Baseball is one of the United State’s most beloved sports since it’s American as hot dogs and apple pie. Abner Doubleday’s game has crossed over multiple generations since its creation in Cooperstown, N.Y., in 1839. Along with the game itself, there are also several historic baseball stadiums that are just as cherished by fans as their favorite teams and players. However, just as aging veteran players give way to young rookies, the advancing age and issues with older ballparks are leading some of them being put out to pasture as viable MLB stadiums. The interesting thing about baseball stadiums is that each one has its own personality and design. In this light, here are five mostly newer parks with the most unique features found inside the league.
Old factory inclusion
- Petco Park, San Diego Padres
Our first selection, purely from an architectural standpoint is a real winner for the San Diego Padres — Petco Park which opened in 2004. Rather than raze the historic Western Metal Supply Company branch built in 1909, designers decided to include the structure as a part of the whole concept of the ballpark. One of the architects, Joe Spear, opened up to Sports Illustrated about the construction and design of the stadium:
“We built from the corner of that building. We worked backwards. The tip of home plate created that ‘X’ dimension, and the field and grandstand went around that.”
Wrigley Field may have the rooftop bleachers across the street, but Petco Park is unique among MLB stadiums for including an existing building in its design.
A tie between two waterfront locations
- Oracle Park, San Francisco
- PNC Park, Pittsburgh
Literally known as the City by the Bay, San Francisco’s Oracle Park is a real stunner with its award-winning waterfront location in Northern California.
Meanwhile, out east, Pirates fans soak up the shoreline just a few feet beyond the right-field stands at PNC Park, which is one of the best places to see a game. The Allegheny River flows just beyond the outfield, which means the mightiest home runs land with a splash in the water outside.
Water, water everywhere
- Kaufman Stadium, Kansas City
Speaking of the wet stuff, the fountains at the Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium are certainly a sight to see. These water features bring a certain air of distinction and beauty to this ballpark.
Kaufman long ago ditched the Astroturf playing surface, but the stadium’s giant fountain and waterfall that serves as a backdrop for two pools just beyond the outfield fence remain. The water feature is unique among MLB stadiums. Since K.C. is known as the “City of Fountains,” this was a wise choice for the designers of this feature.
The mile-high view
- Coors Field, Denver
Another popular domestic beer-maker along with MLB’s Rockies hold the distinction of being members of a mile-high club calling Denver home base. For both of these popular brands, they’re closely associated with this mile-high city. Technically the suds coming from Coors actually originate in nearby Golden, Colorado, but for baseball fans, they enjoy this type of signature, refreshing, ice-cold adult beverage at a field named after the brew.
As far as unique features go, Coors Field has one that no MLB stadiums can claim. Spectators in the upper deck can take in a game from one mile high. A row of purple seats that sit exactly 5,280 feet above sea level rings the stadium, giving new meaning to the term high-flying fun.
A different type of slide in Milwaukee
- Miller Park, Milwaukee
While sliding into a base is commonplace in MLB, in Milwaukee the Brewers play on a field with a different type of feature. For fans at home in Milwaukee, what’s better than attending a game in a stadium sponsored by a big beer brand to see a team called the Brewers play ball? Taking a ride down an enormous slide before a select number of home games held at the Miller Park.
Honorable and historical mentions
Even though Fenway Park and Wrigley Field are among the oldest stadiums in the league, they still have attributes that are unavailable at other ballparks. For example, at Fenway, there’s Green Monster seating available with better odds of catching a home run.
As we mentioned Fans in Chicago can watch all the action happening within the ivy-covered walls of Wrigley Field unfolding from a unique rooftop angle across the street.