I have been to every major league baseball team park in America. I snuck down for a Nationals away game to Atlanta as the completion of my quest. The Braves there have the newest ballpark: SunTrust Park.
There have been 7 new MLB ballparks put up in the past decade. I’ll give you a quick run-down on the last few ones. SunTrust Park is pretty neat inside, with lots of close-in cozy seating, fan tvs, and great sightlines, modern scoreboards and a nice sound system for the fans, and those effective toothbrush lights (like Cleveland has). They have well-planned roof overlays for summer shading to fans below, a feature imitating Wrigley Field. They have a cool, free museum-monuments area– devoted to Braves ‘ greats. Hank Aaron gets his due of first honors. A big plus in the seating plan is that they don’t have many saved- for-the-rich-people areas all taken behind home, like the dumb Nationals and Yankees do in their places. SunTrust Park has big bobblehead figures in the breezeways of the park. (See photo as I bobble my head, too.) The ballpark location was put out in a growth-area neighborhood of the city supportive to the team, but the parking situation is a foul situation. They hit a homer inside the park, but outside it is lacking, just a pop fly foul. Without pre-paid arranged parking– you’re left near helpless, like being picked-off first base. No public transpo available–far from the subway. Taxis aren’t allowed near either.
The Braves retain their beating drum in the outfield stands along with those silly foam tomahawks to wave with the warpath song (but at least they are not politically-correct on that, just like the resilient Redskins NFL team, the Braves remain the Braves).
Marlins Park, Miami—2012. The park is the second most modern. It’s in Miami’s Little Cuba part of the city, rather than off hiway 95, so they really now are the Miami Marlins. Their indoor stadium was a good idea, in respect to their weather, though it has an odd centerfield main entrance. Pluses– Lots of great food all over park, and cool outfield arcade scoreboard and big windows. It’s quite the bilingual park, seeking the serve more fans. Fun music. Nice box seats. Friendly staff all around park. While the Marlins team usually misses the playoffs, their park is a winner!
Target Field, Minneapolis–2011. The ballpark is exactly downtown, with train station behind the outfield bleachers, and situated near hotels and city sights and the downtown hi-inner walkway system. The most polite and the friendliest fans and ballpark staff are here, maybe because they consume more milk and ice cream than beer (direct opposite to the Mets) or pina coladas (Marlins)! It’s an outdoor ballpark so avoid the April and September games, unless you layer up.
Yankee Stadium , 2009 and Citi Field, 2009
Both the Yanks and Mets just had to update their ballpark experiences, but did so very well and on the same properties in NYC. Both projects succeeded in making a new grand version of the old stadium. I dislike both teams, since they rival the Os and Nats, but eating a Nathans dog at a NYC ballpark is big time fun. And when the hometeam loses and the big ego fans are quieted: priceless.
Nationals Park, Wash. D.C., 2008. My first moment there was standing and sitting in left field praying a Mass with Pope Benedict. Then came baseball and about 90 total games there so far since its debut as DC’s home park. I just saw the 23-5 win over the Mets last Sunday: fabulous. Since they were lucky to build this park, and without coordination from local or fed governments, I’ll excuse a few annoyances on the park and ballpark area outside. The place is fine and it’s home. All the levels behind Home Plate make for good views, but for the high cost lowest section directly behind home. IT goes for $375 each, with parking, and with a gourmet all-you-can-eat AND drink dinner in an exclusive lounge area. Even the Clintons can’t afford that! (Well, they’ve never been seen there.).
The other newest ballparks: Busch, St. Louis 2006. Petco, San Diego, 2004. Citizens Bank, Philly, 2004. Great American, Cincinnati, 2003.