I am going to rate the spring training stadiums I have been to. This is my personal take on them and the only criteria I am going to use is, (A) – how I felt when I was there, and (B) – if I would drive 2 hours to see a game. I will add a column to my current Games page on the website and rename the page Games & Rankings. I hope to have the page redesigned by tomorrow, I have been to 7 parks, actually 8 if I count City of Palms in Fort Myers that is not being used. Every time I go to a new park that I have not rated I will do a review and rank it, I will only do this for MLB teams at the moment. When the MLB season starts I will rank the different stadiums as I attend games at each, the main parks will be put into a different category obviously than their spring training counterpart. I hope to have the video figured out by then and have a nice edited clip with the ranking. I will try to take a lot of pictures until then and then hopefully I can start ranking other minor league or college stadiums.
The following is in the order of ranking from best to least. I have learned a great deal the last month, I know now that I have to take more, and better, pictures of the stadiums that I attend games at. You might think that is a given but at times it is overwhelming to get all things accomplished, I will get it! I am having a great time doing all of this and I know that some of you want more pictures and video of the fans, food and the atmosphere of the stadium. Sorry I don’t have a lot of pictures of the stadiums currently, but I included the Wikipedia link for each so you may read more information.
- Ed Smith Stadium http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed_Smith_Stadium When I walked
up to the stadium which was located in an residential area, it had a great presence to it. As I walked into the stadium I also had a great feeling, it had an “Art Deco” look to it and just seemed bright. I liked the colors and how it was laid out. I had seats right behind the visiting teams dugout, so that probably helped. It was a beautiful day to watch a game, and the Orioles were taking on the Minnesota Twins. There were a lot of fans in the seats for a Monday and they were excitable.
- Roger Dean Stadium http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Dean_Stadium I loved where this was located, next to a university in a residential area, with a cool “urban” shopping area next to it. I sat behind the Miami Marlins dugout when they were playing the Miami Hurricanes. The day was partly cloudy, there wasn’t a lot of people at the game but the feel and the look was great. Both the Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals play games and practice here.
- JetBlue http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JetBlue_Park I watched the Boston Red Sox take on two college teams at this place. I would rate it higher but it is just too new and out in the middle of no where, well next to the airport. It was overcast, but the crowd was big and into it. So far, the Red Sox fans were the most enthusiastic I have come across. Also the scoreboard, I was told, was the original Fenway one. I didn’t verify this but I believe what Todd and Bob tell me! I will be attending a Red Sox vs Orioles game there tomorrow night so this ranking might change.
- Charlotte Sports Complex http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlotte_Sports_Park This is a very nice place, but it is out on the edge of town. Parking was easy to get and I didn’t have to pay. The place was clean, the crowd was fun and the sun was shining, You can walk around the entire stadium; but, from the outfield looking in it didn’t have a presence to it, the booths were just “blah”. I like the main gate and getting in and out was very easy.
Hammond Stadium http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hammond_Stadium I love the walk up to this stadium from the parking lot. The distraction – cars in the walk up that took away from the view and getting into and out of the place was horrible. The stadium is in year 1 of a 2 year renovation makeover. You can now walk around the entire ball park. I was there to watch the Twins and the Red Sox. The crowd was great, and it was packed.
- Bright House http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bright_House_Field This was a very nice field but walking up to it I didn’t like. It was hard to get to and in a residential neighborhood and next to the highway. It was a beautiful day for a game, the place was packed with Phillies fans, but people didn’t seem as friendly. I sat in the outfield and when I looked back towards home plate everything seemed dark.
- Tradition Field http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tradition_Field When driving up to the stadium I thought I was going to love it. It was located next to a large Shopping Mall, in a fairly new industrial area that was very clean and spacious. The stadium had a big presence. However, when I went inside and to the outfield and looked in, it felt very cold. There wasn’t a lot of fans at the game. It was a bit overcast day, the overhang was concrete which I am sure that had a lot to do with the cold feeling. The stadium seating was “Mets” blue and overwhelming with the small crowd. The Mets were playing the Miami Marlins. This is the only place I won’t drive 2 hours to see a game at if I wasn’t a fan of either team… Sorry Mets fans this place needs work!
Remember these are only my rankings, I am sure that others feel differently. The above descriptions are just my initial reactions and I will reserve the right to change them as I attend other games at each place. To see the rankings on the Website go to www.baseballbuddha.com and click on Games on the top of the main page, soon it should read Games & Rankings, then scroll to the bottom under all the games. I will get it better organized in the future!
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