in Arlington around a half-dozen times and attended around 100 games at its predecessor, Arlington Stadium. I've never had a turkey leg. It would be sacrilege not to eat the nachos. Their processed artificial cheese is what causes Texas to produce so many freakishly large sons who man our high school football teams, where a 300+ pound 16-year-old lineman is now the norm.

posted by rcade at 01:52 PM on September 09, 2003

garlic fries are the signature food at pac bell park and while lots of folks love them I'm much more a fan of the simple hot dog and a beer. that's real baseball food!

posted by JohnSFO at 02:07 PM on September 09, 2003

John's right. But hot dog, beer, and garlic fries ain't a bad combo either. :) Oakland started offering those too after SF succeeded with them, right?

posted by Bernreuther at 03:02 PM on September 09, 2003

Wrigley got the shaft.

posted by Bag Man at 03:17 PM on September 09, 2003

I believe oakland did start offering them though havent been out to a game over there in a couple years.

posted by JohnSFO at 04:34 PM on September 09, 2003

They were too nice to Olympic Stadium.

posted by Space Coyote at 05:08 PM on September 09, 2003

Bernreuther, just so's you know: they don't use retro seats in retro parks. Which is to say, if you've got an extra ticket to Fenway, bring your chiropractor.

posted by yerfatma at 05:25 PM on September 09, 2003

Wow - Fenway did better than I expected. Shea, on the other hand, did about as well as it desrves.

posted by Joey Michaels at 06:56 PM on September 09, 2003

Was happy to see the ratings give some love to Kauffman Stadium, which is finally getting a team that might be worthy of it.

posted by jackhererra at 08:05 PM on September 09, 2003

It was an interesting read, but I also wished that there was one person (or a group of writers) that visited every ballpark, if only because there didn't seem to be any consistency in the grading. I thought that Neel tended to grade a bit more generously than Capel or Merron. How the hell does Dodger Stadium, a park that you must drive to, get the same score as many of the downtown ballparks that you could walk, drive, or take the train to? Also, he had a bit more tolerance for pricey beer than the others (to pick an area where you could actually make a comparison based on price).

posted by avogadro at 11:02 PM on September 09, 2003

Bag Man -- Even the writer admitted that Wrigley got the shaft...and that the ratings were biased towards newer stadiums. Sad to say though...since Wrigley is by far the best field in baseball. =)

posted by meanie at 11:29 PM on September 09, 2003

Preaching to the choir, yerfatma! About time somebody pointed this out. Fenway's seats were made for men wearing girdles and don't even face the action. And I'm a svelt 5'10", 180lbs!

posted by usfbull at 11:59 PM on September 09, 2003

Fenway's seats were made for the average man of 1912. Most of whom are incredibly small and light nowadays.

posted by yerfatma at 07:16 AM on September 10, 2003

I've only ever been to Wrigley. It was pretty nice. The guys that stand by the fence in the bleachers have one of the best jobs in baseball.

posted by corpse at 07:47 AM on September 10, 2003

I visited PacBell Park last summer while in California...hard to believe that PNC is nicer than that! I've never been there, but I hear Camden Yards is really nice.

posted by cg1001a at 09:44 AM on September 10, 2003

The seats are fine - we're too fat.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:16 AM on September 10, 2003

I had box seats at Wrigley last year for a Cubs Cards game. I bought them for $30, was 4 rows up from home plate (they were the players hold-over tickets), ate a foot long chili infested super dog, met Jesse Jackson and saw a game that had no advertising to be seen in the staddium, actually sounded like a baseball game (instead of top 40 radio), and caught a ball on Waveland during BP. Of course I paid $40 US to park the RV, but all in all - my greatest baseball experience. Wrigley is king.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:44 AM on September 10, 2003

1) PNC -- has a better view than Camden, has the water factor of Pac Bell, and closing off the Clemente Bridge gives the street party feel. The team usually sucks, and I wish they had left out the elevated bleachers in right field because it cheats you of more of the view. But get there anyway. 2) At the end of the day, Dodgers Stadium is a nice park, a great experience. Quiet as kept, I doubt that the even most of the gate at any park is made of people who living or working within walking distance. 3) As for the skewing towards newer parks, it skews only slightly -- the top 10 includes four stadiums that opened before the bicentennial. A job well-done is a job well-done, regardless of eras.

posted by jackhererra at 10:52 AM on September 10, 2003

I have never been comfortable in a ballpark seat, but I have indeed heard that Fenway is worse. I left Coors and Qualcomm off. Coors goes before Arlington (how do I forget my #2?) and Qualcomm in the bundle that I don't care about. I had a lot of fun there (for other reasons), and it was sort of impressive inasmuch as it was huge (I'd previously never been to an NFL stadium). I've also been by but not in Safeco, Minute Maid, Dodger, Busch, and Kauffman. All are nice, with Minute Maid being my favorite and the last 3 being the best of the totally symmetrical parks. Simple but well maintained and nice.

posted by Bernreuther at 02:23 PM on September 10, 2003

I'd like to invite ESPN to suck my fat crank. Busch Stadium 19th? On the criteria of concessions? Signature foods? Here's what makes Busch at least a top-five stadium: 1) Our signature food is beer, you idiot. Read the name. 2) We have tons of concession stands, and they don't sell foods that have foreign names or need chopsticks or require a gourmet dictionary to understand. We eat hot dogs, pretzels and nachos. If that ain't enough for you, go watch figure skating, Nancy. 3) We don't have fake-assed walls or sloping outfields to make the park interesting. We have Jim Edmonds and Albert Pujols to do that. That stupid hill in Houston? A freaking disgrace. It's a baseball field, not a goddamned sculpture. 4) There's a train that runs to a station across the street. It costs $1.25 each way. From Illinois. There's parking within two blocks for $4. There are FOUR major interstates that intersect within a mile. This is hard to get to HOW? 5) The Bowling Hall of Fame is right across the street. That's not part of the stadium, I know ... but it's pretty damn funny, and you can bowl on the same lane Richard Nixon did. 6) There is no more knowledgable fandom than in St. Louis. Remember, this is the place where opposing players get standing ovations for good defensive plays. It's also where players consistently head to actually enjoy baseball, as opposed to feeling like they work in a salt mine. 7) New York sucks. Yes, I'm a homer, but having a fancy scoreboard or really nifty luxury boxes doesn't mean shit to most of us. We care about the game, and in the things that count good hot dogs, a well-kept field and being able to discuss the merits of a possible suicide squeeze with the lady in the row behind you no one beats Busch, baby.

posted by wfrazerjr at 03:05 PM on September 10, 2003

The seats are fine - we're too fat. Sorry, no. I might be a little over my playing weight nowadays, but I'm 6'3" and if I'm not in an aisle seat in the Fens, then both of my legs are asleep by the third. Boston cheers for plays by the other team too. Or we used to. Then sports became very hip around here and all the fans got priced out of anything but the worst seats. And now our fans are on the sucky side. Which is how you get "Yankees Suck" chants during non-NY games.

posted by yerfatma at 06:50 PM on September 10, 2003

yerfatma, I recently moved to Atlanta from Boston. I was on a shuttle going to watch the Braves vs. Astros and a young kid a few seats down had on a "Yankees Suck" t shirt. Why he was wearing this to a National League game is beyond me. An older couple asked where he got it because they liked it, and in his southern drawl stated he picked it up on a trip to Boston. Probably the first time I have ever been ashamed of where I am from. And if I remember correctly, I think jerseygirl said that chant even reared it's ugly head at a Pearl Jam concert recently. What the F? And just a sidenote, I flew into Boston today for a long weekend and I can feel the energy in the air. Why the hell did I move to Atlanta? Best record in baseball, and all anyone is talking about is Vick's fibula and SEC football.

posted by usfbull at 09:44 PM on September 10, 2003

>Which is how you get "Yankees Suck" chants during non-NY games Same thing happens at some weekend SF Giants games when parts of the crowd chant "Beat LA" even though the team's playing the Rockies or Florida.

posted by JohnSFO at 10:20 AM on September 11, 2003

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