Monday, May 30, 2011

Choosing the Best Ballparks

Miller Park is among my favorites, but maybe I am biased.
The New York Times has a new post rating the ballparks. Nate Silver, who famously used sophisticated formulas to predict the 2008 elections at his, used ratings from to determine how fans feel about major league stadiums.

It's not scientific, and Silver has no information regarding why PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, rates as the best stadium.

Silver speculates that teams that spent money for a retractable dome might regret it because those parks didn't rate well. But I bet if you asked fans at those ballparks on a cold or rainy day their ratings would skyrocket.

Silver's sole basis for his ratings is an analysis of stadium ratings. Other than being good for bar (and blogger!) talk, I'm not sure Yelp's ratings are meaningful.

I've been to quite a few stadiums (17, plus I took the tour at the Arizona Diamondbacks' home) and, frankly, I enjoyed them all.

My favorites are Miller Park (I admit my Brewers bias might be in play), Wrigley Field and Camden Yards. But every ballpark I've gone to has had memorable features. The first time I walked into Fenway Park I thought I was gazing on a toy. With the looming Green Monster, the home of the Boston Red Sox seemed to small to be a major league ballpark. Even the baggie in the Metrodome is unforgettable

Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia and Citi Field, home of the Mets, both are notable for the ability to view the field from many areas of the concourses. Camden Yards deserves special mention for starting the era of modern ballpark design. Gone are days of cookie-cutter stadiums like those that used to be homes of the Braves, Pirates, Phillies and Reds.

Despite the debate about which park is best, for me the reason I go is to watch the game. Even as a teenager when my friends wanted to roam about, I hated to miss a pitch. For tourists, sometime fans and team owners who need revenue from luxury boxes, atmosphere matters.

For the hardcore fans, a winning team trumps that every time. The Mets and Dodgers, the former with a new ballpark and the latter a refurbished one, both have dwindling attendance this season. Boston, which has put money into adding seats and improving ancient Fenway, sells out every game because the team is in the pennant chase every year.

Whose fans are better off?

1 comment:

  1. The great thing about Miller Park is everything's relatively cheap and there's so much more to pay attention to than just the game. There's the Sausage Race, Bernie and his slide, and other stuff I can't remember because I haven't been there yet this season. The fact that weather doesn't matter is great too. There's nothing quite like grabbing some Heavenly Roasted Nuts, going to your seat on the top row behind all the vents, and hoping Prince Fielder actually has to give an effort running the bases, because it's hilarious to watch.

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