Modern ballparks have the edge for technology, but the old stadiums counter with charm and history. Both add to the baseball experience.
American baseball is referenced back to a 1791 ordinance in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Field dimensions are much the same as then, but the stadiums in which baseball is played are not. Today’s ballparks are amazing monuments to the sport’s popularity.
Kids play the game from the time they’re three or four and dream of someday stepping to the plate as big leaguers. Most won’t make it that far, but that won’t keep them from watching a game in one of America’s grand baseball playgrounds.
Stadiums vary widely in age, capacity and configuration, but each is as unique as its team’s lineup. If you like baseball, people watching and architecture, consider visiting a Major League Baseball park—other than that of your home team—this season.
In no particular order, here are some stadiums that made my list and that of several trusted baseball sources.
Minute Maid Park: Baseball’s a summertime game mostly, and this park’s high-tech, retractable roof keeps the seasonal swelter out. When the roof ’s closed and the Astros win a playoff game, it’s one of baseball’s loudest venues.
Wrigley Field: With the Chicago Cubs actually playing decent baseball again and ice-cold beer still flowing in Wrigleyville bars, Wrigley is a great place to catch an afternoon game. Renovations underway now will (hopefully) add more than they take away from this one.
Fenway Park: America’s oldest standing MLB Park, Fenway was built in 1912. Its left-field Green Monster is iconic in the sport, and Boston fans are, well, fanatic.
PNC Park: Home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, PNC is a great place to watch a ballgame or, if you’re in the right place, a view of the city skyline.
AT&T Park: This is located where Tony Bennett left his heart, in San Francisco. Who can’t get excited about home runs that actually land in the bay, where they’re chased down by fans in kayaks?
Yankee Stadium: This is the new one, which opened in 2009 and is nestled into the Bronx. It’s a big-time team with a big-time venue. Enjoy ballgames and Broadway in the same day or over a long weekend. You can’t do that anywhere else.
America’s pastime is alive and well. From inside any MLB park, during any game and from any seat, you can feel its pulse.