Baseball stadiums are sacred cultural enclaves. They differ in style and architecture from East to West reflecting their respective teams and audiences. Ballparks are often given a name different than that of the team they host, highlighting that they are distinct entities and appreciated individually. Unfortunately this practice has been commercialized, turning stadium names into massive billboards, like Rogers Centre or Citi.
When travelling, baseball fans visit a city with a major team it is obligatory they visit the park, whether that be AT&T or Wrigley Field. These stadiums are living museums, witness to many all-star events and fans flock to them to watch the tradition grow, inning by inning.
Baseball stadiums always have a certain relaxed and nostalgic feeling to them. People are filing in and out of the stands during the game, to get a beer or to switch to better seats --and you don't have to be there for the first inning. America's favourite pastime is generally enjoyed on a local level. Although tv coverage with all of the added angles is certainly superior to the replays on the JumboTron, Americans still enjoy the experience of going out to the ballpark. This joy of presence is heightened by traditions like preseason games and the uniting "Take Me Out" song that both sets of fans chant along to. Baseball franchises have coloured cities since the nineteenth century.
But can you match these holy pitches to the teams they host?
New Busch Stadium
As the name admits, this stadium was erected in place of the former Busch stadium in 2006 to modernize the baseball onlooker experience. In fact, this town has hosted one of three stadiums to have borne this name. New Busch Stadium gives on the Gateway Arch and the city's downtown skyline. In 2009 it hosted the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. This May it boasted the highest attendance number for a baseball game at almost 48,000 people watching the home team against the Chicago Cubs.
Citizen's Bank Park
Nicknamed CBP or Bank Park, this ballpark opened in 2004 to replace the multipurpose Veterans Stadium. Since then the home team has won a World Series title. Though not located in the city center, Bank Park draws massive crowds of three million in 2010 and serves local specialties like hoagie sandwiches. Every time a home team member hits a home run a massive bell suspended over 100 feet above the audience. This park also hosted the 2012 National Hockey League Winter Classic.
This baseball team moved from Kansas to the Oakland Coliseum for the 1968 season. Currently 60,000 fans can pack the stadium because the Coliseum remains the last American sports center to host Major League Baseball and NFL teams simultaneously. While being one of the largest MLB stadiums with a massive foul territory, it is one of the smallest in NFL terms. With the Raiders plans to move to Las Vegas in 2020, this team hopes to build a new stadium within the upcoming seasons.
This park has been instilled in baseball history as it is the oldest standing Major League Baseball stadium. Since 1912 it has hosted many World Series' Games and remained a loyal home base for its original team. Fenway Park survived a fire in the 1930's and major refurbishments since the early 2000's. These adaptations include the renowned Green Monster seats in left field which provide fans with a new eagle-eye perspective. However, given their position, these seats are known to be a target for right-handed hitters.
From "The House that Ruth Built" to "The House that Steinbrenner Built," the new 2009 Yankee Stadium is across the street from its old counterpart. Despite the renovations in the 70's, this team needed a bigger space and more amenities to please its hungry crowds. The project, planned since the 80's took the overall price tag of over a billion dollars making it the most expensive stadium in history. In the stadium's first season the Yankees won the World Series disproving all curses or lore about the changing parks.
This team was added to the MLB franchise in 1977 after the city tried to woo the San Francisco Giants away from California. Replacing Exhibition Stadium in 1989, Rogers Centre or the SkyDome was the first ballpark to include a retractable roof. This was prompted by the late spring snowfall that would plague the pitch. Summer attracts thousands of fans from surrounding cities because the Centre is located downtown with a view of the CN Tower. Another feature is the built-in hotel where tourists can view the field from their bedroom windows.
Minute Maid Park
Another stadium with a retractable roof, Minute Maid Park was opened officially for this team in just 2000. Prior to this stadium the team was housed under two differently-named parks in the same city. The first was sadly outdated by the 1990's. The second was the rebuilt, modified stadium of Enron Field but had to be renamed once the energy corporation went bankrupt. The current Minute Maid Park or "The Juice Box" was built in the city's old railway terminal, Union Station.
Replacing Memorial Stadium in 1992, Camden Yards is celebrated for paving the modern trend of classic-style ballparks. Arches, steel columns, and inclusion of old industrial spaces have brought a timeless feel to newly constructed stadiums. Following the completion of Camden Yards, ballparks have sought to locate themselves in city centers and include skyline views. They incorporate old-school memorabilia while making the place is functional for modern needs. Camden Yards was the site where Cal Ripken played his 2,131st consecutive game-- toppling the Lou Gehrig record.
The newest of the MLB ballparks, SunTrust stadium was christened by this team on April 14, 2017 with a game against the San Diego Padres. The construction gave the team a more permanent home; before this players had been alternating between two stadiums. Along with the ballpark came massive square footage for "entertainment development". This includes restaurants, bars, hotels, and other amenities catering to 2017 baseball crowds. As Ballpark Digest puts it, SunTrust Park epitomizes the past twenty-five years of retro-fitted stadiums.
Replacing the windy, shared Candlestick Park in 2000, AT&T Park is widely regarded as every MLB fan's dream destination. Originally named Pac Bell Park, it was officially retitled AT&T in 2002. The construction was entirely privately funded- a first since Dodger Stadium in 1962. Since AT&T was built the park has held four World Series Games and the team won three championships in six years (2010, 2012, 2014)! The Park sits on China Basin, or McCovey Cove as unofficially named by fans.
Finished in 2000 to replace a stadium that had hosted this team since 1912, Comerica Park was built downtown with a brick exterior. At 41,500 capacity, every seat in the main grandstand gives on the skyline of the city. Though about 1,000 seats have been added since its erection, and a shift of the bullpen to accommodate them, little else has changed at Comercia Park except the success of the team it hosts. The Park has also been used to host hockey and soccer games.
Braving outside conditions after the weather-protected indoor Metrodome, this team got its own Park with Target Field in 2010. To aid volatile Midwestern temperatures, the Field does include heated seating areas. Home runs are celebrated by the illumination of the mascot "shaking hands" visible in centerfield, right of the scoreboard. One of the fences is peppered with holes to allow fans outside on 5th Street to watch the game from outside. The stadium also hosts many local restaurants and food inspired by the team's history.
Citi Field was erected in the lot just behind the outfield of this team's previous home, Shea Stadium. Though the new ballpark has a capacity of 42,000 nearly half of the seats are in the lower area, giving fans a closer vantage point. The home plate entrance of Citi Field pays homage to the adjacent Ebbets Field entryway, uninhabited since 1957. Since opening in 2006, Citi Field has moved its fences twice but despite this it remains a pitching-friendly stadium.
Globe Life Park
Taking cue from Camden Yards, Globe Life Park was finished in 1994 with a brick exterior, manual scoreboard, and high archway entrances. The park has over 49,000 seats that extend across five levels. Between sections 51 and 52 at center field is a patch of grass known as Greene's Hill or "The Grassy Knoll" to regular attendees. However, in May 2016 the team announced plans for a new ballpark due to the intense summer heat and relative cost of installing a retracting roof to Globe Life Park.
The only permanently domed stadium in baseball, Tropicana Field has hosted this team since 1998. The facility includes offices, luxury suites, clubhouses, and a 10,000 gallon fish tank. Fans enter the stadium to Centerfield Street, where commerces and activities are lined up before seating and the pitch. The ballpark was initially based with an AstroTurf field, later to be replaced by a softer alternative, FieldTurf Duo. The first ever official use of instant replay technology was shown between the tenants of this field and the New York Yankees.
Guaranteed Rate Field
This team has been hosted at three different stadiums within their city. The newly built stadium, named after its previous counterpart Comiskey Park, was ready for use in 1991. This was the name it carried until 2003, when it was changed to US Cellular Field and then changed again to Guarantee Rate Field in 2016. Built in the early 90's with the same developers (Populous) as Camden Yards, Guarantee Rate Field did not resemble the popular old-school look. Since then it has added stylistic features and shading to capture the retro-ballpark feel.
Replacing the shared Qualcomm Stadium in 2004, Petco Park is situated on Tony Gwynn Drive and gives a great view of the downtown skyscrapers. With a white steel and sandstone face, Petco Park does not mimic other retro-era styled stadiums. The massive three tier grandstands extend from the left foul line to the right one, and the park capacity is at 41,000. The Park hosted last year's (2016) All Star Game and has had other sporting events like rugby and tennis borrow the field during the off-season.
With the deepest outfield in Major League Baseball, Coors Field is known as a home run-friendly park. Another contributing factor is dryness and low-density of the air due to the location's altitude. Built in 1995, the stadium can seat over 50,000 fans and includes an outside standing deck. Also, the base of the field is twenty-one feet below street level. This team is relatively new with Coors Field being their first long-term home. Features like the brick exterior and clock tower remind fans that it is a Populous-built stadium.
Giving one of the most iconic views in Major League Baseball, PNC Park was also the first stadium to provide a scoreboard with full information. The city's downtown is clearly visible in the skyline as well as the Roberto Clemente bridge. Prior to their move here in 2001, this team played at a multipurpose Three Rivers Stadium in the same city. PNC is one of the MLB's smallest stadiums, it is expansive, going from foul pole to foul pole, but only seats 38,300.
Wrigley Field is the oldest ballpark in the National League and has undergone major renovations since its construction in 1914. Originally seating only 14,000 people in the early twentieth century, the stadium was expanded to accommodate over 41,000! Though various stylistic changes and relocation of the grandstand have modified the ballpark, it is still the location where Babe Ruth called his centerfield home run shot in 1932. This home team won the World Series Championship just last year after not achieving the title since 1908.
In 1998, Chase Field was the first stadium to have both a retractable roof and a grass pitch. With a capacity of over 48,000, Chase Field is one of the bigger MLB venues. It is also the only one that sports a pool next to the right-field fence. The stadium was previously known as Bank One Ballpark or "BOB" before financial institutions merged in 2005 leaving the name Chase. This pitch has hosted a World Series Game, an All Star Game and added several HD tv screens to fans can see.
Built in 1973, Kauffman Stadium was distinct because it was built to exclusively house the city's baseball team. It is one of the oldest fields in the American League, but has been refurbished since then adding a JumboTron, natural grass on the pitch and luxury suites. The water fountains in right field are a iconic feature the stadium boasts and fans often flock towards them in summer. In 2014 this team made a comeback to win the American League, and one year later the World Series.
Miller Park pioneered the fasted closing retractable roof in fan-shape style, able to close in only ten minutes. However, the process was burned by a fatal accident that claimed the lives of three construction workers. Finished in 2001, Miller Park came up against a fan base demanding the County Stadium remain against the wishes of owner Bud Selig. This site is a well-known destination for baseball tailgating. This atmosphere adds to the support for the home team and the popularity of the games, regardless of that season's record.
Built to replace Kingdome, this team refused to sign a lease to stay in the city until a ballpark was erected in their name. For this reason, Safeco Field is sometimes referred to as "The House That Griffey Built". Though Safeco finished construction only in 1999, this team's defeat against the Yankees in the 1995 Division Series was the moral fuel propelling Safeco forward. Anticipating difficult weather, the developers added a retractable roof that sheltered the stadium but did not close it off.
Great American Ball Park
Situated on the river, the Great American Ball Park houses on of this city's oldest franchises. It was built in 2003 and has a gap between the stands on third base that allows downtowners a glimpse in. It also lets those on the upper deck be closer to the pitch. The history of this team is celebrated in the new stadium, from the smokestacks at centerfield, hall of fame wall, and the rose garden in memory of Pete Rose. Great American seats over 42,000 fans.