Baseball is America’s pastime. The sport is woven into our country’s fabric like apple pie. Generations of fans have grown up going to the ballpark to watch their favorite players on the diamond. Traveling to different ballparks is a fun way to experience the game and some Major League Baseball history. Plus, maybe you’ll even get to see a home run or two.
Do you root, root, root for the home team? A study by Ohio State University has found that fans experience a boost in self-esteem after watching their team win a big game. Another crucial finding from the study was that both winning and losing fans alike benefit from watching games in a group setting, surrounded by friends. Being around other people softens the blow of a tough loss, but also boosts happiness and self-esteem in the event of an epic victory.
Speaking of fan behavior, a new study finds most American sports fans think they’re the biggest factor in whether their team wins or loses! Two-thirds of sports fans are superstitious when it comes to game day. From wearing a specific jersey every time their team plays (50%) — with some not washing it until the end of the season (44%) — to sitting in a specific spot (42%), sports fans aren’t willing to take any chances.
Thinking of planning a trip to some MLB parks? We are here to help you narrow down that list of places to go to enjoy a baseball game. StudyFinds compiled a list of the five best MLB ballparks to catch a game based on recommendations from ten expert websites. As always, we’d like to see your own recommendations in the comments below!
The List: Best MLB Stadiums, According to Expert Reviews
1. Petco Park – San Diego
Home of the San Diego Padres, this field opened in 2004, and features stunning views of the San Diego skyline. USA Today notes, “Petco Park is simply the best place to watch a baseball game. The location (embedded in downtown San Diego), the weather, the food, the beer and, of course, the stadium itself — it’s all phenomenal.”
BallNine points out, “a lot of it has to do with building this park in the Gaslamp Quarter. A variety of excellent food options, bar options, viewing options. Perfect weather and if you get bored with the game you can take a break and look out over the Coronado Bridge.”
“Petco Park is a spectacular piece of architecture, designed to celebrate the sea, the sky, the natural beauty, the cultural diversity, and the one-of-a-kind spirit of the San Diego Padres region,” adds Call to the Pen.
2. PNC Park – Pittsburgh
Opening in 2001, this classic ballpark is the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. It’s also on the smaller side as far as ballparks go, with slightly under 39,000 seats. Call to the Pen writes, “This ballpark celebrates the progressive nature of Pittsburgh while also paying homage to the pioneering spirit of early ballparks.”
“The ballpark is separated from downtown Pittsburgh by the Allegheny River. The Roberto Clemente Bridge allows direct access from the city to the stadium. Both the Pittsburgh skyline and the bridge can be seen from any seat inside PNC Park and the view is simply stunning,” according to Wolfgang Sports Blog.
This park boasts some great food options, like Manny’s BBQ and Chicken on the Hill, plus a kid-friendly atmosphere. Bleacher Report points out, “the Pirates have the Kids Play Land, open until the eighth inning of every home game. The play land features a miniature PNC Park configuration as well as a multi-purpose play set.”
3. Oracle Park – San Francisco
This next ballpark is on my bucket list. Oracle Park sits along the San Francisco Bay. It’s the home of the San Francisco Giants since 2000. Boaters like sitting in McCovey Cove outside the right field wall of the ballpark during games. Why? to try and “fish” for some home run balls, of course.
“There isn’t a single bad seat in the house, there are a lot of fun things to do for families and the food variety is outstanding. If you have a bucket list of MLB stadiums to visit, Oracle Park must be on it,” according to Sportsnaut.
“You will find an 80-foot Coca-Cola bottle with playground slides as well. There is a miniature Oracle Park behind left field that has become an attraction for kids of all ages. Mass public transit nearby rivals what is available to any sports complex in the world,” adds Call to the Pen.
Don’t forget the food! “Did I mention the Garlic Fries? My favorite remains the Cha Cha Bowl and take the walk to centerfield to Orlando Cepeda’s food shack, enjoy the sights of the bay and the characters along the way,” adds BallNine.
4. Wrigley Field – Chicago
Located in the heart of Chicago, stepping into Wrigley Field is like stepping into a piece of living baseball history. The park opened its doors back in 1914, becoming the home of the Chicago Cubs in 1916. I’ve visited Wrigley, and the ivy is truly a sight to behold. Here’s a fun fact. If a fair ball sticks in the outfield ivy, the batter gets two bases. Runners too!
“The ivy-covered brick outfield wall, the manual scoreboard, and the rooftop seats are a few of its iconic features. The most special park in all of baseball, as nothing can beat an afternoon game at Wrigley Field,” points out Franchise Sports.
“Fans who haven’t visited the North Side of Chicago in a while will be amazed by the transformation that has taken place in the home of the Cubbies. Modern features have been integrated into the ballpark in a way that does not detract from the historic aspects of the facility. Wrigley Field is truly a special place to take in a baseball game,” adds Stadium Journey.
BallNine writes: “There is something to be said for being on top of the action and I think that is the special ingredient here with seats close to the field. As we well know from the Steve Bartman incident, fans are part of the story here.”
5. Fenway Park – Boston
If a 1914 ballpark is a bit too modern for you, how about visiting Fenway Park? The home of the Boston Red Sox opened back in 1912. The park’s left field wall known as the Green Monster is an unforgettable sight. However, at under 38,000 seats, it’s the smallest park on our list.
“You’ll feel cramped, and if you are not from Boston, you will be sick of Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline and every New Englander by the end of the night. But Fenway is one of the coolest places to watch any sporting event, and you’ll be glad you got to experience a place that has so much baseball history. It’s a must for any baseball fan,” according to NBC Sports.
I’ve been lucky enough to visit this historic park too. One memory that sticks out? You can actually hear the ball hit the catcher’s mitt clearly from the bleachers.
Sports Illustrated notes Fenway has, “the best sightlines and acoustics in baseball. The crack of the bat, the pop of the mitt, the murmurs and roars of the crowd have not been killed by the artificial noise and bad music played way too loud that other parks think are ‘cool’.”
USA Today adds, “Fenway Park is truly one of those bucket-list venues. It’s like a trip through baseball history. The Fenway–Kenmore neighborhood is all about the Red Sox, and while there are better stadiums in baseball, the nostalgia makes watching games at Fenway a special experience.”
You might also be interested in:
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- USA Today
- Call to the Pen
- Wolfgang Sports Blog
- Bleacher Report
- Franchise Sports
- Stadium Journey
- NBC Sports
- Sports Illustrated
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.