Major League Baseball’s 30 ballparks each have something to write home about. As a frequent viewer of the game of baseball and someone who has seen more than their share of ballparks in their time, it is time to examine the worst ballparks in the Major Leagues. The criteria for them being the worst can depend on fan experience, stadium’s lack of safety and even a lack of providing a unique ballpark experience.
What really inspired this article was that in 2018 while on a trip to Alaska I was luckily enough to catch a Seattle Mariners-Toronto Blue Jays Game. Seattle was a city where there is more than just what meets the eye. Most notably, I enjoyed their summer temperatures which where in the mid-50s. Seattle’s Ballpark experience was awesome. With my father we sat in left field and watched as the Mariners got slaughtered by the visiting Blue Jays. With the ballpark experience though I can honestly say that it was probably the coolest baseball experience that I have had in my life. As 1st time visitors to what is now referred to as Safeco Field at T-Mobile Park we were rewarded with several gifts including a bobblehead of Ken Griffey Jr., an additional field pass and other amenities that made the experience all the worth while. While this was a once in a lifetime experience it is not the only one that I could discuss for ages. While attending an Atlanta Braves-Cincinnati Reds Game in 2017, we were lucky enough to see Hank Aaron (RIP). Not to brag but seeing every park is and should be a unique experience, however some parks just do not do justice to this and here are 5 in-particular that do not.
5. Globe Life Park- Texas Rangers
Arlington, Texas has loads of amenities to offer. Especially since, it is home to two of America’s most famous sports franchises in the Texas Rangers and Dallas Cowboys. However, through media, Arlington’s heroic ballpark which was home to future Hall of Famer’s like Alex Rodriguez, Adrian Beltre, Mark Teixeira and more, has not had the best acclaim. For one, the ballpark is one of the older ballparks, but it is not as old as you might think. It was used starting in 1994. The biggest critiques with the stadium are that it has many blind spots while watching a game. It does not help that the Rangers play in a very rough climate in the summer months which is when baseball is played. Rangers’ games have definitely hit over 100 degrees during playing time and the stadium does not have a retractable roof of any kind.
Furthermore, the stadium’s location does not help either. Not because it is so close to AT&T Stadium but because behind center field there is an office building directly in the line of fire. This combined with the fact that the Rangers have some of the most pricey tickets in the game. A study in 2020 found that on average two tickets cost $51.20.plus parking and other amenities included cost around $95 for a single game. Imagine an entire season of Rangers baseball at those prices.
There are still some bright spots to Globe Life Park as well. Its design allows for center field to have an area called Greene’s Hill It was named after former Arlington mayor Richard Greene in November 1997. Supposedly, the greenery allows batters to see the ball better when attempting to go yard. Also, Globe Life can be used as a multi-purpose facility. Currently, when baseball is not being played the XFL’s Dallas Renegades use the field. These facts do not replace the stadium though as being one of the worst to watch baseball in.
4. Guaranteed Rate Field- Chicago White Sox
Formerly referred to as Comisky Park, due to the club’s owner during the early 1900s. Guaranteed Rate Field has it seems one major problem with it. Attendance is falling and has been for some time. Located in the Chicago’s South Side and its competition with the North Side’s Chicago Cubs do not do this ballpark any favors. What makes any ballpark enjoyable is a large crowd and the White Sox not being in competition for a pennant may have something to do with this. However, in the last 3 seasons and with a stacked roster in 2021, the White Sox competitive edge should not be a reason for falling attendance.
Surprisingly, for being in such a large city like Chicago, Guaranteed Rate Field is one of the largest facilities in the game. When looking at why this stadium is so “poor” the biggest thing attendees complained about was the lack of parking around the stadium. It lives in the shadow of baseball’s most historic franchise as well which makes it seem like Chicago is a Cubs town once and for all. Other complaints stated that the stadium is very “generic” and seems more like a “prison than a ballpark.” This seems like an exaggeration however these bad experiences could add up to more than just a generic feeling or lack of parking.
On the bright side for Guaranteed Rate Field their food and beverage services was given the highest marks in the league. Also, the White Sox have added what they are calling The Goose Island which is named after a local Chicago Brewery. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 this addition has yet to be used but presents a more modern fan experience than some baseball parks. Good things are in store for the White Sox on the field but hopefully they can fix these issues that fans and visitors alike wrote about.
3. Marlins Park- Miami Marlins
Florida, you would think, would be a baseball haven. Always good weather and it has one of the largest backyards for talent in Major League Baseball, especially Miami. With the end of 2011, the Marlins decided to change their official name from the Florida Marlins to the Miami Marlins and build a new stadium to commemorate their new name. Marlins Park, for any non-baseball fan, appears to look like an amusement park. With a pool beyond the left-center field wall and the fish tank that sits behind home-plate it seems more like the architect thought more about fans than just building a ballpark.
The stadium has had poor attendance since its construction and with the team’s sub-par performance it is understandable why this park would rank so low. The Marlins have never won a division title, they have 2 World Series titles and until they broke their streak in 2020, had not been to the playoffs since 2003, their last World Series.
On the bright side, the ballpark is very environmentally friendly and even has an on-site nightclub, and a bobblehead museum. It seems that the stadium appears to represent Miami’s culture as opposed to being just a ballpark. However, with new management of the team including Hall of Famer Derek Jeter and General Manager Kim Ng, the team is looking in a more positive direction than they previously where in the past decade.
2. Tropicana Field – Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays 2020 World Series appearance was something of hype around Tampa Bay who participated in three major sports title matchups, winning two. Unfortunately for the Rays the World Series was not one of them as they lost to the Dodgers. Like their loss in the World Series, their home turf, Tropicana Field is not much to be enamored with. Tropicana Field was built in 1990. Originally it was meant as a tool to lure the White Sox out of Chicago when they were rebuilding Comisky Park. This did not work and Tampa had nothing to do with it afterwards. Fortunately in 1993, Major League Baseball decided to add the Rays as an expansion franchise in the American League while the Colorado Rockies took their spot in the National League.
“The Trop” as it is known amongst the Tampa fan base is the only non-retractable roof stadium in Major League Baseball. Prior to moving into Minute Maid Park the Astros played in the Astro Dome which was a similar scenario. Like the Marlins, the Rays play in Florida and therefore an indoor stadium or at the very least one with a retractable roof would have been something to consider during building. However at the time, dome stadiums where a fad. Furthermore, Tropicana Field is the smallest stadium in the Majors with a capacity of 25,000 which normally is half capacity for most larger stadiums.
The Rays saving grace is some of the perks that the park offers including the ability to park for free if you are attending a game and three or more people are in your car. Also, fans have access to a tank that houses stingrays. This does not bring in the most fans though as like most teams on this list the Rays have issues with low attendance which could very well be due to the teams success. There is even discussion that the Rays may possibly be moving so Tropicana Field may not be theirs for much longer.
1. Oakland Coliseum - Oakland Athletics
Along with being one of baseball’s older stadiums dating back to 1966 when it first opened, the Coliseum has seen better days. The stadium was previously shared with the NFL franchise the Oakland Raiders for many years which made it very difficult to house both teams within the same stadium. According to rumors though with the Raiders officially moving to Las Vegas the Athletics are supposed to be set on getting a new stadium some time in the year 2023.
Holding 46,000 plus in the 1960s made for a very large ballpark but today most ballparks can hold around 40,000 anyway. Along with poor attendance on the lowest organic ranking on Google Search of any ballpark in the league the Athletics come out in dead last as the worst ball park in the game. The Athletics are one of the game’s most historic franchise’s and their current home does not make it seem so. The Athletics have not been a threat in Major League Baseball in over a decade and seem to present more negatives than positives. Even trying to come up with a positive in this section is difficult based on all of the wrongs with this ballpark. Hopefully in 2023 the Athletics will have a better ballpark and the coliseum will be buried. This does not change the fact that the Athletics need to use the Coliseum in a different manner than they have been using it to get more people to come out to it.
Sadly, Oakland beat out another ballpark for the #1 spot on this list (Rogers Centre, Toronto Blue Jays). With that being said there are much worse things that can be said about some of baseball’s most famous ballparks I am sure but for the time being lets focus on fixing the bottom 5.