30 Parks in 30 years: The Baseball Parks (Part I)

For my husbands 30th birthday we started a experience, 30 different sports arenas in his next 30 years.

The rules were, he had to go to 30 different baseball/sports parks in the next 30 years but he had to go with me. He would start at 0 so all the parks he went to as a kid did not count.

This has been such a fun thing for us over the last three years and has changed how we vacation, taking opportunities to visit the local parks.

Here is a list of the baseball parks we have attended.

Globe Life Park *****

Arlington, Texas

Home of the Texas Rangers

Yes, I’m totally biased, but this is my favorite baseball park we have been to. Its a gorgeous ballpark that looks new (built in 1994) with throwbacks to the classic parks. There is plenty of brick and classic arches. It really is a gorgeous outdoor park.

The food at Globe Life is also impressive, whether it’s Dollar Dog night are the Boom Stick (a behemoth of a hot dog that there is video somewhere of my husband eating Joey Chestnut style). But they also have great BBQ and good steak options. Globe Life has had some of the best food we have encountered.

The price at the Rangers stadium is also regularly reasonable. Of course there are great seats, but there are affordable seats for families. They also allow one to bring their own food to keep price low for families.

Its a tragedy, but this is the last year the Rangers are playing at Globe Life Park. They are building an indoor stadium just across the street. I can’t stand indoor baseball stadiums and am sad my home team is going there.

Minute Maid Park ***1/2

Houston, Texas

Home of the Houston Astros

Minute Maid is a downtown, indoor baseball park (built in 2000). It has all the perks and drawbacks of those type of arenas. Being downtown there is of course an active night life that surrounds the area, but it makes parking and finding the stadium a nuisance.

We tried very little of the food at Astro’s home park, but even from up high we had great views of the field. It really is built to give all seats a good look at the game. But I do not like indoor baseball parks. It give the whole game a different feel and a different sound. It sounds like a basketball or football game. It doesn’t have the sounds of baseball. And I am not a fan.

They have a train in the left field that honks and moves with each home run by the Astros. I did not find the stadium architecturally memorable but the views of the field great.

SunTrust Field ****

Atlanta, Georgia

Home of the Atlanta Braves

The Braves home stadium reminded my a lot of the Globe Life Park. Though it is in Atlanta proper it is not in the downtown area. It is about halfway between Atlanta’s downtown and Marietta one of the biggest suburbs. It is a brand new stadium having been completed in 2017.

The food here was fantastic though pricey. This is a very modern looking field with little throwback to the great history of the Braves. It is clean with lots of shade to be found in the seats.

The Braves has one of the best fans traditions in sports with their hatchet chop which is addictive and everyone in our family got in on it.

Angel Stadium ***

Anaheim, California

Home of the Los Angeles Angels

Being a Dodgers fan, there is some ingrained prejudice with anything to do with the Angels. This is then compounded by my Rangers fanhood as well, the Angels are not my favorite franchise. But I will try my best to judge this fairly.

Built in 1998, Angel Stadium has a much older feel to it than its 21 years. It’s far from any down towns, with much more of the Ranger’s in Arlington feel than the Braves. The best part of Angel Stadium was getting to watch Mike Trout. He had multiple home runs and some amazing defensive plays, this made the whole trip worth it to watch him be great.

In center field is their iconic water fountain. Being actually being there, this fountain was less interesting than the broadcasts of the Angels build it up.

The food was very disappointing. But parking and leaving was a breeze with lots of tailgating outside the event.

Being in Southern California the need for shade or weather adjusters just isn’t needed like most of our other southern parks need. The night we were there they had a firework show. It was the greatest firework show I had ever seen. The music was greatly timed with the fireworks with multiple songs with “Angels” as its theme. The firework show was very impressive.

Chase Field *****

Phoenix, Arizona

Home of the Arizona Diamondbacks

[This technically doesn’t count for our 30 parks in 30 years since my husband did not go to it with us. But since I’m sure as a reader you care little about that I will review it anyway.]

This was a great baseball park! Built in 1998 it feels as new as SunTrust Park. It is right downtown with all the perks of a downtown life but with much easier parking options than Minute Maid Park.

This is an indoor park but done right. We were there for a night game so the retractable roof was open and the windows were open. It may have technically been an indoor arena but it felt like an outdoor stadium. This is the best indoor baseball park I’ve been too, because it didn’t feel or sound like you were indoor. Though the air conditioning still hit you.

We had seats way up in the rafters, but were able to see the game and did not feel way out of the way.

They had a free kids playground in the left field where, and this is key, parents could watch the game while their kids played on a baseball themed jungle gym. It was perfect for families and restless little kids.

Another really awesome part of Chase Field was the organist. First, they still have an actual organist that plays and it’s not all sound simulated. He sits just outside the play area and you can sit and watch him play the “charge” and all the classic sounds of baseball. He will chat with you during down times and it was such a great homage to old time baseball.

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