#10. CAMDEN YARDS: Orioles
Unfortunately, I did not see a game here either. Had I been able to see a game and witness a game-day atmosphere, this might be higher on my list. However, I did take a guided tour of the park and got to see the whole thing. Starting with the exterior of Camden Yards, this is a very attractive stadium. The exterior is all brown brick and looks great. I personally love it when the exterior of baseball stadiums are made of brick. Beyond the right field wall is an old warehouse building. Rather than tear down the warehouse during the construction of Camden Yards, the Orioles opted to keep it standing and incorporate it into the experience of the stadium. Today, it is used by the Orioles as an office building. Only once has the warehouse been hit on a fly by a baseball, and that came during the 1993 home run derby off the bat of Ken Griffey Jr. The exact spot where the ball hit is now marked on the building. Outside the park and behind center field is a big Babe Ruth statue. For someone who doesn’t know any better, they would be inclined think that Ruth once played for the Orioles. Obviously that was never the case, but he was born and raised in Baltimore. As for Camden Yards, this park has an “old-time” feel to it. I don’t know exactly why that is, but one of the first things I noticed when taking the tour was that it had an old-fashioned feel. My guess is because the seats are right on top of the field. Even while in the upper deck you still feel like you are up close to the action. One interesting fact that I learned while on the tour is that just behind the center field fence is a large area of grass. This grass is grown and kept healthy so that if any patches of grass on the field need to be replaced, the grounds-crew can take the grass from beyond the center field wall and place it on the field of play wherever needed. Just behind the bullpens in left-center field there is an open area with trees and benches for people to sit and eat during the game, which I thought was pretty nice. I am going to make it a point to return to Camden Yards to see a game in the future.
#9. TARGET FIELD: Twins
This is the second newest park in baseball, so I had some high expectations for Target Field. Fortunately, I wasn’t disappointed. Let’s start with the exterior of the stadium. Almost every new park that has been built in the last 12 years or so has used either brick or stone for it’s exterior, which I am a fan of. Target Field is no different. They used light and dark tan-colored stone tiles all around the outside of the stadium. Beyond the right field stands, there is a pretty cool area for fans to kind of hang out before or after each game. In this area, there are different food stands set up, as well as statues of former Twins players, such as Harmon Killebrew and Kirby Puckett. Also, there are big baseball bat-like structures placed all in a straight line. At the base of each bat, the Twins have planted ivy with the hopes that in a number of years, all of the bats will be covered in the green ivy. I thought this was pretty cool. Once inside the park, one of the first things I noticed was how wide the concourse was. I would have to say that it might have been the widest, most open-air concourse that I have seen at a baseball stadium. Also, the playing field is completely visible from the concourse, which goes around the entire first level of the park. In theory, you could walk around the concourse the entire game and not miss a pitch. I was very impressed with this. The food at Target field was nothing special, but it wasn’t bad either. One item that they do sell that I have never seen at a baseball stadium before is Root Beer. And believe it or not, the Twins have their own brand of Root Beer called “Killebrew Root Beer.” My favorite drink is Root Beer, so this really helped score some points with me. After getting a hot dog and Root Beer, I made my way down to my seat and settled in for the game. One of the first things I noticed when I got to my seat was how “compact” the stadium was, for lack of a better term. If you take Busch Stadium, for example, that park is huge. When sitting in your seat there, you feel like you are sitting in an absolutely huge stadium. Target Field on the other hand, does not have that feel at all. The park is much smaller and compact. All of the seats are much closer to the field than they are at some other stadiums, like Busch Stadium. Behind the left field stands, there is one, big jumbo tron/scoreboard that provides player statistics and game statistics throughout the entire game. Above the right field stands, there is another scoreboard/screen, but this one is a bit smaller in size. Here, you are provided with more player statistics, as well as replays and videos (both scoreboards show videos). Something unique about the seating at Target Field is the shape of the right field stands. Starting from the center field-side of these seats, they slant downward as you move closer to the right field line. It is a pretty odd looking shape. As for the field itself, it has some of its own unique characteristics. The outfield wall varies in distance from home plate, from foul line to foul line. In left, the wall is 339 feet from home plate, left-center is 377 feet, center field is 404 feet, right-center is 367 feet, and right field is 328 feet. As I’m sure you noticed, right field has much shorter distances than left field. This is because the outfield wall is much higher in right field than it is in left field, which makes it harder to hit home runs. Also in right field, part of the seating hangs out over the warning track, which can create some difficult bounces for the right fielder, as well as make it a bit easier to hit home runs. Speaking of home runs, after each home run that the Twins hit, fireworks are shot into the air above the left field scoreboard. Compared to other stadiums that I have seen do this, however, Target Field’s fireworks are pretty weak. As far as the overall attractiveness of Target Field, I liked it a lot. If you are sitting along the third base/left field line, you get a decent view of the Minneapolis skyline above the right field stands. Also, all of the seats are a forest green color, which looks really good in baseball stadiums. This park has a very modern feel to it. There is a lot of glass inside the park, which gives it that modern feel. From the 3 levels of skyboxes to the restaurant down the right field line (I believe it is a restaurant…), there seems to be more glass inside the park than most other stadiums. Another interesting thing about this stadium is that it does not have light towers on its roof. Most parks have big, towering lights that extend above its roof. At Target field, the lights are built into the face of the roof. I haven’t seen this at any other park. Once the game is over and you leave the stadium, make sure to head down 1st avenue. There are tons of bars and restaurants located there with indoor and outdoor seating. It’s a pretty cool setup. If you live in the Midwest and want to take a road trip to see some baseball, I would recommend Target Field.
#8. MILLER PARK: Brewers
These last 8 are pretty tough for me to put in order, but my number 8 stadium that I have been to is Miller Park. I honestly do not have any complaints about this stadium. Being a Cubs fan and living just north of Chicago, I have been able to attend numerous games at Miller Park, and not just when the Cubs were in town. I thoroughly enjoy going up to Miller Park to see the Brewers take on any team just because of the park itself. From the outside, and the inside for that matter, Miller Park looks huge in size. It can be clearly seen from downtown Milwaukee, which is a couple of miles away. Once you arrive at Miller Park, the first thing you will notice is the number of people tailgating in the many parking lots that surround the stadium. It is pretty much a tradition for Brewers fans, and even opposing fans, to tailgate prior to the games. I would highly recommend taking part in this to anyone who goes to Miller Park in the future. Before entering the stadium, make sure to check out the Hank Aaron statue located near the 3rd base entrance to the park. Now, with me being a Cubs fan, whenever I go see the Cubs play at Miller Park, I always make sure to wear my Cubs jersey. As I said in my write-up on the old Busch Stadium, the most hostile environment I have ever witnessed as a Cubs fan is Miller Park. When these two teams play each other in Milwaukee, the intensity between the fans gets extremely high. I would recommend taking in a Cubs/Brewers game at Miller Park if you get the chance just because of the atmosphere. As for the stadium itself, it is definitely one of the best places in the MLB to watch a game. Every seat in the house is a good seat. While in your seat, it is hard to look past just how huge the stadium is. That always amazes me. The concourses here are all very wide open, and the playing field is always in sight. The food at Miller Park has to be some of the best in baseball. Their brats and Polish sausage are the two meals that I would most highly recommend. During the game, if a Brewers player hits a home run, “Bernie the Brewer” (their mascot) slides down a big slide that is located in left field. This may not seem that all that exciting now, but if you attend a Brewers game in Milwaukee, you will see just how much their fans love this tradition. Also, at the end of each game the roof at Miller Park opens or closes, depending on whether or not it was already open, just to show the fans how it works. Like I said in my Minute Maid Park write-up, they do the same thing there as well. If you are a true baseball fan, Miller Park is a must-see stadium.
#7. COORS FIELD: Rockies
It was extremely tough for me to decide whether or not this should be number 8 or 7, but because of the setting of Coors Field, I made it my number 7 stadium. Coors Field sits a mile above sea-level, along with the rest of Denver. The surround environment around the city is what puts Coors Field ahead of Miller Park on my list, like I previously mentioned. The Rocky Mountains can be seen off in the distance behind the left field stands at Coors Field, which I though was really cool. The exterior of Coors Field is all brick, which instantly grabbed my attention. At the top of the exterior of the stadium and behind home plate, there is a big clock. This is one feature that I have only seen at Coors Field, and nowhere else. Inside the stadium, the concourses are all quite wide and allow you to always see the field. Also, the walls around the concourses are all brick as well. Normally the interior and exteriors of stadiums look different, but at Coors Field they decided to carry the brick on over into the concourse, which I really liked. Once you are in your seat, the scenery is great. The stadium itself is very attractive, but the backdrop to the outfield helps to make it even better. In center field, they have created a “mini forest” for the batter’s-eye. This was a very appropriate choice considering that there are plenty of forests in the Rocky Mountain area. Possibly the most interesting feature of the park is the row of purple seats that stretches from the end of the right field upper deck, all the way over the end of the upper deck down the left field line. This row marks one mile in elevation. Unless you know what the purple seats mean, they can really make you wonder while at the game. To get the best view of the Rocky Mountains while at Coors Field, you should sit in the upper deck down the right field line. You might also catch a good sunset from those seats as well. This is a great park to visit.
#6. Bush Stadium: Cardinals
I had been wanting to go and see a game at this park ever since the day it opened its gates. What a park! It all starts with the exterior of Busch Stadium. When walking up to the park, I could not help myself from becoming mesmerized by the incredible, brown brick exterior of the stadium. Now I know that when some one says “The brown bricks on that building were amazing,” that doesn’t seem all that exciting. But really, the exterior of this stadium is my favorite of any park I have been too, and that’s saying something. While still outside the stadium, make sure to go and check out the different statues located along the west side of the park. There is a small area with statues of players such as Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, and many more. The interesting part about these statues is that they are all smaller than the normal statue that you are used to seeing outside of most pro sports stadiums. If you continue walking toward the home plate entrance along the outside of the west side of the park, you will come across a full-sized statue of Stan Musial, which is really cool. After seeing the whole exterior of the stadium, I could not wait to get inside. The concourses here are fairly wide and allow for people to walk around the park comfortably. However, they could be a bit wider. Also, the playing field is not visible while in the concourse, which I was not too happy about. I like to be able to walk around the park in the concourse and still be able to see the game/field. The concourse opens up into an open air walkway behind the left field bleachers where you can get some pretty cool views of the park looking towards home plate. Once in your seat, you can really start to take in the scenery. One of the first things I noticed was just how massive the place is. Other parks like Camden Yards or AT&T Park are more compact and not so huge. I personally don’t have much of a preference, but I thought the size of Busch Stadium was pretty amazing. While in your seat, especially if you are sitting along the first base line or behind home plate, you get an amazing view of the St. Louis skyline beyond the left/center field stands. It is quite the sight. All of the seats at Busch Stadium are Cardinal red, for obvious reasons. The reason I am mentioning this is because sometimes stadiums with red seats don’t look so great. Bush Stadium, however, was able to pull it off and make the red seats a part of the overall attractiveness of the park. In right field, there are two scoreboards that provide you with statistics on the batter, pitcher, and both teams, as well as other game scores from around the league. The scoreboard on the left also shows replays and video clips. As for the atmosphere at Busch Stadium, I would give it a “B.” St. Louis has always been said to have possibly the best baseball fans in the MLB. They draw over 3 million fans pretty much every year, and on most nights almost the entire stadium is full. The reason I am not giving its atmosphere an “A” is because the fans were not always paying much attention to the game, even during some of the most important times. On numerous occasions, including the 8th inning with the score tied, people were trying to start “the wave,” which I cannot stand. This was by far the biggest flaw that I witnessed throughout the game. Pushing that aside, Busch Stadium very much impressed me. I had high expectations heading into my trip to see the park, and it definitely lived up to those expectations. I would HIGHLY recommend seeing a game here if you are a baseball fan.
For 5-1, click here.