New Blog: Welcome to Ballpark Ratings 2.0!

Welcome to Ballpark Ratings’ new website and blog!  Finally

This site was launched years ago as a fun little exercise in ranking and “rating” MLB ballparks.  Given my exposure baseball and travel at a young age, I found (and find) it an intriguing project after seeing all 30 MLB parks on many occasions. 

But certainly felt stuck in Web 1.0 for too long, without a centralized platform to create a rapid stream of more pithy content, to say nothing of a lack of big social media presence beyond Facebook.  We basically had static pages of long-form ballpark reviews rating the parks, with occasional feature articles and posts. 

This long overdue redesign should allow me to post more interesting and frequent content.  I won’t drone on too much about me or the website in detail and why I bother doing this in this space, but I like to highlight is that this is a passion project, not a business.  I simply love ballparks and see this as a vehicle to voice my opinions and share my photos.  No sponsored content.  No affiliate links.  No crowdfunding solicitation.  Etc., Etc.  Every topic posted reflects my genuine interest in it.   

Here’s a guide of what’s new and what’s to come on

Weekly New Content in Blog Posts. 

I understand it’s ironic that I’m now finally doing this, about 10 years too late, as popular content has moved to streaming social media platforms, but being a Youtuber or Tiktoker or whatever just isn’t my style.  Plus, this website has always been pretty ultra-niche, not geared toward a popular audience, but more for the hardcore ballpark chaser or industry official. 

New weekly blog posts will be the lifeblood of the site.

First off, given that I traditionally revisit 10-12 MLB ballparks every year, a “ballpark revisits” series will allow me to review new experiences in a more stream-of-consciousness matter, versus one-time long-form in-depth reviews. 

I’ll also cover anything and everything that’s related to ballparks.  Think stadium news, architectural reviews, seating guides, food guides, travel guides, favorite/least favorite parts of a certain ballpark, ballpark history, ballpark memorabilia, ballpark tours, and other creative topics. 

Wrigley Field felt like heaven on earth this Memorial Day. (Cole Shoemaker/Ballpark Ratings)

Here’s a flavor of the types of posts you’ll see in the coming days/weeks/months:

  • Ballpark Revisit: Miami’s loanDepot Park During the World Baseball Classic. 
    • More in-depth “ballpark revisits” documenting repeat experiences at Busch Stadium (St. Louis), Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia), Camden Yards (Baltimore), Oracle Park (San Francisco), Chase Field (Arizona), American Family Field (Milwaukee), Wrigley Field, Guaranteed Rate Field (Chicago), and more I plan to see during the rest of the 2023
  • Why You Shouldn’t Miss Ballpark Tours as a Ballpark Chaser
  • The Best Seats in Baseball?  A Review of Wrigley Field’s 1914 Club.  (You’ll see plenty of reviews of specific MLB ballpark seating areas)
  • Which MLB Venues Qualify as “Bucket List” Ballparks?
  • Ballparks Celebrating History: My Favorite Historical Exhibits at MLB Venues
  • Ranking MLB’s Retractable Roof Ballparks (I’ll have coincidentally hit them all in a 12-month span, so it seems like an appropriate topic)
  • Also think fun niche topics you’d discuss on Twitter or Reddit, like, say, Ranking Ballpark Batter’s Eyes
  • I’ll also do plenty of practical guides, like for example, A Guide to the Best Food at Oracle Park or seating guides for a particular park, but that may be more suitable for the beginning of a season  
  • Travels guides for ballpark chasers!
  • Ranking All MLB Ballparks by Neighborhood is another good one I’ve had in the works for some time.
  • Reviews of all these ballpark-themed hotels adjacent to the park will be fun.  Think the Zachary Hotel (named after the original architect) overlooking Wrigley Field, where I stayed this Memorial Day weekend.

That only scratches the surface. Also, I’ll be seeing Seattle’s T-Mobile Park on June 30-July 2 for the first time since 2011, and with the All-Star Game there on July 11, you’ll see a ton of T-Mobile Park content in early July (timing of visit intentional here!)

This website can be…a lot….but if you love baseball and ballparks, I promise you’ll find some new content that interests you throughout the 2023 baseball season. 

In-Depth Reviews with Comprehensive Ratings.

The meat and potatoes of the site, the in-depth reviews and ratings, have been redesigned.

Exhaustive long-form MLB stadium reviews go through the ballpark’s (1) setting, (2) architecture and aesthetics, (3) functionality and essentials, (4) amenities and features, and (5) vibe, atmosphere, and policies. 

Given that I wrote many of these long-form reviews years ago, it’s honestly been daunting updating much of this 10,000+ word written content, as these are and were intended to be the “living pages” of the site.  Updating the written content of the long-form reviews is a work in progress, and many are frankly outdated as of today.  

I’ll use one that is up-to-date as an example: Coors Field, the splendid home of the Colorado Rockies. 

Check out my updated in-depth review of Colorado’s Coors Field! (Cole Shoemaker/Ballpark Ratings)

These landing pages should now be more user-friendly, with a mini-galleries of photos at the top and the “ratings scorecard” to the right on a desktop. 

As if it were possible for me to nerd out even more, I fined-tuned my MLB ballpark ratings system when I was bored during the pandemic in 2020.  The ratings on each ballpark page are up-to-date for 2023.

That’s followed by the long-form review, but with a sidebar to the right (or leading on the top on mobile devises).  This basically outlines my take on the park in a nutshell, starting with a short Summary of the piece.  Then, the sidebar goes into the park’s “Defining Features,” “Biggest Hit,” “Biggest Miss,” “Other Hits,” “Best Ofs,” “Pro Tips,” “Bet You Didn’t Know,” and “Future Outlook.”

Finally, if you want the Reddit-style TL;DR summary, you can get it in various bits in these sidebars.

Massive Photo Galleries

I know the idea of a website “photo gallery” is a bit passe in 2023, but I still think it’s cool to be able to find images of every part of a stadium all in one place! 

Located within the ballpark review pages, here is the photo gallery of Milwaukee’s American Family Field (Miller Park!), where I was a few weeks ago. 

Think many hundreds of photos of everything.  Not only shots of the interior seating bowl from all sections, but pictures of the neighborhood, exterior, concourses, concessions, food, clubs, suites, historical memorabilia, statues, etc., all things that are somehow not too easy to find even online in 2023.   

Even I don’t do this on every revisit.  Roughly every 5 years or so.  Again, something that probably doesn’t have a lot of popular appeal, but I think it will hold significant historical value 50 years from now for the future ballpark nerds (can you imagine such an extensive repository of an Ebbets Field today?).

We’ve had some technical issues with some new photo galleries getting spontaneously deleted, but they will be re-added for each park in the coming weeks. 

What’s On Tap for the 2023 Season?

I saw loanDepot Park (Miami Marlins) for the sensational 2023 WBC quarter/semifinals and final.  I revisited Chase Field (Arizona Diamondbacks) in early April.  For Memorial Day weekend, I hit Milwaukee and Chicago (3 games at Wrigley and 1 at the White Sox park, with a double header on Memorial Day)

I’ll see 3 games each in Seattle and San Diego for the period around the Fourth of July, and hit New York (Mets), Anaheim, Oakland, Arlington, and Tampa throughout the rest of this year, and probably some others.  

Shot of the 2023 World Baseball Classic Championship Game ending with Shohei Ohtani (Japan) striking out Mike Trout (U.S.A) in a duel between team captains, considered internationally as one of the greatest moments in the history of the sport. Storybook. (Cole Shoemaker/Ballpark Ratings)

Obligatory Social Media Plug

I’m not big on this, but if you have anything to say, it’s impossible to do so without going through social media.  I’m loath to create a Twitter account, but will in early July.  Ditto with Instagram.

For now, like us on our existing Facebook page.

Anyway, if you are fascinated by all aspects of stadium design – the architecture, the connection to the city, the sightlines, the food, other nerdy logistics, etc. – you’ll love this site!  I hope you’ll enjoy it with me for years to come.