On the Road with Eli(zondo) and Adric: 2022 Stadium Ranking Edition
We have completed my first half-season as a correspondent on the site. It’s been great visiting now-seven cities to watch fourteen Dodger games through early August of this season. As a note, rare forms of arthritis and two bouts of COVID within 60 days stink. Oh well, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Chicago (AL) will still be there next year...or the year after, depending on the revamped schedule.
So in the spirit of recapping travel and sparking discussion, here is my subjective ranking list of the sixteen parks that I have been to watch a Dodger game. Until I write up my time in Anaheim, Denver, Minneapolis, Kansas City, and Milwaukee, this list will have to suffice.
The undisputed king of MLB ballparks. However, it was mildly shocking to see the Dodgers play so anemically in Pittsburgh this past year.
- Pros: Just about everything, food, views, tickets, ease of access, usually a Dodgers win.
- Cons: It’s only one series a year. The weather can be fickle (muggy, rainy).
2. Busch Stadium, version 3.0 - St. Louis, MO
Probably my most controversial pick, but I asked myself honestly if I could go to one series this year that was not scheduled and the cost was no object, where would I go? The words “I would go back to St. Louis” popped out faster than I care to admit.
- Pros: Lots of things directly by and in the ballpark. Food, views, and tickets are a relative bargain. Fans are knowledgeable too.
- Cons: The rest of St. Louis. The weather can get muggy.
3. Dodger Stadium - Los Angeles, CA
The new “front door” to the stadium is a godsend. The All-Star Game showed Our Blue Heaven off in grand style.
- Pros: It’s where the Dodgers play (usually at least) 81 times a year.
- Cons: It’s a nightmare to get to and from the stadium. Good tickets usually cost an arm and a leg. Hooligans.
4. Oracle Park - San Francisco, CA
Do you like witnessing and being surrounded by a perpetual inferiority complex? Do I have a place for you!
- Pros: Snark aside, it is a nice stadium. It is relatively easy to get to and from if you did not drive yourself.
- Cons: It’s where the Giants play. Tickets cost an arm and a leg if the Dodgers are in town. It’s often cold and windy. Giants fans tend to be an insufferable bunch, especially when drunk, doubly so when the Dodgers win; triply so when the Dodgers lose. Such is life.
5. Wrigley Field - Chicago, IL
/stares into the middle distance. Someday, I will get over May 2021. It’s not today, though.
- Pros: It’s a bucket list destination. It’s a fun time for the most part.
- Cons: It’s a bit pricey for what you get. Weather often does not cooperate. If you have a bad seat, it’s legitimately bad.
6. Target Field - Minneapolis, MN
Michael to Tour Guide: “Why is there no roof?!?”
Tour Guide: “Because after the Metrodome, we wanted to feel the weather!” [The forecast called for snow.]
Michael’s internal reaction: “Why can’t you lot just be normal?!?”
- Pros: Snark aside, it is quite underrated as a venue, and it’s a kissing cousin in design with PNC Park.
- Cons: Heaven help you if the weather does not cooperate. Getting to and from the stadium is a pain. Not the greatest neighborhood by the ballpark for families.
7. Coors Field - Denver, CO
Get to this ballpark early so you can walk around. Also, remember to hydrate, otherwise you will regret it later!
- Pros: It’s a nice ballpark. It’s a fun ballpark.
- Cons: Do you have problems with elevation? Did you not leave for the ballpark early if you are staying outside of Denver? Did you pay a premium to stay in downtown Denver?
8. Nationals Park - Washington, D.C.
I have not been back since 2015. It is the first ballpark I went to outside of California. I am generally fond of the park and how easy it is to get to. I am mildly bummed that I missed out on reconnecting with this quirky park.
- Pros and Cons: Abstaining for now. (Stale information). Generally fine from what I recall.
9. Citi Field - Queens, NY
I have not been back since 2015. I was generally underwhelmed the last time I went, but I am willing to give it another look for the sake of the Guide.
- Pros and Cons: Abstaining for now. (Stale information). Generally, annoying from what I recall. You aren’t the Brooklyn Mets, guys!
10. Chase Field - Phoenix, AZ
It is not a bad park. It does feel a bit like an aircraft hangar with the roof closed. However, if the choice is scorching heat or feeling like you got lost on the way to GenCon, I pick the latter. It might be worth it to come back when I know the roof will be open.
- Pros: Good starter park to travel for the beginning traveler of Dodger games. It is de facto Dodger Stadium East.
- Cons: Do you like being in the desert? Do you like dry heat? Did you forget sunscreen?
11. American Family Field - Milwaukee, WI
Not-Miller Park is remarkable in how generally unremarkable it is. It is not bad by any means. Nor is it amazing. It is fine. By the time you read this list, I will be have made my second visit to this locale.
- Pros: It’s a ballpark. Traffic seems to flow rather efficiently here. Tickets are usually reasonable.
- Cons: It’s a ballpark. They have some seats that are literal office chairs. If you go super cheap as to tickets, you get what you pay for.
12. Angel Stadium of Anaheim - Anaheim, CA
I have mixed feelings as to this ballpark. My return trip to Anaheim, in July, might have been my last time going here.
- Pros: It’s by an Amtrak station. It’s easy to get to and from.
- Cons: Imagine a bizarro Dodger Stadium, where everything bad is good and everything good is bad. And then you get to watch a team that is currently wasting two generational talents. And remind yourself that the Angels are (generally) charging you a mint to be there. You can pay a mint and things still weirdly feel cheap.
13. loanDepot Park - Miami, FL
I am not thrilled that I have to come back to do another couple of games at the stadium, which is near nowhere useful in Miami.
- Pros: The stadium is a nice shade of blue inside. The seats were bigger than I expected.
- Cons: Pretty much everything else. Many parks do what this ballpark does better and cheaper. The garish statue was interesting and it was moved outside.
14. Great American Ballpark - Cincinnati, OH
You have to try Skyline Chili. It is not what I would call good, but it is food, so that is something. Shade is your friend during day games. Try to stay in Ohio if possible, otherwise, you will need a car or the tolerance to withstand the weather.
- Pros: It’s a nice stadium from the outside. Opening Day in Cincinnati is essentially a local holiday.
- Cons: Pretty much everything else. The ownership is cartoonishly bad. The food is enjoyable, mostly on an ironic level. If the weather is bad, forget it. The stadium layout is bad because they wanted to put in more luxury boxes.
15. RingCentral Coliseum - Oakland, CA
You know a stadium is underwhelming when I do not even have decent art for it and I have been there about a half-dozen times.
- Pros: It is worth going if you feel you need to punish yourself or if you want to appreciate any other ballpark in the Major Leagues.
- Cons: Pretty much everything. Friends do not let friends go to the Coliseum these days.
If Atlanta stopped the chant or stopped the price gouging for regular-season Atlanta/Los Angeles games, this stadium would be in the upper half of this list. If Atlanta fixed both problems, the stadium would be in my top five. But they have not, and they likely will not.
- Pros: It does have a neighborhood around it that the League seems to be emulating. The sightlines are nice. The ballpark itself is newer and it shows.
- Cons: Objective racism. Outright gouging of ticket prices for Dodgers/Atlanta games. Watch from home - your conscience and wallet will thank you when watching the Cumberland Baseball Team.
Agree? Disagree? I am sure that you will tell me here or on social media. What stadiums have you been to? Where should I go next? I make my own schedule, but if there is an outcry for me to go somewhere, I would be remiss if I did not listen.