Going to see a baseball game in person is part of the experience of being a fan. With a new season coming soon, we recently took a close look at all 30 major league ballparks (my archive here) to see what’s worth checking out once they open for business. This raises the question: Which major league teams offer the best overall fan experiences? No ballpark offers a truly bad experience – after all, this is baseball we’re talking about and any time you can visit a ballpark is a good time – but some do have a more complete package than others.
The criteria here are:
- The ballpark itself (so bye-bye Oakland A’s and Tampa Bay Rays).
- The environment around the park (hasta la vista for now New York Mets and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim).
- Attention to a team’s history: the team, its memorable moments, and/or its past stars (sorry Washington Nationals and all four newest teams).
- Local touches (farewell Oakland A’s … again).
- Atmosphere. This one is difficult to quantify. The Pirates, Mets and Royals struggled for years until recently and it often gave fans an air of hopelessness. Those attitudes have changed and it has drastically improved the atmosphere and fans’ attitudes at those parks. It’s hard to measure but it does factor in to one’s fan experience.
With the qualifier, again, that no baseball experience is awful and every ballgame is a good time, here are our Top 11 Fan Experiences, in reverse order. Why eleven? Because it’s damn near impossible to whittle this list down to ten. Everyone has his or her own list. Your mileage can and will vary.