Boiled Sports Best Sports Venues (# 10-6)

We enter the top-10...But before we do so, here are some more extremely notable venues that didn't make our list, in spite of being visited:

-The Big House @ University of Michigan. Why? The seats have been re-painted too many times so you don't have a comfortable place to watch...and if you stand up, old guys behind you get peeved. Furthermore, the angle of the seating isn't steep enough, so it's easy to get blocked out. This venue is a classic reminder that less is often more.

-Yankee Stadium. Why? J gave it a high score because of atmosphere and gut feeling...afterall, it is his favorite team's park. But, Tim scored it a lowly 24...and because of the composite score, it didn't make the final 20.

-Ohio Stadium. Why? The atmosphere is pretty great because the fans are definitely there to watch a game. It's loud, hostile and intimidating for the opposing team (and no picnic for guys wearing the opposing team's colors either), but, despite it's large size it simply isn't that grand of a venue and the creature comforts weren't noteworthy. Keep in mind, I visited prior to its renovation about ten years ago.

-Fenway Park. Why? I gave it high marks because I liked the atmosphere and leg room has never been a problem for me...J gave it a fair score, but Tim's feelings about this old venue were similar to those of Yankee Stadium, except worse. Thus, its composite score left it out of the running.

This venue ushered in a new era of ballpark and stadium architecture, and in 1992 set a new standard for what a ballpark is supposed to be. It combined the classic baseball feel along with an existing structure to create a great place to take in a game for nearly 49,000 patrons. It's in the heart of its host city and is very close to things to do and places to eat. The sightlines are good from about everywhere...I know as I had some cheap seats and could still see the game well. The concessions were also noteworthy as they had a wide selection of items and even some things edging toward gourmet without crossing the line. Baltimore's Oriole Park at Camden Yards is the first entry to our top-10 simply because, even without having any emotional connection to the park and the product on the field being pretty lousy, it's still tough not to love this venue.

The next venue is the home to both an AHL team as well as an NBA enters our countdown as an NBA facility. It's the only venue in our list that had predecessor also make our top-20. Billy Joel opened up the facility with a concert back in 1994...and as a bunch of 30-somethings and 40-somethings rocked their asses off to Uptown Girl, Cavs fans were chomping at the bit to watch their favorite team in what later became known as "The Q". Quicken Loans Arena, or Gund Arena as it was originally called, seats over 20,000 fans and has nearly 100 luxury boxes. It was paid off with the so-called sin-tax and was one of the lynch pins, along with Jacobs Field, that was built in an effort to revitalize the south of Cleveland. The effort succeeded. The effort succeeded as Gund Arena has hosted a slew of high-level events in its brief 14 years in existance. Building amenities, overall comfort and sightlines all boosted its score to get into our top-10.

A surprise, to me after collecting and assessing all of the scores was this next entrant on the countdown. Its the home arena of one of BS' recently transplanted writers and was simply a solid-scoring venue from sightlines to location to amenities to gut feeling. This 18,000-plus seat arena was opened in 2003. Since then, its received accolades from a lot of groups from the NBA to Pollster's Magazine to even the Harlem Globetrotters. It's acoustics are excellent for concerts, its sightlines are great for sporting events and its architecture is noteworthy in the fact that it actually is a good-looking basketball arena from the outside. What the Toyota Center lacks in history, it makes up in overall event watching delicious satisfaction.
The next venue is the only one of its kind in our top-20. It's by far the largest venue in our top-20 and is also the oldest. At its inception, its surface was dirt, then it was replaced with brick and is now paved with the exception of a three-foot strip of bricks that still remain. Unlike every other venue in our countdown, it's impossible to see the entire sporting event from your seat at this storied, old speedway. The largest crowd for a race is rumored to be right around 500,000 spectators, but there is no way to know exactly how many people are actually in the infield in what was once known as the Snakepit. Currently, there are 287,000 permanent seats and over 100,000 general admission and lawn tickets are typically sold for the Indy 500 each year. It's location is pretty poor in that it's not located near too much that's positively noteworthy, but the gargantuant facility is constantly being updated and modernized in order to keep up with the multiple types of racing that take place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Its history, size and spectacle of the events it hosts put it into our top-10.

The final entrant before we head into our top-10 is another Indianapolis gem. Much like the aforementioned Camden Yards, its retro-feel helps set it apart in the world of sports venues. It first opened in 1999 and right away was noteworthy around the NBA because it simply doesn't look like any other venue in the league. Its architecture is clearly not modeled at all after modern arenas, but instead has the look of an old fieldhouse from the early 1900s. This theme continues inside as even the advertisements on the wall and the museum in the concourses refer to an age of short shorts and vulcanized basketball shoes, but it's capacity of over 18,000 is definitely modern. Its name, Conseco Fieldhouse also references the way it pays homage to old basketball venues. The sightlines in the arena are good but it's arrangement is extremely steep...In fact, I feel like I'm going to tumble to the court each time I have tickets in the upper level. Its amenities, proximity to entertainment and restaurants, feel, and architecture all helped earn it high marks on our countdown.

History should judge him well.

Boiled Sports Best Sports Venues (# 15-11)