Sports

Rating each of the major league ballparks

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AT&T Park, home of the Giants, is considered the best in baseball by The Times' baseball writers
Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium are in the top five of their respective leagues

The San Francisco Giants trail the Dodgers in the National League West standings, but they are second to none in one category: home ballpark. According to Los Angeles Times sportswriters Kevin Baxter, Mike DiGiovanna, Dylan Hernandez and Bill Shaikin, Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium fared well in our poll of Major League Baseball ballparks, but couldn't quite keep pace with some of the game's newer stadiums — and one recently renovated oldie but goodie. Here is a list of the top ballparks overall, and a 1-15 ranking in each league:

Overall

1. San Francisco, AT&T Park: Home team, Giants. Capacity, 41,600. Opened, April 11, 2000. Cost, $255 million. Architect, HOK.

2. Pittsburgh, PNC Park: Home team, Pirates. Capacity, 38,362. Opened, April 9, 2001. Cost, $216 million. Architect, HOK/LDA.

3. Baltimore, Oriole Park at Camden Yards: Home team, Orioles. Capacity, 45,971. Opened, April 6, 1992. Cost, $110 million. Architect, HOK.

3. (t) Boston, Fenway Park: Home team, Red Sox. Capacity, 39,928. Opened, April 20, 1912. Cost, $650,000. Architect, Osborn Engineering.

5. Seattle, Safeco Field: Home team, Mariners. Capacity, 47,447. Opened, July 15, 1999. Cost, $517 million. Architect, NBBJ.

5. (t) Minnesota, Target Field: Home team, Twins. Capacity, 39,504. Opened, April 12, 2010. Cost, $522 million. Architect, Populus & HGA.

5. (t) San Diego, Petco Park: Home team, Padres. Capacity, 42,500. Opened, April 8, 2004. Cost, $449.4 million. Architect, HOK, Antoine Predock.

National League

1. San Francisco (AT&T Park): The gold standard for sight lines, scenery — love McCovey Cove — and downtown convenience, plus a large selection of craft beers and the intoxicating scent of garlic fries.

2. Pittsburgh (PNC Park): Stunning views of the city skyline and bridges over the Allegheny River provide the best backdrop in baseball. And even the team is back to being fun to watch.

3. San Diego (Petco Park): Inexpensive tickets and a downtown location that's a short walk from the Marina and Gas Lamp District. All it needs is a competitive baseball team.

4. Los Angeles (Dodger Stadium): Chavez Ravine provides a scenic backdrop and new ownership has made some nice stadium upgrades. But those Dodger Dogs? Way overrated.

5. Chicago (Wrigley Field): So much history, so much ivy, such a lovable losing team, and there is no such thing as "Last Call." Renovations improved sight lines without compromising traditional feel.

6. Philadelphia (Citizens Bank Park): Passionate fans help create a fun environment and the stadium isn't bad. The location isn't great, though.

7. New York (Citi Field): The Ebbets Field-like rotunda behind home plate is a nice touch, as is the team hall of fame and museum. If only the Flushing Meadow location could be improved.

8. St. Louis (Busch Stadium): The best thing about this easy-to-access stadium is that crowd the Cardinals draw — among the most knowledgeable and appreciative fans in baseball.

9. Colorado (Coors Field): Like the outside, and love the pine trees beyond the center-field wall. Inside: a little too much purple and way too much space in the outfield.

10. Miami (Marlins Park): Accented by some odd color schemes and a strange-looking sculpture in center field. That right fielder is fun to watch, though.

10. (t) Milwaukee (Miller Park): Looks impressive from outside. Inside: Great bratwurst and not much more to write home about.

12. Washington (Nationals Park): Fans watching from the upper deck get a bonus view of the Capitol rotunda, a scene to enjoy while you're eating your Shake Shack burger.

13. Cincinnati (Great American Ballpark): More like "Average American Ballpark." Nice but sterile. A cookie-cutter among several like newer stadiums.

14. Arizona (Bank One Ballpark): Comments from three of our sportswriters included a comparison to an airplane hangar. But the Dodgers say the pool is nice.

15. Atlanta (Turner Field): Built as the centerpiece of the 1996 Olympics, it was converted for baseball after the Games. Less than 20 years later, the Braves have plans for a new home field.

American League

Boston (Fenway Park): A (baseball) tradition like no other. The Green Monster, Yawkey Way, etc. Lovingly renovated, the seats are too close together — but they're also close to the field.

Baltimore (Oriole Park at Camden Yards): Original retro ballpark inspired a movement that altered stadium construction. Love the crab cakes and the B&O Warehouse in right field.

Seattle (Safeco Field): Views of Puget Sound and the downtown skyline. Retractable roof keeps out the rain and where else can you order a wild-salmon sandwich at a concession stand?

3(t). Minnesota (Target Field): Stunning architecture, convenient location and seats that put fans on top of the action. Wish it had a roof for early-season games, but heaters near the food stops help.

5. Angels (Angel Stadium): Good sightlines — and a train line in the parking lot. Concessions include kid-friendly meals, but lose the rock pile in the outfield and TURN DOWN THE MUSIC!

5(t). New York (Yankee Stadium): Palatial — for those who can afford it. The ballpark, like the team, is over-the-top in opulence, with 68 luxury suites and a 31,000 square foot "Great Hall" foyer.

7. Detroit (Comerica Park): Features larger-than-life statues of Tigers legends such as Ty Cobb, Al Kaline and Hank Greenberg, and is the only big league park with a carousel and a Ferris wheel.

8. Kansas City (Kaufmann Stadium): Waterfalls beyond the outfield walls are the signature of this 42-year-old park, where $26 covers parking and a good seat.

9. Cleveland (Progressive Field): This place really did rock — in the '90s. Wide aisles and seats that are turned 8 to 12 degrees toward the middle of the field add comfort.

9(t). Houston (Minute Maid Park): Old-school cozy, with wide concourses and numerous concession stands. Like Tal's Hill beyond center field and the train above the left-field wall.

11. Texas (Globe Life Park): Handsome park offers several fan-friendly features. If they could only do something about weather that leaves your sweat-soaked shirt stuck to the back of a seat.

12. Toronto (Rogers Centre): When it opened in 1989 as Skydome, it was the first North American stadium with a fully retractable roof. The Renaissance Hotel has 70 rooms that overlook left field.

13. Chicago (U.S. Cellular Field): Pinwheel-like features in the outfield offer the feel of an amusement park. Tickets are as low as $7 — but you get what you pay for.

14. Tampa Bay (Tropicana Field): Artificial turf in a domed stadium — that's two strikes. Still baseball's ugly duckling even with upgrades that include a 360-degree walkway around the field.

15. Oakland (Coliseum): A's fans are among the game's most passionate when their team is winning. When they're not, who would want to come to this dump?

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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