Catching a game at any of the 30 MLB ballparks should be on every sports fan’s bucket list. In a new twist to the 2023 season, MLB’s schedule featured each team playing every opponent from both leagues. It’s a long overdue change that forfeits the format of teams playing six series against their division rivals. The new design allows fans to see teams in different venues across the league. Luckily, that should excite any fan to visit ballparks they’ve wanted to check out for some time. Thanks to the new format, there’s nothing like walking into the ballpark, especially one fans have never been to, on a sunny day with a drink and food in hand. If you’re looking to travel outside your area for a game, you need to put these ballparks on your checklist for next season.
Best MLB Ballparks to Check Out
Minute Maid Park
The Juice Box is the home of the 2022 World Series Champions, the Houston Astros. It’s the only MLB ballpark on this list with a retractable roof. Minute Maid Park opened its doors in April 2000 with a maximum capacity of over 41,000. The Astros had the seventh-highest attendance in 2022, with 33,197 fans on average across 81 home games. The stadium is well-known for its brick facade over in left field. It pays homage to Union Station and Tal’s Hill in center field. The downtown ballpark continues to be a proud tradition in Houston thanks to visionary innovation in stadium construction since the club’s previous home, the Astrodome.
Wrigley Field is the second-oldest active ballpark in baseball. The home of the Chicago Cubs since 1914, it’s famous for the ivy-covered outfield walls. There’s also a rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” sung by late broadcaster Harry Carrey. Wrigley Field is a staple for any and every baseball fan. It’s located on the North Side of Chicago in the Wrigleyville neighborhood. The park was named a National Historic Landmark in 2020. The friendly confines have been the site of such historic moments, including Babe Ruth’s “called shot” during Game 3 of the 1932 World Series, Kerry Wood’s 20-strikeout performance in 1998, and the Cubs winning their first pennant since 1945 on October 22, 2016.
The oldest baseball stadium opened its doors in downtown Boston in 1912. In 1914, the Boston Braves played the latter part of their season and the first part of the 1915 season at Fenway Park while Braves Field was under construction. The Braves also visited the ballpark regularly to play exhibition games against the Red Sox until they moved to Milwaukee in 1952. Fenway Park hosted recreation league and high school baseball games until the 1950s. Some games featured state and regional tournaments, college all-stars, and park league teams. Fenway is best known for the “Green Monster” in left field- a 37-foot wall 315 feet from home plate. The Green Monster towers over left-fielders and is an advantage for right-handed batters. Once inside, fans glimpse a ballpark that counts for a lot regarding history.
Oracle Park is the home of the San Francisco Giants. It’s located in the heart of downtown San Francisco, right beside the historic Bay. The first privately financed ballpark in MLB since Dodger Stadium, the Giants home features an incredible statue of franchise legend Willie Mays. The design was inspired by Wrigley Field and Fenway Park. It’s also modeled after Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Coors Field, and Progressive Field. The ballpark is best known for its scenic backdrops of the Pacific Ocean in right field. There’s also the giant Coca-Cola Bottle in left field and McCovey Cove, where kayakers wait to fish out home run balls in the water. While hitting homers in the stadium is an advantage for left-handed hitters, not one right-handed hitter has hit one into the water.
Petco Park has some of the best sightlines over the outfield wall with breathtaking views of San Diego. The concourse has inspiring views of downtown with tastes of San Diego. The San Diego Padres had the fifth-highest home attendance in 2022, giving their fans a significant home-field advantage. When there, be on the lookout for Tony Gwynn Plaza. Located on J Street, fans can flock to see the bronze statue of the Baseball Hall of Famer. Two significant events took place at this very ballpark years ago. The first was on August 4, 2007, when Barry Bonds hit his 755th home run to tie Hank Aaron’s record. The second was on April 17, 2008, when the Padres played a 22-inning game, the longest in Petco Park history. The Colorado Rockies won the game 2-1, but it was the longest game in almost 15 years.
Photo Credit: © Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports