Ranking the top 10 ballparks in baseball based mostly on aesthetic appeal.
The ballpark is to baseball what the Constitution to the United States. In other words, without one, the other, as we know it, would not exist. Ballparks were the iconic marker by which America’s Pastime developed and by which it still evolves.
You can surf the internet in today’s digital world and find ballpark rankings based on everything from “bang for your buck” to some mathematical formula determining which is best.
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I aim to offer something different—something more whimsical and romantic, sentimental and classic. As much as today’s game of baseball is analyzed by numbers—and I’m in full support of this trend—there remains an element of beauty by which the game is played. One which cannot be overlooked and must not be omitted.
The beauty of baseball is never more obvious than when all else is stripped away, and the field and its surroundings are left bare. Of course the fever pitch of a crowd on Opening Day, or in a September postseason chase, or during an October playoff game, when the game’s best players take center stage under the bright lights, are all beautiful too.
But what about in November, December or the early months of the calendar year when no games are played? Baseball remains relevant during that time for several reasons, chief among them because the ballparks still sit, occupied by no one but a few groundskeepers and the birds chirping, “Come on, let’s play ball!” to one another.
Yet even so, not every stadium in baseball is of equal beauty. Certainly not Oakland’s run down wreck of a facility, which has gone through as many different names as it has facelifts from football to baseball and back to football.
No there are some stadiums which fail the eye test for beauty. But by a grace unique to baseball, most parks today possess aesthetic value pleasing to any eye open long enough to take it in.
This unique grace allows us to say we could reasonably rank the top 20 parks in baseball today, and it would be difficult to argue any is undeserving. Yet we power through, just as the players who play this wonderful game do in “the dog days of summer.” Them for a chance to win a ring, us to find the right 10 parks—the ones which most powerfully describe, only in pictures and picturesque beauty, what makes baseball the greatest game in the world.
The following parks could easily make the aforementioned top-20 list, but for varying reasons miss out.
Just Missing the Cut (Not necessarily in this order):
- Petco Park (couldn’t have the entire NL West in there)
- Minute Maid Park (perhaps too gimmicky)
- Rangers Stadium (whatever it’s called)
- Great American Ballpark (frankly just not enough room)
- Yankee Stadium (only on this list because it’s “Yankee Stadium”)
- Kauffman Stadium (refurbishments have done this yard good)
- Nationals Park (though not cookie-cutter, too much like those it’s modeled after)
- Target Field (beautiful but a bit bland)
- Comerica Park (the most difficult park to leave out of the top-10)
All of these are worth top-20 status, and perhaps some of them would make someone else’s top-10. I’ve watched games in all but two of them (and I had the pleasure of taking in a game at the old Yankee Stadium).
With these beautiful stadiums missing the cut, we move to the best of the best—the most picturesque and comely, the ones which ultimately make baseball the most aesthetically pleasing game known to humankind.
You’ll see I am a bit biased, but then again aren’t all rankings at some level biased? The number rank is not as important as simply a stadium being among the top-10.
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