The Rangers have an off day today. The cynic—and the realist—would say this will be their fourth off day in a row, after the three games they just played against Tampa Bay. It was the second time in the last four series the Rangers were swept. The season seems to have already ended for the players.
But enough wallowing in misery.
Yesterday I discovered Nirvana. I visited PNC Park in Pittsburgh. It is a gem. An absolutely amazing venue for baseball. And a reminder of where the city of Dallas dropped the ball long ago by not building the Rangers a downtown stadium.
The new Ballpark will, I am sure, be amazing in its own right. But there is something vital about a stunning ballpark in the middle of an actual city overlooking downtown and a river. It just seems like the real deal.
So now I can cross another park off the list, my third in the last two months along with Citi Field and Camden Yards. I have been lucky to have been able to travel to a lot of great places, and always make it a habit to see a game if I can.
Of the current ballparks I have visited, here are my top five.
PNC Park, Pittsburgh: Everything about it is wonderful. The view. The architecture. The neighborhood around it. Access to the park. The Riverwalk. Concessions. The ballpark employee. And best of all, seats 15 rows from home have a face value of $35.
Camden Yards, Baltimore. This started it all, this new trend in retro. It’s every bit as good as PNC Park, except PNC has it beat in view and surroundings.
Wrigley Field, Chicago. There is nothing like Wrigleyville. It’s the most fun you will have before or after a game.
Coors Field, Denver. It’s got everything going for it that PNC Park does, except the Riverwalk. It’s smack in the middle of downtown and every game feels like a festival. Great atmosphere.
Comerica Park, Detroit. Detroit is a craphole of a city, except for downtown, with the football stadium, baseball stadium, iconic theaters, and amazing bars and restaurants all in one concentrated area.
Other stadiums I visited, in no particular order.
Citi Field, New York: So much nicer than Yankee Stadium, but not much around it except for automotive shops, tire shops and a highway. You don’t hang out in the neighborhood.
SunTrust Field, Atlanta. Built in the middle of nowhere, so they had to build a TexasLive-like venue around it.
Progressive Field, Cleveland. Great downtown field. Wonderful place to see a game.
Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati. Right on the river. Very easy to access. Seats are right in the action.
Busch Stadium, St. Louis. I can still see Nelson Cruz missing that ball.
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles. It’s amazing how good this place looks after all these years. A pain to get to, though.
The Ballpark, Arlington. I’ll miss the place, even if they put up a fake office building in center to give it the appearance of a downtown.
Miller Park, Milwaukee. It doesn’t feel like it has a roof. And that is a compliment.
Rogers Centre, Toronto. The old Skydome is still a classic.
Minute Maid Park, Houston. Love this park. It’s downtown. The architecture is perfect for the neighborhood. I was one of the few who liked the hill in center.
Kaufman Stadium, Kansas City. For an older stadium, it has a lot of character, mainly because of the fountains.
Yankee Stadium, New York. Meh.
Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim. Boring. It’s surrounded on all sides by a huge parking lot. Nothing else is around it. It’s in the middle of nowhere.
Guaranteed Rate Field, Chicago. You forget Chicago has a second team and this place doesn’t do it any favors. Kind of forgettable.
Oakland Alameda Coluseum, Oakland. A sewage dump.
Stadiums I have not visited: Fenway Park, Boston. Nationals Park, DC. Tropicana Field, Tampa Bay. Marlins Park, Miami. Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia. Safeco Field, Seattle. Chase Field, Phoenix. Target Field, Minneapolis. AT&T Park, San Francisco. Petco Park, San Diego.
Maybe next year.
NO GAME TODAY.