Onto Stanza Deuce...
In 2001, this park opened and honestly, about anything would have been an improvement to its predecessor. That said, the park is a good one when compared to about anything. In a trend seen in the last decade, the host city decided to exchange an old multi-purpose facility for two new venues with lots of bells and whistles. This one, of the baseball variety, boasts of a great view of the city along with a re-painted bridge that looks like a movie set from certain angles. With water just beyond the wall in right field, but not as close as McCovey's Cove in San Francisco, the 443 foot shot became a focus of local media following PNC Park's opening. The first "Allegheny Splash" was smacked by Darryl Ward during the 2006 All-Star Game's Home Run Derby and others have done so as well since. Building amenities, great sightlines and overall comfort got PNC into our top-15.
The next entry in the contest is the second-oldest park in the majors. This park gets very high marks for its location since its close to restaurants and things to do. It also has a pretty special feeling despite the fact that it has some of the inherent problems found in venues from the early 1900s. It opened back in 1914 and had a lofty price tag of $250,000 when it was built. It'll hold just over 41,000 fans...and most games every seat, including the bleachers are full (with a bunch of bandwagoners and fair weather fans), even during afternoon contests. This year, Wrigley Field is especially energetic as the Cubs are playing good baseball and have the league's best record. Oh yeah, don't forget to get a Chicago-style dog if you're in Wrigley, but as for me, I'll pass on the ice-cold Budweiser or Old Style...call me a beer snob, I don't care.
I think if you stop by BS often, you know that we're pretty fair and call it as we see it. Sure, we love our Boilers, but we try not to be homers. For that reason, it may not be surprising that this venue checks in outside of the top-10. Granted, all three of us love coming back to our alma mater to take in a game at this beloved and recently-renovated stadium, but Ross Ade Stadium has plenty of cons to go along with the good feelings that we have about it. The new concourses and improvements to the press box and luxury seats made the stadium respectable, because the old Ross Ade wouldn't have come close to making our countdown. That said, I've been going to football games in West Lafayette since Young prowled the sidelines...and my two cohorts have been doing the same since Coletto was the man in charge. Classic victories of the Brees era along with upsets over various Notre Dame teams and even a Michigan team during our four years on campus definitely don't hurt the rating of Ross Ade...But the South end zone seats and a bevy of horrible losses in our collective consciousness kept the scoring relatively low.
Another college football stadium is up next on our countdown. This is currently the largest in America that often gets overshadowed by some of its in-conference counterparts. Over 107,000 can be seated in this venue...and unlike UM's stadium, each will actually get a seat. Originally opened in 1961 after literally moving the old facility from their old field across campus, Beaver Stadium was a 46,000 fan stadium. Unlike a couple of the larger venues we've visited, BS actually impressed the staff of BS with its decided homefield advantage as well as the setting. Not many college stadiums are nestled into the mountains...That's part of the reason Penn State's football stadium lands at number 12.
Rounding out today's segment is another shiny, new park in the Northeast. Just as its counterpart in Pittsburgh had previously done, this ballpark replaced a decidedly-worse venue and has been a draw itself. With a capacity of nearly 44,000 and a ton of creature comforts, this park that was completed in 2004 was designed very well for watching a baseball game. The sightlines, atmosphere and comfortable feeling earned it high marks, but not quite high enough to get it into our top-10. Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies checks in at number 11.
(This is a part of the Boiled Sports Best Venues Series...The fact that three of the five in this group were in Pennsylvania is merely coincidental)
Onto Stanza Deuce...