I like to think of myself as a baseball fan. I try to get out when I can, with friends or on my own, to watch the sport first hand. Below shows where I've been, acknowledging that, no, I'm not exceptionally well traveled when it comes to baseball pilgrimages. But I feel I've seen enough ballparks to be able to form a list of some sorts.
Disclaimer: The below list (and any opinions) are my own and are completely subjective. It is based on the stadiums I've been to and my experiences at them. Don't like it, too bad.
View Baseball parks I've been to in a larger map
BEST BALLPARK (Major Leagues)
By far, its Petco Park. The people responsible for designing and building the Padres new park in stark contrast to the brutal concrete contraption they left, taking the concept to the maximum. There's a lot of standing-room space. There's grass seats, and there aren't any bad seats in the building. Unfortunately, when I went and often of late, there's been a lot of lonely ones with the Padres being just this side of awful.
WORST BALLPARK (Majors)
You'd think I'd say the Oakland Coliseum, and yes, it's every bit as bad as people would lead you to believe. But my worst experiences were at the McCourt-era Dodger Stadium. The stadium already has several quirks to it that already date it - If you are sitting on a specific level, you have to head into the gate for that level; there's no real movement around the park. In most parks, the bleachers are cheap but not the worst. At Dodger Stadium, sitting in the bleachers is a total waste of time.
BEST BALLPARK (Minors)
Corpus Christi is a close second to Lake Elsinore Diamond, in the small city in the Santa Ana Mountains near Riverside. The deciding factor between the two? Lake Elsinore Diamond has a bar attached and table seating in the left field corner. It's also the only stadium where the mascot play was mildly entertaining. Well, the rabbit in the right field wall is interesting.
WORST BALLPARK (Minors)
There are a variety that had things I didn't like - San Bernardino Stadium had a funky smell emanating from something near the stadium, and the neighborhood it's in is less than savory. Clear Channel Stadium in Lancaster was nondescript. So is Wolff Stadium. But nothing tops Stater Bros. Stadium in Adelanto, Calif. Definitely the most remote of the ballparks in the California League, the community was expected to grow to meet the ballpark along US Highway 395. It never happened; the housing market went belly up before that happened. It was built in early 1990s, and it shows. The community tries hard to support the team. There was a decent crowd at both games I went to there, one of them being the deciding game of the 2009 Cal League season between High Desert and San Jose. But the fact remains: It hasn't aged well, and the Adelanto/Victorville are can't really support a team.
Best Ballpark (Spring Training)
No contest its Salt River Fields, although I got the distinct feeling that with it's construction we are making an irreparable move away from the smaller ballparks most teams play in toward stadiums that are larger, in some cases, than many Triple A ballparks. Salt River seats something like 12,000, and in its first season it sold out almost every game. It helps that the home-town Diamondbacks play there. Still, the bells and whistles are enough to make it the best. The seats are big and comfy, the grass is roomy, the sight lines are immaculate and the stadium is beautiful.
Worst Ballpark (Spring Training)
Scottsdale Stadium edges out Phoenix Municipal purely because the ballpark in Scottsdale is too small. Parking is a nightmare at its location in downtown Scottsdale, a problem precisely no other spring training ball park has. Arizona is big, flat and growing; Scottsdale Stadium is cramped, and after the Giants won the 2010 World Series, it was filled with people above its capacity. Phoenix Municipal, a former Triple A stadium for the Giants affiliate (called the Firebirds) before the Diamondbacks arrived, lacks grass seats and is filled with tin benches that are the temperature of the sun during day games. It eschews the picnic feeling that allows ballparks like the ones in Surprise and Peoria to thrive.
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