Granted, it never actually left the Twin Cities…but, for baseball purists like myself, it was a sad day when the Twins left Metropolitan Stadium (after the 1981 season) for the awful indoor confines of the Metrodome. The Met was no architectural marvel (some have called it The Erector Set on the Prairie), but it was the first major league park I attended–with my dad, no less–and when you’re eight years old, that’s pretty special.
Moving out of the Met was bad enough, but worse was how both the Twins and Gophers got roped into the downtown dome deal that was largely orchestrated by the Vikings. Call it karma that now, the Twins and Gophers get to play in brand-new stadiums, while the Vikes are still stuck inside Metrodome. Zygi Wilf may oneday get his dream of a retractable roof, state-of-the-art NFL stadium somewhere in the seven-county mosquito control district, but there’s some justice in the fact that he has to wait for his building, even though he’s been lined up at the public financing trough for a while.
But, this blog is about baseball…so let me wax poetic about how nice it was to see downtown Minneapolis absolutely buzzing with activity before, during, and after the Twins’ home opener. It was even better to see a baseball game under the daytime skies on green grass, and not under that infernal teflon roof. We only spoke with a fraction of the 38,145 fans on hand, but none of those had any desire to go back to indoor baseball.
I haven’t been to every single major league park (yet), but Target Field ranks right up there in terms of overall game day experience. Of the baseball parks I’ve been in, each has its unique qualities that make it special.
With that in mind, here are the Brado ballpark ratings:
1) Fenway Park, Boston: old with a modern touch here and there, very historic, and totally idosyncratic…in other words, just like the city in which it resides. Bonus ponts for fans that are both passionate and knowledgeable, fueled by years of futility followed by a couple of World Series titles.
2) Wrigley Field, Chicago: The place to be if you’re a 20-something looking for a good party, with baseball as a backdrop. Maybe the most picturesque park in the majors, and the only one located smack dab in a in a residential/commercial neighborhood. An awesome place to be in the summer, although the collective angst of Cubs fans is palpable once September rolls around.
3) Miller Park, Milwaukee: Having a retractable roof means some odd shadows during day games, but the tradeoff (never having a game postponed, not having frigid temperatures for baseball) is worth it. Speaking of tradeoffs, its location in a parking lot takes away from any neighborhood feel, but the tailgating spectacle can’t be beat.
4) Target Field, Minneapolis: All was wonderful for the home opener, but even though I’m no weather guy, there will be days when it’s really cold and miserable–let’s see how happy those Twins fans are then!
5) Jacobs Field, Cleveland: I’ve been in this stadium; however, not during a game…but it looks nice. The place has led to neighborhood revitalization, which is never a bad thing. Cleveland fans get bonus points for being long-suffering.
6) Comerica Park, Detroit: Another stadium I’ve seen up close–just not during a game. It may actually be a better facility than Jacobs Field, but that gets a slightly higher ranking based on a better neighborhood. Adams Street, between Ford Field and adjacent to Comerica Park, has its share of good establishments, but I’m not terribly comfortable venturing off Adams–in any direction. Still, the view of Comerica Park from the 3rd-level patio at Cheli’s Chili Bar down the street is quite impressive.
7) U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago: First of all, they ditched the Comiskey name for a cell phone company…not a fan of that. The stadium itself is a little sterile, although it has wide concourses and good array of food selections. The lower bowl seats aren’t bad, but if you suffer from vertigo, you may want to avoid the upper deck. I’d also suggest avoiding a stroll through the neighborhood before or after any games.
Gone but not forgotten: Metropolitan Stadium, Bloomington; Comiskey Park, Chicago; Tiger Stadium, Detroit
Places I need to go: AT&T Park, San Francisco; Busch Stadium, St. Louis; Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City; Petco Park, San Diego; Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
Your thoughts? Your rankings? Feel free to add your comments.
Posted under Hometown Sports
This post was written by bbradovich on April 13, 2010