With Major League Baseball’s postseason divisional series match ups underway, there is no better time to rank this year’s title contenders. This is no ordinary set of rankings, however. This rank embodies not only the best teams but also the unsung heroes of the MLB season—the venues where thousands of bodies gather to perspire angrily in the summer sun—where beers, hot dogs, and peanuts are aplenty, their trash byproducts strewn about the stadium floors after the final out is made. This one is for the real MVPs—the major league stadiums, and their energetic, butter-dowsed, overpriced glory.
Story by Jay Desai
Illustrations by Sonia Margolin
8. Rogers Centre (Toronto Blue Jays)
2015 Win-Loss: 93-69
Unless you happen to attend a Blue Jays game while it’s raining, chances are you won’t be too impressed with the Rogers Centre. Toronto is home to the league’s only retractable roof stadium, which means rain or shine, there will be Blue Jays baseball. As we head into October, the retractable roof in the Rogers Centre will play more of a significant role as the temperature tends to get quite low during fall in Toronto. Much of that heat might go to waste, however, as the Blue Jays were only able to fill two- thirds of their stadium during the regular season. Fans don’t seem very eager to attend games despite the team’s success. Investing in some better stadium attractions could increase attendance.
7. Global Life Park in Arlington (Texas Rangers)
2015 Win-Loss: 88-74
If you’re looking for that perfect, free postseason souvenir, look no further than Ranger Ballpark. Greene’s Hill, located in center field, provides the perfect opportunity to snag that home run ball you have always wanted. This is not for the shy, however, as the grassy center field platform gets covered in fans who run across it in order to snag home runs that get caught on the hill. While the regular season saw many empty seats, the postseason has brought many fans through the turnstiles. The Rangers look to win their first World Series ever, after winning the American League West division.
6. Minute Maid Park (Houston Astros)
2015 Win-Loss: 86-76
After a near collapse down the stretch, the Houston Astros have made it into the postseason for the first time since 2005. Minute Maid Park was not electric in the regular season, but expect fans to be out in droves for the Astros’ first playoff appearance in a very long time. Even if Houston struggles to hold its own in the postseason, there are many great sights and sounds in Minute Maid Park to keep fans entertained. Located in center field, Tal’s Hill is of those stadium marvels that is definitely worth checking out. Essentially a small hill that extends to the center field wall, this feature adds another dimension to Houston home games, grounding some runners at third base instead of allowing them to hit it out of the park. While they’re removing Tal’s Hill in 2016, the train, tracks and other elements paying homage to the old Union Station entrance serve as a cornerstone of the stadium.
5. Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles Dodgers)
2015 Win-Loss: 92-70
What Dodger Stadium lacks in attractions, it makes up for in sheer size. Los Angeles is all about the glitz, which makes it unsurprising that it has bestowed the largest Major League Baseball stadium to the Dodgers. To give you an idea of just how big Dodger Stadium is, the Colorado Rockies, who have the second-largest stadium in baseball, hold 6,000 less fans at maximum capacity than Los Angeles does. The LA crowd is more of a fair-weather bunch, but you can bet that Dodger Stadium will be one of the louder stadiums during the postseason.
4. Citi Field (New York Mets)
2015 Win-Loss: 90-72
The New York Mets have experienced a resurgence this season, which has catapulted them to their first divisional title since 2006. For those that don’t know what Citi Field is all about, you are in for a treat. Expect to see Citi Field’s big apple a fair share of times following home runs. If you happen to be at the game, definitely check out the stadium’s Jackie Robinson Rotunda located at one of the entrances at Citi Field, which pays homage to the legendary second baseman who broke baseball’s color barrier.
3. Kauffman Stadium (Kansas City Royals)
2015 Win-Loss: 95-67
If you had told baseball fans five years ago that the Royals would become title contenders a a few years later, they would have mocked you mercilessly. Come 2015, however, Kansas City now sports one of baseball’s best teams. It’s not just the team that’s a spectacle to watch, though. Kansas City also has one of the best stadiums in the league. Highlighting the host stadium of the 2012 All-Star Game is the water spectacular, an enchanting fountain and waterfall display.
2. Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs)
2015 Win-Loss: 97-65
Wrigley Field is one of the most iconic baseball stadiums in the majors. What makes it even better is that its tenants, the Chicago Cubs, have finally made it out of the cellar of the National League Central division and become contenders. Wrigley has become even better as of late, not only with increased attendance but also with renovations that added a giant jumbotron behind left field. The most well-known feature of the stadium, however, is the ivy that covers the outfield wall and the fence behind it which curves upward, acting as a net that turns some long fly balls into home runs.
1. Busch Stadium (St. Louis Cardinals)
2015 Win-Loss: 100-62
The stadium acts as a homage to the gateway arch with a great view of the iconic feature located behind center field. Putting the gateway arch front and center does not stop there, however, the outfield grass is also cut to have a replica of the gateway arch. To top it all off, the Cardinals also had the highest attendance out of all of the teams currently in the postseason.