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8 Major League Baseball Parks You Must Visit Before You Die
You don’t have to be a hardcore baseball fan to appreciate these Major League baseball parks-they’re worthy tourist attractions in their own right.
8. Busch Stadium – St. Louis, Missouri; home of the Cardinals.
In the 1880s, the St. Louis Cardinals and their fellow American Association teams-nicknamed the Beer and Whiskey Circuit-were the first to serve brew in the stands. In fact, the Cardinals’ first owner, a German by the name of Chris Von der Ahe, founded the team primarily as a means to get the beer he was selling into the hands of a thirsty crowd. Although the Cardinals now play in Busch Stadium, which opened in 2006, the Beer and Whiskey Circuit tradition lives on: The stadium boasts one of the largest craft beer selections in Major League Baseball. Cheers!
7. Comerica Park – Detroit, Michigan; home of the Tigers.
Despite its reputation, downtown Detroit is experiencing a bit of a renaissance. The Motor City’s restaurants and bars are hopping once again-but this time, it’s professional sports that are fuelling the local economy. Nestled in the heart of the city amidst some impressive examples of 1920s architecture, Comerica Park brings the Tigers to Detroit, rather than asking Detroit to come to the Tigers. It certainly bucks the trend of suburban stadiums surrounded by a huge expanse of parking lots, and the only thing that’s lost in the convenient downtown location is tailgating potential.
Photo: Matt McClain/ShutterStock
6. Dodger Stadium – Los Angeles, California; home of the Dodgers.
You can understand how the game of baseball might take a backseat at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Carved out of the Chavez Ravine, the third-oldest park in the majors has the feel of an urban forest, boasting a view of rolling, tree-covered hills from anywhere between first and third base. And then there’s the star-gazing potential in the stands, from the Dodgers’ celeb-studded ownership group (including basketball great Magic Johnson), and the team’s endless roster of famous fans. (Selfie tip: Be sure to turn your phone towards the field to avoid a backdrop of the anemic yellow chairs that line the park’s lower level.)
5. Oriole Park at Camden Yards – Baltimore, Maryland; home of the Orioles.
Oriole Park stands as the best ball park built in the 1990s; a time when ball park architects began taking inspiration from baseball’s roots. The throwback-style parks of this period (built not only for the Orioles, but also for the Rangers, Indians and Rockies) focus on intimacy, channeling the early days of the fan experience, and recreating a time before $12 beers and corporate naming rights. From the brick facade stretching between the foul poles to the B&O warehouse running along right field, Oriole Park is like stepping back in time, which-as far as baseball’s concerned-isn’t a bad thing at all.
4. PNC Park – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; home of the Pirates.
It’s not difficult to see why Pittsburgh’s PNC Park routinely tops Major League Baseball stadium rankings every year: Situated along the Allegheny River, it’s home to one of the most beautiful views in the game. Almost as impressive? The decibel levels during a game. Pirates fans have become notorious in recent years for generating a level of noise previously unheard of in baseball. Not unlike their team’s namesake, these spectators are rowdy and loud-and their enthusiasm is totally infectious.
3. Fenway Park – Boston, Massachusetts; home of the Red Sox.
For hardcore baseball fans and historians, Boston’s Fenway Park-the oldest park in Major League Baseball-is hallowed ground. A big part of that is because so little has changed in the park’s 103 seasons. The same wooden chairs have played host to generations of fans’ behinds-some of whom would have even watched Babe Ruth step up to bat. The famed Green Monster scoreboard is still operated by hand, and it’s telling that one of the park’s newest additions remains the video board-built in 1988. It’s a park that exudes history-and that’s its allure.
2. AT&T Park – San Francisco, California; home of the Giants.
AT&T Park is the perfect baseball field for San Francisco, because like San Francisco, there’s no other place like it. It’s basically baseball’s answer to the all-inclusive. You can, for instance, rent a kayak and watch the Giants play while bobbing in the waters of McCovey Cove. Alternatively, you can gorge yourself on one of the park’s famous Crazy Crab’z sandwiches (Dungeness crab on sourdough, slathered in garlic butter), and wash it down with a Giants Orange Splash Lager (a hoppy craft beer created to commemorate the Giants’ 2014 championship season). And how about that view?
1. Wrigley Field – Chicago, Illinois; home of the Cubs.
To watch an afternoon game at Wrigley Field is to experience baseball the way it was intended. In fact, Wrigley’s so iconic that it’s virtually synonymous with the sport. Thick ivy covering the outfield walls? Check. Legendary red marquee? Check. Heck, it’s even got people watching the game from the roofs of buildings across the street. It’s good old-fashioned neighbourhood baseball elevated on a Major League scale, and helped to no end by updates and improvements over the years that have enhanced-and not erased-its rich history.