Here are my lists….my favorite ballparks…and favorite hot dogs (or similar shaped meat products)…I’ll add good books and articles soon.

Favorite Ballparks

Here are my ballpark rankings based on my experiences on the 4Bases4Kids tour.  Please, click on the stadium name to see the accompanying post and let me know your thoughts through the comments section.

Historic Gems

Wrigley Field and Fenway Park are in a class of their own and can’t be ranked with the others.

Rank Stadium Comments
Not Ranked Wrigley Field - Chicago, IL There's not much that I don't like about Fenway or Wrigley. The fans, the food, and the atmosphere are all great. Yes, these parks can be uncomfortable due to their age, but visiting both is an experience every true baseball fan should have. I currently favor Wrigley over Fenway, but that could be recency bias.
Fenway Park - Boston, MA

Must See Ballparks

These are the four that you should take someone who doesn’t understand the appeal of a day at the ballpark.  All fans need to see these parks before they die.

Rank Stadium Comments
1 Oracle Park - San Francisco, CA Since my first visit to San Diego' Petco Park in May, I've felt that it was the best stadium in the land. However, I revisited Oracle in September and realized that there is nothing that matches its setting and view from the third tank. It's the best by just a tad.
2 Petco Park - San Diego, CA Petco is a beautiful ballpark in a beautiful city. It's adjacent to the historic Gaslamp District with great food choices, tons of beer with a nice nod to the city's baseball history. What's not to like?
3 PNC Park - Pittsburgh, PA PNC and Petco are about equal in my book. They are both beautiful, located downtown and pick up their neighborhood's vibe. I love PNC's sense of history with the Clemente Bridge and statues. However, it seemed that PNC's walkways couldn't handle as much traffic as Petco's and the beer selection was weaker.
4 Orioles Park at Camden Yards - Baltimore, MD I have to rank Camden Yards high for its beauty, neighborhood location, nod to history, and good food. More importantly, it set the standard for all the ballparks that followed.

I Wish I Lived Close

I’d be happy to live close to any of these ballparks so that I could visit them often.  

However, there are very few differences between the ballparks in this group.  Each was built in the last couple of decades since Orioles Park revolutionized baseball stadiums.  As such, they tend to have similar features.  They tend to be in downtown neighborhoods.  Most have brick (or stone) facades, historical references, statues of key players, many food choices, craft beer, cocktails and wine.

Rank Stadium Comments
5 Coors Field - Denver, CO I'd visited Coors a few years ago and didn't think that much of it. This time I found my way to the third deck, and saw the beautiful view of the mountains and was suitably impressed. Also new since I was there last, there is a train that runs from the airport to Union Station near the Stadium. Very helpful.
6 T-Mobile Park - Seattle, WA T-Mobile is another ballpark in nice downtown location. The Pen, Baseball Museum of The Pacific Northwest and the brewery across the street make it a wonderful place to see a game.
7 Busch Stadium - St. Louis, MO Busch is another nice downtown location that incorporates the team's great history and Baseball Village is a good add.
8 Great American Ball Park - Cincinnati, OH i was surprised by Great American Ball Park. I thought it was a little bandbox with few redeeming qualities. That is not the case. Its in a beautiful location on the river, near the Roebling Bridge. There is a good sense of history, nice statues, pretty good food and a great beer selection.
9 Comerica Park - Detroit, MI I've been to Comerica twice. Its got a nice old time feel. I especially love the tiger iconography that dominates the park. It also has the best player statuary in baseball.
10 Progressive Field - Cleveland, OH Progressive is in a downtown location, where fans can celebrate in bars and restaurants before and after games. The food and beer selection improved significantly since the last time I was there.
11 Minute Maid Park - Houston, TX I don't usually like domed stadiums, but I love Minute Maid's downtown location and its incorporation of Union Station. The park has good food and drink with a nice nod to history.
12 Citi Field - Queens, NY Not withstanding Fred Wilpon's fetish for all things Brooklyn Dodgers, Citi is a great ballpark. It has the best ballpark food that I've had, however, it needs a stronger presentation of Mets historical figures.
13 Target Field - Minneapolis, MN I like Target Field's downtown location, sight lines, hot dogs, kielbasa etc. however, it needs more craft beers. I enjoyed the 2 Gingers bar, very cool.
14 Miller Park - Milwaukee, WI I would rather see the ballpark in a neighborhood or downtown, but the atmosphere and food are fine. The statues and wall of fame are also a nice addition.
15 Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA Citizens Bank is a small, comfortable ballpark outside of the downtown area. It plays like a bit of a bandbox which is not a good thing, but you could do a lot worse.
16 Nationals Park - Washington DC Decidedly "meh" - Nationals Parks is a very steep ballpark with pretty good food and beer. They could do a better job of celebrating Washington's history, but kudos for the ease in getting to and from Reagan National Airport on the Metro.

Near Misses

Each of these has one thing or another that makes a visit less than optimal.  In some cases a remodel will make a dramatic difference.  In others, there isn’t much that can be done to improve the situation, but it’s not likely that they will be replaced soon.

Rank Stadium Comments
17 Dodgers Stadium - Los Angeles, CA I was happy to hear that a sorely needed remodel is planned for next year. Dodgers Stadium also needs a food upgrade. With that said, its a beautiful location and ballpark.
18 Kauffman Stadium - Kansas City, MO I didn't have a good day at the "K" with Nomad The Younger. Kauffman seems like a pretty ballpark in need of a remodel as Dodger Stadium will get.
19 SunTrust Park - Atlanta, GA SunTrust has many of the things I like - good food and beer selection, and appropriate historical references. It's a pretty ballpark and Boomtown is cool. However, it's hard to get to via mass transit. Most of all, there is "The Chop" - and I won't go back.
20 Yankee Stadium - Bronx, NY The "New" Yankee Stadium is cold, austere and devoid of charm. Even though it has the beautiful Great Hall that is lined with banners of Yankee greats, it seems to be missing the expected historical references. Most of these are relegated to the Monument Park which is not as assessable as the Monument Garden at Atlanta's Sun Trust Park. Of course, it should still be at the old location, but that's another story.
21 Guaranteed Rate Field - Chicago, IL Although it's easy to get to, and the food and beer are fine, Guaranteed Rate Field doesn't have much character. Moreover, is there a worse ballpark name in baseball?
22 Chase Field - Phoenix, AZ Interestingly, Chase is similar to Houston's Minute Maid Park. They are both retractable domed, downtown parks, but Minute Maid has some charm and Chase is a bit more utilitarian.
23 Marlins Park - Miami, FL Marlins Park could be nice if there was more atmosphere that reflected the location with better food and drink. Center field is now a mess without the statue and curved fence that was a focal point.
24 Rogers Centre - Toronto, ON Rogers Centre is more of an arena than a ballpark and pretty sterile. It would be great to replace it with a true ballpark that reflected the neighborhood. Something like Houston, maybe?

Need To Be Replaced

Time to start over, these for are very problematic.  They tend to have little charm or appeal. 

Rank Stadium Comments
25 Globe Life Park - Arlington, TX I'm glad they're building a new one that opens next year. Some people like Globe Life a lot, but I find it hard to understand how they built a stadium in 1994 that has obstructed views similar to those at Wrigley and Fenway.
26 Angels Stadium - Anaheim, CA Angels Stadium has been remodeled so many times that it has no character. There is talk about a new ballpark - possibly in Long Beach, which is very good idea.
27 Tropicana Field - St. Petersburg, FL "The Trop" is a very utilitarian ballpark. It's not as ugly as I imagined, but there is little appeal. I can't imagine people get excited about going there. However, they should get excited about the baseball.
28 Oakland Alameda Coliseum - Oakland, CA The Coliseum is the only multi-purpose, baseball stadium that is used for baseball and football. Its big and round so that the fans can't sit that close to the action. Its amenities are limited because of the stadium's age. The best thing it has going for it is that the fans who have made the place their home.
Oracle Park - San Francisco, CA
Petco Park - San Diego, CA
Wrigley Field - Chicago, IL
Coors Field - Denver, CO
T-Mobile Park - Seattle, WA
Chase Field - Phoenix, AZ
Kauffman Stadium - Kansas City, MO
Busch Stadium - St. Louis, MO
Globe Life Park - Arlington, TX
Dodger Stadium - Los Angeles, CA
Comerica Park - Detroit, MI
Minute Maid Field - Houston, TX
Angels Stadium - Anaheim, CA
Target Field - Minneapolis, MN
Oakland Alameda Coliseum - Oakland, CA
Yankee Stadium - Bronx, NY
Oaracle Park - San Francisco, CA
Petco Park - San Diego, CA
Wrigley Field - Chicago, IL
Coors Field - Denver, CO
Globe Life Park - Arlington, TX
Dodgers Stadium - Los Angeles, CA

The Great Hot Dog Challenge

At the start of the season, I decided to try a hot dog (or something similar) in each ballpark and see which was best, based on these criteria.  These are my rankings to date.  Note that you can click on the Hot Dog or Stadium to see the associated blog post.  

Rank Hot Dog Stadium Unique Crispy/ Char Bun Toppings Easy to Eat Comments
1 Randy Jones' Bacon Wrapped Hot Dog Randy Jones Bacon Wrapped Dog Petco Park - San Diego, CA Excellent Above Average Above Average Excellent Yes Bacon wrapped, grilled onions and they have brown mustard.
2 Bacon Wrapped With Crispy French Fried Onions and Spicy Aioli Bacon Wrapped Hot Dog Busch Stadium - St. Louis, MO Excellent Above Average Above Average Excellent Yes Bacon, aioli and french fried onions - nice.
3 IMG_2781 "Street Meat" - Sausage Connection - 12" Hot Dog Lansdowne Street - Fenway Park - Boston, MA Excellent Above Average Excellent Above Average Yes I'm going to say that the "Street Meat" from Lansdowne Street qualifies. Lansdowne Street is one of baseball's most famous streets, it's right outside of Fenway and closed off to cars on game day. The Lansdowne experience is quite unique. This dog was as good as it gets. It was nice and crispy, good char and great taste. Topped with Sauerkraut with brown mustard to boot!
4 Best Hot Dogs Schneider's 12 Inch Dog Rogers Centre - Toronto, ON Above Average Excellent Above Average Excellent Yes A good crispy dog, with a big assortment of condiments to choose from. However, in the mustard capital of the world, they need to give you more than yellow mustard.
5 IMG_0664 Monster Dog Estadio de Béisbol - Monterrey, Mexico Excellent Excellent Above Average Above Average Yes Just a big wonderful, grilled dog with interesting toppings.
6 Smoked Kielbasa w/ Smoked Gouda, Red Cabbage and Apple Mustard Smoked Kielbasa Kauffman Stadium - Kansas City, MO Excellent Above Average Above Average Excellent Yes Love the apple mustard and braised red cabbage on this smokey Kielbasa.
7 IMG_2319 Kramarczuk's Polish Sausage Target Field - Minneapolis, MN Excellent Above Average Above Average Above Average Yes So what's so unique about a polish sausage? This one has a nice char and a lot of garlic, topped with a good Sauerkraut.
8 IMG_2426 6" Vienna Dog - Chicago Style Wrigley Field - Chicago, IL Excellent Above Average Above Average Above Average Yes You can only really get a Chicago Dog in Chicago - so its very unique. My only issue is that you have to add your own toppings from the condiment bar. They should do it.
9 Sabretts ?) Sabrett's (?) - 12" Hot Dog Yankee Stadium - Bronx, NY Above Average Excellent Above Average Above Average Yes I'm not gonna lie. I'm not sure that this was from Sabrett. The details of my two games on that Saturday in the Bronx are a bit of a blur. Anyway, this is as good as the Charred Dog from Progressive Field - except bigger.
10 Charred Dog Charred Dog Progressive Field - Cleveland, OH Above Average Excellent Above Average Above Average Yes Crispy, charred dog with Bertman Original Ballpark Mustard - the finest mustard in baseball.
11 Cleveland Kraut Dog Cleveland Kraut - Classic Caraway Progressive Field - Cleveland, OH Above Average Above Average Above Average Excellent Yes Best kraut I've tried! Also, Bertman Original Ballpark Mustard - exclusive to Cleveland and the best brown mustard around.
12 IMG_1001 RWB Dog Globe Life Park - Arlington, TX Above Average Above Average Average Excellent Yes I probably could rank this one higher because its pretty, freaking unique. However, the dog is just above average with an interesting combination of toppings.
13 IMG_0306 BANH MI Nationals Park - Washington DC Above Average Average Above Average Excellent Yes Overall nice approach with the grilled bun and unique topping.
14 IMG_2766 Kayem Italian Hot Sausage Fenway Park - Boston, MA Above Average Above Average Above Average Average Yes I could have chosen the Kayem 12" Hot Dog, but since they make the "Fenway Frank" which most consider awful, i went with the sausage. Nice crispy char and a good bun. Note that they put the onions and peppers in the bun first, making it much easier to eat. However, are they still "toppings" when added that way?
15 Primo Italian Sausage Primo Italian Hot Sausage Yankee Stadium - Bronx, NY Above Average Above Average Above Average Average Yes The sausage/hot dog choices at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field are pretty much the same. So, since I tried the Primo Sweet Italian Sausage in Flushing, I tried the Hot Italian Sausage in the Bronx. I like the hot better and the onions and peppers were more manageable.
16 IMG_2080 Primo Italian Sweet Sausage Citi Field - Queens, New York Above Average Above Average Above Average Average Yes Nicely prepared, great tasting sausage, with a nice char and bun and grilled onions.
17 IMG_2099 Kosher Dog - All Beef Citi Field - Queens, New York Above Average Above Average Above Average Average Yes All beef, crispy, grilled dog with brown mustard and a knish.
18 Kosher Dog and Knish Kosher Dog - All Beef Yankee Stadium - Bronx, NY Above Average Above Average Above Average Average Yes The Kosher Dog at Yankee Stadium is as good as the one from Citi Field and brown mustard is available. This isn't a knish contest, but the one at Citi was better, so I rank it's dog higher.
19 IMG_0021 Grilled Hot Dog Oracle Park - San Francisco, CA Average Above Average Above Average Above Average Yes I bought this dog just inside the Marina Gate at Oracle Park. It was an average grilled hot dog.
20 IMG_2544 Bratwurst Miller Park - Milwaukee, WS Above Average Above Average Average Above Average Yes Above average in uniqueness because it is Wisconsin after all. Brown mustard readily available.
21 Schweigert - All Beef Schweigert's All Beef - Jumbo Dog Target Field - Minneapolis, MN Average Above Average Above Average Average Yes Nice crispy, grilled dog with and all beef taste. Grilled onions a plus, but nothing special.
22 Sugarland "Jumbo Dog" Progressive Field - Cleveland, OH Average Above Average Above Average Average Yes These are about equal to Target Field's Schweigerts All Beef - Jumbo Dog. Good basic eating.
23 IMG_2835 Kahn's Hot Dog Great American Ball Park - Cincinnati, OH Average Above Average Above Average Average Yes
24 IMG_2621 Hofmann "Coney" NBT Bank Stadium, Syracuse, NY Excellent Above Average Below Average Above Average Yes Hofmann is a manufacturer based in Syracuse. Their "Coney's" are a regional favorite. The bun at the stadium was a tad soft, but the Hofmann German Style Mustard was wonderful.
25 IMG_0107 Smoked Bratwurst Oakland - Alameda Coliseum - Oakland, CA Average Above Average Above Average Above Average No This was a very good tasting Brat with good toppings and - how did they get it - Bertman Original Ballpark Mustard which I thought was exclusive to Cleveland.
26 IMG_1097 Roma Hot Dog Orioles Park at Camden Yards - Baltimore, MD Average Above Average Above Average Average Yes Crispy Dog - Good slaw - Yellow Mustard
27 IMG_0944 Texas Big Dogs - Jumbo Globe Life Park - Arlington, TX Average Above Average Above Average Average Yes Good dog & "Sweet Baby Rays" offsets the yellow mustard.
28 The Dean Dog Dean Dog Roger Dean Stadium - Jupiter, FL Average Above Average Above Average Average Yes Good grilled dog, but you need to find the kiosk in the left and right field corners.
29 H&F Dog H&F Burger Hot Dog SunTrust Park - Atlanta, GA Average Above Average Above Average Average Yes Grilled bun is a nice touch - no toppings other than the condiments bar.
30 An American style hot dog American Style Dog London Stadium - London, UK Average Average Average Average Yes I love hard rolls - but this dog made me realize that a hot dog bun could be too hard.
31 IMG_2580 12" Vienna Dog - Chicago Style Guaranteed Rate Field - Chicago, IL Excellent Above Average Above Average Above Average It Broke Great dog, but 12" is too big. The bun broke - stick to 6".
32 IMG_0363 South Philly Dog Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA Above Average Average Average Above Average Yes Broccoli rabe is a thing in South Philly?
33 Ken Hoffman Dog Ken Hoffman Dog Minute Maid Park - Houston, TX Average Average Average Average Yes Boring dog on a plastic clam shell container.
34 "Slaw Dog" Slaw Dog Marlins Park - Miami, FL Average Below Average Average Average Yes Boring - Preassembled Nathan's Dog - Nothing Special.
35 The Iconic Dodger Dog Dodger Dog Dodger Stadium - Los Angeles, CA Average Below Average Below Average Average Yes The Dodger Dog is the most overrated thing in baseball!
36 IMG_0602 Crafty Dawg Angels Stadium - Anaheim, CA Above Average Above Average FAIL FAIL - Too Much It Broke Good dog, but under too many toppings. More of a knife and fork adventure.
37 12" Dog? First Data Field - Pt. St. Lucie, FL Average Above Average FAIL Average It Broke Good grilled dog, but the bun broke
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