Best Baseball Stadiums in 2018
When it comes to ranking the best baseball stadiums, tradition only goes so far. Pristine grass, clear sightlines, and the crunch of peanut shells underfoot fans desire all these, yes, but they also want giant bottles to slide down. Then there's the team. Watching your home squad struggle isn't much fun and can put a damper on a day at the ballpark.
With this in mind, we've devised a system that rates five ballpark factors—history, views, the team, stadium snacks, and wildcard—on a scale of 1 to 10 to spit out a composite ballpark score. The result? The 10 best MLB stadiums to visit in 2018.
10. SunTrust Park | Atlanta Braves
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History: 4—This park just opened its doors this season; you can't have history without a past! The park's Monument Garden, with hundreds of pieces of Braves-themed art, gives a nice nod to the franchise's history, though.
Team: 4—Few expect the Braves to make much noise this season, but upstart infielder Dansby Swanson and slugger Freddie Freeman will still provide some highlights for fans in Atlanta.
Views: 8—The stadium is about 9,000 seats smaller than its predecessor, Turner Field, giving each of its seats a closer view of the action.
Stadium Snacks: 7—The park offers Terrapin Beer Co.'s Chopsecutioner Ale, a beer aged on wood from real Mizuno baseball bats. Is it a little gimmicky? Sure. But is it still cool? You bet.
Wildcard: 7—SunTrust Park's right-field roof isn't a roof. It's packed with cabanas that give fans plenty to do during the game: play ping pong and foosball, socialize on patios, or grab some food at a Waffle House. Yes, there's a Waffle House up there, too.
9. Safeco Field | Seattle Mariners
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History: 3—Safeco was built and branded as a modern park, complete with a unique umbrella-style roof that shields the field from inclement weather without closing the dome entirely. However, there's not much nostalgia here.
Team: 6—The M's are being picked by some as an underdog to watch in 2018, and with an offense with Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, and Kyle Seager, it's easy to see why.
Views: 6—Being a modern stadium, Safeco offers good sightlines and a decent view of Seattle. Since it's such a big ballpark, though, it can make the field seem a little distant depending on where you sit.
Stadium Snacks: 8—Safeco is routinely regarded as one of the best ballparks for food. Fans can snack on everything from sushi to pizza to build-your-own ice-cream sandwiches.
Wildcard: 8—You wouldn't expect to find works of art in a baseball stadium, but you're sure to run into them here. The team's Art in the Park program stocks the concourses with baseball-themed statues, murals, and other works from local artists.
8. Target Field | Minnesota Twins
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History: 4—Target Field is one of the newest parks in baseball, but the team's history can be seen if you look close enough. The stadium's home plate is the same one that was used in the team's former stadium, the Metrodome.
Team: 7—The Twins sit in the middle of the pack as far as contenders go this season, but second baseman Brian Dozier is a constant home-run threat. He's popped 76 of them over the last two seasons.
Views: 8—One of the most compact stadiums in the league, Target Field gives fans close-up views of the action and a picturesque backdrop of Minneapolis's skyline.
Stadium Snacks: 8—Celebrity chef and native son Andrew Zimmern's Canteen offers unique spins on classics, such as the Sloppy Ko, a kimchi version of a sloppy joe. Fans can also find Upper Midwest staples, including cheese curds and a Mexican version of Minnesota hot dish.
Wildcard: 6—When nasty Minnesotan weather rears its head, there's an open bonfire on the Budweiser Roof Deck in right field. During picture-perfect Minnesota summer days, though, the stadium sits right beside a bike trail, making it easy to pedal to a game.
7. Progressive Field | Cleveland Indians
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History: 5—It's seen its share of heartbreak (sorry, Cleveland), but Progressive Field, formerly Jacobs Field, was also home to the '90s Indians, one of the most exciting baseball teams of the last few decades.
Team: 8—The Indians made a surprise run in 2016 all the way to the final game of the season (again, sorry, Cleveland) and they should be one of the top teams again this year. Watch for stud shortstop Francisco Lindor, slugger Edwin Encarnacion, and shutdown reliever Andrew Miller.
Views: 7—The stadium has recently undergone multiple renovations that have eliminated seating and made the vibe a little more intimate. And no matter where you sit, you're treated to a nice view of Cleveland's skyline and Quicken Loans Arena, home of LeBron and the Cavs.
Stadium Snacks: 8—The park's Right Field District is home to stands from locally beloved restaurants from the city's neighborhoods. Grab a taco from Barrio, a pierogi sandwich from Melt Bar and Grilled, or a Red Drum Rally Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Wildcard: 6—If you're at a Tribe game and you're eating a hot dog, look for Bertman's ballpark mustard. It's a locally made treasure, and it's delicious.
6. Petco Park | San Diego Padres
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History: 6—The 100-year-old Western Metal Supply Co.'s building was not only spared during the park's construction, but also incorporated into the stadium's design.
Team: 3—The Padres aren't expected to compete for a title this year, but young stars Wil Myers and Manuel Margot should give fans something to be hopeful for in the future.
Views: 8—Petco Park gives a nice, open view of San Diego's skyline, which looks gorgeous bathed in the city's near-constant sunshine.
Stadium Snacks: 9—Bars for brewers Ballast Point, AleSmith, and others reflect the region's concentration of outstanding craft breweries. Another hotspot is a station for Wonderland Ocean Pub, a casual local seafood spot that sits just feet from the Pacific Ocean.
Wildcard: 10—A huge part of going to a baseball game is just being outside, and thanks to San Diego's perfect weather, it doesn't get better anywhere else.
5. Busch Stadium | St. Louis Cardinals
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History: 7—Though it's only been around for 12 years, Busch Stadium—the third one the Cardinals have called home—has already packed in more history than other older ballparks. The Cardinals were the first team in almost a century to open a new park and be crowned world champions in that park later that season.
Team: 7—Though they're not projected to catch the rival Cubs in their division this year, the team is almost always competitive enough to make a postseason push.
Views: 9—Packed into downtown, the stadium gives fans a postcard-worthy backdrop of the skyline sitting under the city's famous arch.
Stadium Snacks: 7—You'll never see the same food twice at Busch Stadium. That's because, under stadium policy, fans are allowed to bring in outside food and beverages (water and soda) in soft-sided coolers. If you're looking for ballpark food, though, head to the Double Play Tap and Grill, where you can get a burger stuffed with mac 'n' cheese.
Wildcard: 7—Busch-II-Infield, a plot outside the actual stadium where the old park's infield sat, hosts game-watch parties, live entertainment, and even yoga classes.
4. PNC Park | Pittsburgh Pirates
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History: 6—The stadium's limestone facade, numerous archways, and pilasters tiled with terracotta serve as subtle nods to Three Rivers Stadium, the team's former home.
Team: 6—Former 2nd-overall draft pick and stud pitcher Jameson Taillon plus two-time Gold Glover Starling Marte are well worth heading to the ball park this year.
Views: 10—Pittsburgh's gleaming skyline and the bright-yellow Roberto Clemente Bridge dominate perhaps the best view in baseball, making it hard to focus on the action on the field.
Stadium Snacks: 8—Primanti Bros. slings the city's iconic fries-slaw-meat sandwiches behind section 110. If you somehow still have room and are feeling bold, try to take down the Polish Hill dog's arsenal of pierogi, pulled pork, coleslaw, onion rings, and barbecue sauce.
Wildcard: 8—If you're lucky enough to be at a game—or maybe kayaking—when a particularly long homer is launched toward right field, you might see the ball splash down into the Allegheny River.
3. Fenway Park | Boston Red Sox
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History: 10—At 105 years old, Fenway is the oldest park in Major League Baseball. From Fisk waving his 1975 homer fair to countless battles with the hated Yankees to the Sox finally winning a title on their home turf in 2013, Fenway's seen it all.
Team: 9—The Red Sox are expected to be one of the best teams in baseball in 2018, with a loaded rotation led by Rick Porcello and Chris Sale.
Views: 5—Fenway's charm comes with a price. Not all seats offer great views of the action, and some even force fans to crane their necks nearly 90 degrees just to face home plate.
Stadium Snacks: 6—To go with one of the ubiquitous, old-school Fenway Frank hot dogs, Sox fans can make their own salads with produce grown on Fenway's rooftop garden.
Wildcard: 10—With the Green Monster, the Triangle in center field, and just the sheer oddity of the way the park looks, this score couldn't be anything other than a 10. It all makes it one of the best baseball stadiums there'll ever be.
2. Wrigley Field | Chicago Cubs
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History: 10—You can smell the nostalgia inside Wrigley's vine-covered walls. Or is that the unmistakable scent of Old Style and hot dogs? Either way, this iconic cathedral of baseball has been hosting games for more than 100 years. Doesn't get much more historic than that.
Team: 10—The 2016 world champion Cubs (still sounds weird, doesn't it?) trot out one of the most stacked lineups in the bigs this year. It features sluggers Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, flashy shortstop Addison Russell, and star pitchers Jon Lester and Yu Darvish.
Views: 6—Mezzanines can have their sightlines impeded by the upper deck, and random seats are blocked by pillars. Wrigley does get a bonus point for the famous rooftop seats across the street.
Stadium Snacks: 8—Joining the Chicago staples of Italian beef and deep-dish pizza for 2018 are some needed new options, such as pork bao buns and sugar-coated bacon bites from Pork & Mindy's restaurant, a local favorite.
Wildcard: 9—From the neighborhood atmosphere, to the old-school marquee and scoreboard, to the celebrity-conducted 7th-inning stretch, there's nothing quite like a game at Wrigley.
1. AT&T Park | San Francisco Giants
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History: 7—The park opened in 2000, so you won't get the rich history of Wrigley or Fenway. All-time MLB home-run leader Barry Bonds did send the record-breaking shot into the park's center-field stands back in 2007, though.
Team: 7—The Giants are routinely competitive or outstanding and have won three championships in the past eight years. While the team is projected to be a little down this year, fan favorites Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner are still on the team and well worth seeing live.
Views: 10—The best MLB stadiums need a perfect view, and AT&T Park delivers. No matter where you sit, you'll get a pristine view of the diamond, panoramas of the San Francisco Bay and the Bay Bridge, or both. That's tough to top.
Stadium Snacks: 10—Fans in San Fran are treated to seemingly endless food options that go far beyond the basics of hot dogs and peanuts. Dungeness-crab sourdough sandwiches, Caribbean-inspired burrito bowls, and Sicilian deep-dish pizza are just a few options.
Wildcard: 10—Behind the left-field bleachers, fans can check out the world's largest baseball glove and slide down a giant Coke bottle. You don't even need to be in the park to experience game action: kayakers frequently make highlights by snagging home-run balls hit into the waters of McCovey Cove just past the right-field fence.
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