It’s time to pick up your balls and head to the diamond: Baseball season is here. There’s little doubt you already have a favourite team you would travel with to the ends of the earth (also called Florida). This spring, do one better and head on a road trip to visit some of the best baseball stadiums in North America. Here are the top five:
San Francisco Giants
Maybe it’s something in the water? The Giants have recently won three World Series tiles, their last in 2014 over the Kansas City Royals. It’s easy to feel a little jealous when walking around the immaculately designed ballpark. Strain your eyes just beyond the green to McCovey Cove. You’ll often see wacky kayakers in the water with everything from mini BBQ grills to funny signs, and all of them are eager to catch an ocean-bound homerun. Word to the wise, eat a snack before the starting pitch. Unless you’re a Bay Area tycoon like Mark Zuckerberg, everything in San Francisco, including ballpark fare, has a ‘giant’ price tag.
San Diego Padres
San Diego has perfect weather, as they like to brag to ANYONE who will listen. Unsurprisingly, the beach landscape is reflected in the stadium décor. The seats are deep ocean blue, the stucco a sandy tan, and the green lawn seats aren’t half bad—and are some of the cheapest seats in the league, in fact. The food scene is also impeccable. Enjoy the sweet smoky flavours of Phil’s BBQ or get your fingers ready for a mess when you hold onto a stacked Hodad’s burger. With a fully renovated outfield roster, maybe they’ll actually win some games this year instead of relying on a pretty stadium to distract their opponents.
St. Louis Cardinals
At some stadiums, it’s easy to forget where you are after a few beers—but not at Busch Stadium. The landmark St. Louis Arch is fully visible from the stands, along with the rest of the city skyline. Whether you’re in the nosebleeds or a few rows up from first base, it’s hard to beat this stadium for the top views in the league. Of course, the bright red seats and giant maroon mascot are undeniable too. While a World Series title has eluded the St. Louis Cardinals since 2011, they’re more than willing to peck at the Giants winning streak.
Boston Red Sox
There are few who are more loyal to their team than Red Sox fans, and that loyalty spills into the stadium. Built in 1912, it’s the oldest stadium in the league and no one wants to change a thing. The nostalgia is thick as you walk around the building, with the famous green seats and old-fashioned score board. The Big Green Monster is another iconic sight—as is the heckling of anyone in a New York Yankee’s baseball hat. Wear the right colours, root for the right team, and hit up Jerry Remy’s Sport Bar and Grill afterward for a rowdy celebration with the locals. Sure, they might not have had tequila shots in 1912, but a buzzed sports fan is always a classic sight in Boston.
Toronto Blue Jays
As the only baseball stadium in Canada, Rogers Centre has a lot to live up to. When it first opened in 1989, it was the gem of the league. All those things people take for granted now, like two levels of luxury boxes, retractable roofs, and high-end attached hotels, debuted at Rogers Centre. Today, this model seems run-of-the-mill, and the stadium’s new claim to fame is having one of the best locations in the league. The bats and balls are just a few meters away from downtown Toronto. If you really want to be cheap, you can watch a game from CN Tower, but try to show the Blue Jays a little more love than that. They need it.
Between spitting out peanut shells on the ground and waving that foam finger in the air, baseball is always better in person. Back your bag and mitt and see what the best stadiums have to offer.
Which baseball stadium is your favourite?