What Makes a Great Baseball Park

by : Maddie Morgan

It's major league baseball season again! And whether we are baseball fans or not, experiencing the thrill of a live baseball game, coupled with the architecture of a particular stadium, you are bound to be in for a great time.

So just what makes a great baseball park? I would argue that it would be the trend of modern culture and technology, coupled with the atmosphere of early 20th century baseball parks. One needs to look no further than Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which opened in 1992, and is the home of the Baltimore Orioles. This stadium is unique in that it blends right into the downtown culture of Baltimore, while still similar in design to many traditional baseball stadiums of the early 1900s. For example, Oriole Park at Camden Yards gets the modern feel of stadiums with its sunroof over the upper deck, arched brick faade, and steel trusses. But to keep with such great early 20th Century stadiums as Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, and Yankee Stadium, Oriole Park uses natural grass turf and an asymmetrical playing field.

Coors Field, opened in 1995, and home of the Colorado Rockies is also unique in blending modern and traditional baseball parks. It was made with hand-made brick and is asymmetrical. Should snow hit the field, an underground heating system melts the snow. Five inches of water can be drained per hour from the natural grass.

Ballpark at Arlington, opened in 1994, and home of the Texas Rangers, also uses a mix of state-of-the-art architecture with its brick and granite faade, asymmetrical playing field, and even a home-run porch in right field. The playing field is also natural grass with the outfield dimensions asymmetrical. Fans in the lower seats feel like they are part of the action, as the proximity of the fans to the playing field is one of closet of all baseball parks.

Location and view is also critical for baseball parks. Dodgers stadium, home of the Los Angeles Dodgers, offers an awe-inspiring view of downtown Los Angeles to the south, hills to the north and east, not to mention the San Gabriel Mountains as well. Likewise, seating at Safeco Stadium, home of the Seattle Mariners, provides fans with a magnificent view of downtown Seattle.