Photo of McCovey Cove outside of Oracle Park. Home of the San Francisco Giants. 

Image Credit: Stephen Kelly (CC BY 2.0)

I don't recall where I read this quote but I went something like "What makes a ballpark isn't it's features or how many seats it holds but how much history has taken place there". If that were the case, Fenway Park and Wrigley Field are the most prized MLB ballparks out there. Many baseball fans will agree that this is indeed the case. However, disregarding history, there are 5 other MLB ballparks that trump the other 25 when it comes to scenery. 

5. Oriole Park at Camden Yards - Baltimore Orioles

Photo of Oriole Park at Camden Yards taken from the upper level. Home of the Baltimore Orioles.

Image Credit: Ethan Gruber (CC BY-SA 2.0)

True, it has been a while since the Baltimore Orioles have been seriously competitive. But you have to give them a slight pass due to the fact that they compete in the American League East, baseball's most competitive division. Constructed at a time when cookie-cutter stadiums were being built all throughout the country, it's safe to say there are other MLB ballparks that wouldn't look the way they do if Camden Yards had never been constructed. Many stadiums took a page out of it's book. Whether it's the brick factory in right field, the nearby Harbor, Eutaw Street outside of the stadium gates or the view of Baltimore's downtown skyline, you can't visit Baltimore this summer without paying a visit to Oriole Park at Camden Yards.



4. Kauffman Stadium - Kansas City Royals

Photo of Kauffman Stadium taken from the upper level. Home of the Kansas City Royals.

Image Credit: Ian Munroe (CC BY 2.0)

This stadium is no spring chicken. After opening in 1973, Kauffman Stadium has seen the good days of the 80's and the bad days, well, ever since the 1980's. When a baseball fan hears the name Kauffman Stadium, the first thing that comes to mind is the water fountains in the outfield. If you have never been to this venue, the water display is one of the neatest features in all of Major League Baseball. In the same area, a fan will also notice the crown shaped scoreboard in center field. The LED feature cost an estimated $8M to build. Included in the most recent renovations, Kauffman Stadium also features a mini baseball field for kids as well as a putt-putt golf course. If you visit Kansas City this summer, see if you can't also schedule a tour of the adjacent Arrowhead Stadium, home of the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs.




3. Yankee Stadium - New York Yankees

Photo of Yankee Stadium. Home of the New York Yankees.

Image Credit: Redlegsfan21 - Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

At the beginning of this post, I mentioned a quote that said a ballpark is truly defined by how much history it has. Well, the old Yankee Stadium had that. Maybe too much of it. While the new Yankee Stadium is definitely an upgrade in terms of features and amenities, it already has as much history as a young sports venue could have.

Standing outside of the ballpark, one might say it resembles one of the coliseums in Italy. The concourses on the inside are as spacious and scenic as you will find in the world. Whether it's a steakhouse, multiple bars/ lounges or sushi, it can all be found here. And why wouldn't this ballpark have all of this? It's the home of the New York Yankees; the greatest baseball team in Major League Baseball history.



2. Oracle Park - San Francisco Giants

Photo of Oracle Park. Home of the San Francisco Giants.

Image Credit: Travis Wise (CC BY 2.0)

Oracle Park isn't the best place to watch players hit home runs. And yes, this place is essentially Camden Yards at the beach. But you can't beat the views of the bay, downtown San Francisco, McCovey Cove and Alcatraz Island in the distance. Oracle Park is a ballpark' s ballpark and is one of the most beautiful stadiums in Major League Baseball. And with the 2010 World Series title and Barry Bond's record-breaking home run in 2007, this place is well on it's way to achieving it's place in Major League Baseball history. And don't forget to try the garlic fries!





1. PNC Park - Pittsburgh Pirates

Photo of PNC Park. Home of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Image Credit: Redlegsfan21 - Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Just look at this photo. The cut of the grass. That's the Roberto Clemente bridge in the left of the photo which also offers a scenic stroll to the ballpark on game day. PNC Park gives baseball fans the view of the downtown Pittsburgh skyline as well as the Allegheny River surrounding the entire outfield. The architecture of the seating, most specifically next to the right field foul pole is unique. Plenty of sights at this ballpark and with the team that plays on this field every night, you'll need plenty of things to look at. A favorite feature of mine is the elevator that takes fans up to the lower level inside the ballpark's main entrance. If you do indeed visit PNC Park or the city of Pittsburgh, make sure you pay a visit to the Primanti Brothers Restaurant, an iconic dining spot in Pittsburgh.


What makes visiting a major league baseball game so much special than any other sports event? Baseball was always a family event. A place to relax. Owners would construct the ballparks to benefit their best hitters, the dimensions were never required to be the same league-wide which is why every MLB ballpark is different than the next. It's the company you're with and the conversations that take place that keep baseball as America's favorite pastime.


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