Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ballpark Rankings Part 2

This week I will post the second entry of my ballpark rankings. Last week I rated the ballparks of the Red Sox, Reds, Orioles, Indians, and Braves. This week I have the Cubs, White Sox, Rockies, Tigers, and Astros. The ballparks will be ranked with a point system with three categories: personality, which is basically a ballpark’s signature features, history, and game experience. Each category will be rated from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best.

Chicago Cubs (Wrigley Field)

Personality: 10, Wrigley obviously has lots of personality, from its ivy walls to the big red board outside the ballpark. Wrigley also has a great old-fashioned scoreboard in center field. It was built in 1914 and this also adds personality to the park. The neighborhood feel of the whole Wrigleyville are adds to the personality as well.

History: 6, while the stadium is history itself, the Cubs haven’t put a whole lot of history into it. They have statues of Harry Caray and Ernie Banks outside the stadium. They also have pennants and retired numbers.

Game Experience: 10, it feels like you are watching the game a long time ago, as there is an old-time feel. They have a celebrity lead the singing of Take Me Out to the Ballgame each game, which is a nice touch. But basically this park gets a 10 because you’re in an authentic old-time baseball setting. There’s no match for the feel of a game at Wrigley or Fenway.

Total: 26

Chicago White Sox (US Cellular Field)

Personality: 2, the personality at US Cellular Field stinks. They basically don’t have a personality. This stadium is a real yawner. The only thing that the White Sox have are big pinwheels on top of the scoreboard. Although they’ve made some attempts to improve it over the last ten years, it’s still just a big dull and sterile stadium. They built this park just before Camden Yards started the trend of building new old-timey classic ballparks with lots of character. So the White Sox are stuck with a stadium that looks like it was built during the cookie-cutter era of ballparks.

History: 8, the White Sox have at least done a solid job on history, most of which has been added over the last few years. They have a home plate marker for old Comiskey Park in the parking lot, and they have a gift shop that also contains a mini-White Sox museum. But the best things they have are all of their statues in the outfield concourse. They have Charles Comiskey, Minnie Minoso, Carlton Fisk, Nellie Fox, Luis Aparicio, Billy Pierce, Harold Baines, and will have Frank Thomas on July 31st of this year. These are all recent additions. And like most teams, you can see their pennants and retired numbers.

Game Experience: 1, not only is the ballpark lousy, but if you have seats to the middle or upper decks, you aren’t even allowed to walk around the lower level concourses. That is a stupid rule, especially since the stadium stinks, anyways.

Total: 11

Colorado Rockies (Coors Field)

Personality: 8, Coors Field is a very nice stadium. They have a nice entrance at home plate and you can also see the Rocky Mountains from inside the ballpark.

History: 3, the Rockies really don’t have much history at all in their stadium, and that is probably because they haven’t been around very long. They do have a statue of Branch Rickey outside the ballpark, but I don’t know why, as he has nothing to do with the Rockies.

Game Experience: 7, Coors Field does not have a big scoreboard, and that really detracts, but other than that, I have no problems with it.

Total: 18

Detroit Tigers (Comerica Park)

Personality: 7, the Tigers ballpark is certainly not the best, but it does have a solid personality with Tigers on top of the scoreboard, a carousel, and a ferris wheel.

History: 9, Comerica Park has plenty of history, with statues in center field representing the players whose numbers have been retired, including Ty Cobb, Hank Greenberg, Charlie Gehringer, Willie Horton, Al Kaline, and Hal Newhouser. They also have Tigers history all along the lower concourse.

Game Experience: 4, Comerica Park doesn’t have a good feel to it. There’s not any particular beef that I have with it, aside from their terrible scoreboard, but I just don’t like it.

Total: 20

Houston Astros (Minute Maid Park)

Personality: 9, Minute Maid Park has plenty of personality. The coolest thing there is the train above the left field seats that goes across the track whenever the Astros hit a home run. They also have a good kids play area, and a neat area on the field in center field where they have Crosley Field’s incline and a flag pole like Forbes Field on the field of play.

History: 8, while the Astros don’t have a museum, they still found ways to incorporate history. Outside of the ballpark, the Astros have a mini-field with statues of Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio, plaques from every playoff appearance, and other parts of Astros history. On the inside, they also have banners along a concourse with all of the Astros home run leaders. Also, the team’s pennants and retired numbers are displayed where they can be easily seen and read from just about anywhere in the stadium.

Game Experience: 9, the Astros park has a good feel to it. It is always in good weather, as they have a retractable roof (why don’t the Rangers have one?). The Astros’ park includes a fantastic club level, too. The open concourses on the lower level are great and allow you to see the game as you walk around. Also, just this year they added a very large scoreboard in center field called El Grande.

Total: 26

Rankings so Far:
1. Fenway Park (Boston Red Sox) – 29
2. Camden Yards at Oriole Park (Baltimore Orioles) – 27
3. Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs) – 26
3. Minute Maid Park (Houston Astros) – 26
5. Great American Ballpark (Cincinnati Reds) – 25
6. Turner Field (Atlanta Braves) – 24
7. Progressive Field (Cleveland Indians) – 21
8. Comerica Park (Detroit Tigers) – 20
9. Coors Field (Colorado Rockies) – 18
10. US Cellular Field (Chicago White Sox) – 11

Come back next week for my May All-Stars.

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