By: Matt Meltzer
Well, it's baseball season again. Which means that ESPN can take a break from talking nonstop about the Golden State Warriors (we get it, they're good), and instead talk nonstop about the Yankees and Red Sox. It also means that you're going to have to explain to people why it is you still like baseball, without going into the nuances of throwing a four-seam fastball as your payoff pitch.
A good way to start is by showing them the splendor of North America's 30 Major League Baseball parks, where each home field is unique unto itself (more true now that they tore down Riverfront, Three Rivers, and the Vet). But which stadium is the absolute best place to watch a game? Which offers the best overall experience: the stadium, the food, and the on-field product?
To figure that out, we looked at a number of metrics, including Stadium Journey's overall experience rankings, each team's home winning percentage since 2009, the percentage of seats in each park that were filled last season, and the stadium food rankings from the good folks at Bleacher Report. And what did we come up with, other than that Globe Life in Arlington is still terrible? Well, this season's update to every Major League Baseball park in America, ranked worst to first.
30. Globe Life Park in Arlington
Despite losing consecutive championships in 2010-11and teetering on the brink of being the Buffalo Bills of baseball, the Rangers have posted a pretty decent .569 winning percentage at home since; although that still wasn't good enough to fill more than 63% of the seats in 2015. A dead-last ranking in food doesn't help their case, either. Who knows, maybe they shouldn't have closed that Friday's in right field?
29. Yankee Stadium
New York Yankees
Perhaps no ballpark better represents its city than the new-ish Yankee Stadium. Big, impressive, and talked about in the national media ad nauseum. Once you get there, though, you realize it's way too big, overpriced, and, well, not that much fun. While the Yanks have an impressive home winning percentage in their new park (.610), a lackluster 2015 dropped them to almost dead-last in our rankings. Unimpressive food options and a cavernous feel also make this place a... sorryboutthis... Bronx Bomb.
28. Rogers Centre (SkyDome)
Toronto Blue Jays
Back in the early '90s, when the concept of a retractable roof was almost as crazy as a phone you could carry in your pocket, this was the coolest stadium in baseball. Now, rappers have retractable roof houses and the Blue Jays just pulled themselves back to relevance last year. Hopefully 2015's playoff run will help the Jays fill more than 70% of seats this year, the main reason why they're up one spot to 28.
27. Citi Field
New York Mets
Yes, it's an upgrade from Shea, sure. But just replacing something that's worn out doesn't make it great on its own. Which is definitely the case with Citi, where even a center field Shake Shack and an NL pennant haven't done much to help the Mets' attendance, which thanks to the playoff push just broke 74% of capacity.
26. Marlins Park
When the biggest-selling feature in your stadium is a bar with naked dancers, it doesn't speak much to your product on the field. And since getting their half-billion-dollar, high-tech palace, the Marlins haven't managed a winning season. They draw most of their alleged 21,000 fans per game (some Miami math if we've ever seen it) thanks to the swimming-pool-and-body-painted Clevelander bar in left field.
25. Tropicana Field
Tampa Bay Rays
St. Petersburg, FL
The oft-maligned giant orange-juice squeezer in downtown St. Pete (one of our best 25 cities to spend the weekend) might not be the best place to watch a baseball game, but the food offerings are a lot stronger than you'd think; in fact, the Cuban sandwiches taste better than the ones you get in Miami. It also doesn't hurt that the Rays have been dominant at home until the last couple of year, chalking up a .566 home winning percentage since '09.
But let's be honest, it's still Tampa and that means fans would rather be out making meth and dating their high school teachers than going to Rays' games, and the numbers back it up; only 52% of seats get filled.
24. Progressive Field
"Progressive" really should refer to the "progress" they're not making in replacing possibly the worst stadium in the history of live sports. The 11th oldest park in baseball no longer has the cool, new vibe it did when it opened in 1994, and, much like its team, the park is in desperate need of some upgrades. Not surprising, then, that even with $4 Strohs, the Indians rank last in attendance.
23. Petco Park
San Diego Padres
San Diego, CA
If you're not into five-for-$5 fish tacos, the food at Petco leaves a lot to be desired (although, the craft beer selection is pretty tight). As does the team on the field. While the Pads might have had the best outfield in baseball, they've spent the last decade being fairly irrelevant. And San Diegans took notice, opting to enjoy their city's perfect weather elsewhere and filling only 73% of the stadium's seats.
22. Chase Field
If you've ever been to a shopping mall food court and thought, "You know what would be cool? If there was a Major League Baseball game going on in the background," Chase Field is your dream come true. This cavernous, usually-indoor park has all the charm of a dentist's office, and housing a team that doesn't win half its games doesn't help.
21. Turner Field
As great as Atlanta is at strip clubs, they are equally as terrible at breeding home-grown, loyal sports fans. To prove it, ask your average Atlantan to name four players on the Hawks. That sports apathy is a big reason why this converted Olympic stadium that houses one of the most successful franchises of the past 30 years can only fill 49% of its seats. The stadium itself, which may be torn down when the Braves move to Cobb County in 2017, is a nice place to watch a game on a warm summer's night. Especially if you enjoy having an entire row to yourself.
20. Nationals Park
When the population of your town changes every two-to-four years, it's hard to build a loyal following. The Nats have actually been a contender for the past five seasons and still only fill 3/4 of the seats. And while the ballpark is still nice and new, it doesn't have many signature features and the food options are pretty much limited to chili-covered sausages.
19. US Cellular Field
Chicago White Sox
When talking about long-suffering Chicago baseball fans, people conveniently forget that the White Sox actually won a world series in 2005. Their mediocrity as of late though hasn't helped their cause, and the former "New Comiskey" currently only fills about half its seats on a regular basis.
18. Great American Ball Park
When it comes to great chili debates, none is more polarizing than Cincinnati's Skyline, whose beef-on-spaghetti shtick doesn't play well with everyone. Especially the guys at BR, who ranked the Great American Ball Park fifth-worst for food. And despite the Reds' decent home record and respectable attendance figures, this park on the Ohio River still only ranked 13th overall. Though it is one of the cornerstone's of America's 10th-best skyline.
17. O.co Coliseum
Nothing says "classic baseball park" like AN ENTIRE LEVEL OF TARPED-OFF SEATS. This team, which plays on a shoestring budget in SF's dirty little brother of a city -- in a stadium that hasn't been fun since the Raiders moved back -- is typically a winner. Last year's miserable 34-home-win-season aside (which dropped the A's five spots on this list), a .552 home winning percentage since '09 puts O.co much higher than you'd expect, as does the surprisingly large variety of food available in the really narrow concourses.
16. Minute Maid Park
Well, at least it's no longer named after a corrupt energy conglomerate. So there's that. What there isn't is a baseball team that anybody's cared about in almost a decade (did you know they changed leagues? Yeah, THREE years ago!) with an anemic .440 winning percentage at home. Until last year when the 'stros put together a banging 52-wins at Minute Maid. Maybe it's because the stadium's air conditioned -- and that summer in Houston is oppressive -- but fans last year filled a respectable 63% of seats and boosted Minute Maid up six spots on this list.
15. Comerica Park
People love to rag on Detroit. Especially people who haven't been to Detroit. Because if you have and checked out the relatively new home of the Tigers, you'd know it's as nice and homey as any park in baseball. How else would they get people from the suburbs to come downtown and fill 81% of the seats to watch a team that won 38 home games?
More from Thrillist:
Like Thrillist on Facebook: www.facebook.com/Thrillist