What’s your favourite baseball stadium…?


Patrick Knock

A recent edition of BSUK's Hot Corner newsletter which detailed the expansion of our Farnham Park baseball and softball facility got me thinking about sports facilities in general, particularly stadiums and the appeal and power they have in engaging people with sport.

I know that Farnham Park has some way to go before it can be viewed in the same light as Wrigley Field or Wembley with regard to size and history, but it nonetheless aspires to inspire, and its effect on new people playing baseball and softball should not be underestimated.

I've always felt that watching a sport live has an extra appeal and it's a greater experience, not least because of the half-time or between innings pie/hot dog/burger!  For me, there are not many better sights than the interior view of a stadium at night that hits you as you hand your ticket to a steward and they direct you to your seat – assuming the grounds staff and security firms have done their job and there are no accidental suspect packages in the building!

I remember seeing the inside of the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay and being blown away by it -- and that wasn't just from the mock pirate ship and cannon they use when the Buccaneers score a touchdown... it doesn't get used much!

This got me wondering what is the best stadium in the world and, of course, its very subjective. We've probably all seen various countdowns of the best sports stadiums in the world  - Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid by the way (vertigo sufferers beware)!

As this is a BSUK-based blog, I want to list a few iconic baseball stadiums -- both current and old -- including some that I've seen or been to, and then open it up to readers in some sort of X-Factor-style voting system.  Don't worry, the poll is not administered by FIFA or the State of Florida, so no favouritism towards particular stadiums will be shown! 

1.  Ebbets Field
This is the only stadium on my list that is no longer active.  As is the way these days, the site now houses apartments, but it was once home to one of the earliest and most famous professional baseball clubs and with it one of the game's most celebrated players: a certain #42, Jackie Robinson.  To many people, Ebbets Field looked and felt just how a stadium for America's oldest pastime should, with a brick-and-arches exterior.  One for the purists!

Ebbets Field

2.  Wrigley Field
Having been there the most out of any MLB stadium, it had to be on my list – not to mention the fact I support the Cubs, who for once have had a storming start to the season!  It is also one of the oldest stadiums still in use today, with wooden structures, an ivy-covered outfield and the famous bleacher seats below apartments with seats installed on their roofs = genius!  A classic old-fashioned stadium with a great facade, it’s a bonus that it happens to be in the Wrigleyville neighbourhood, which is buzzing on game days.

Wrigley Field

3.  Fenway Park
I've not watched a game at this famous stadium, mainly because I was in Boston in the middle of winter, but I took the tour and learned a lot, then had a drink at the nearby Cask ‘n’ Flagon.  The famous left field wall known as the ‘Green Monster’, with its hand-operated scoreboard and unique seating, has a vintage charm that means this stadium ranks high on people's lists.

Fenway Park

4.  Coors Field
I know my colleague Liz will vote for this one as it’s named after a beer!  However, that's not the only reason it’s on the list.  I've not been to the stadium but have seen it on television quite a few times, and the views of the Rocky Mountains look great from the purple seats high up in right field.  When the stadium opened in 1995, it quickly became a league leader in attendance, so other people clearly like it as well.

Coors Field Rocky Mountains

5. Petco Park
The well-known anchorman Ron Burgundy said about San Diego. "It’s a fact, it’s the greatest city in the history of mankind!”  I wonder where the city's relatively new stadium fits in Ron's thinking?  Coming across Petco Park while walking around downtown San Diego, I liked it a lot, including the fact that it was nestled in the business district but with the harbour only a stone’s throw -- or more appropriately, a home run away.  Before or after the game the nearby Gas Lamp District has some good bars and restaurants which gives this stadium some extra points! 

Petco Park

6. War Memorial Stadium
Last but not least, this one is featured in a well-known sports movie and was used as a replica of a famous baseball stadium.  I like the movie and therefore the stadium in it, which the filmmakers chose because it’s pretty retro looking -- that's a big clue to the movie, so no googling the answer.  Can you guess the film?  And for the real sports anoraks out there, which other professional sports team used the stadium as their home field until 1972?  I didn't know the answer, so don't call me an anorak.

War Memorial Stadium, Buffalo

There you have it.  Those are my opinions on just a handful of stadiums, so it’s over to you to vote for which ones you like or think are the best and we'll post the results on Twitter and Facebook.

I look forward to seeing my next new baseball stadium live, and getting that (hopefully) wow feeling when I step inside.  I feel a US road trip coming on!

Which of Patrick's stadium choices is your favourite?
Ebbets Field
Wrigley Field
Fenway Park
Coors Field
Petco Park
War Memorial Stadium
my iq tested

tagged under: baseball, mlb, facilities, travel, polls, surveys, stadiums

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