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MLB

Globe writers choose their favorite — and least favorite — MLB ballparks

Oracle Park, with the San Francisco skyline in the distance and McCovey Cove in the foreground.
Oracle Park, with the San Francisco skyline in the distance and McCovey Cove in the foreground.Ezra Shaw/Getty

It’s a question baseball writers always get asked by family and friends. Which park is your favorite?

To answer that question, we polled the Globe’s five primary baseball writers — myself, Julian McWilliams, Dan Shaughnessy, Michael Silverman, and Alex Speier — along with correspondent Jim Clark, a well-traveled fan who has visited 33 parks over the years.

The rules were simple; only active ballparks were eligible. We each had 10 votes for the best parks and three for the worst.

In a tightly contested vote, Oracle Park in San Francisco was the winner with 44 points, 1 more than Fenway Park and 2 more than Camden Yards.

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Nineteen parks received at least one vote. Only Oracle Park, Fenway, Camden Yards, and Dodger Stadium received votes from all six of us.

Our favorite stadiums We asked our writers to rank their top-10 favorite stadiums, with 10 points going to their top choice and 1 point going to their 10th choice. Oracle Park narrowly edged out Fenway and Camden Yards as the favorite.
Stadium Abraham Clark McWilliams Shaughnessy Silverman Speier Total
Oracle Park 10 9 5 9 9 2 44
Fenway Park 7 1 8 10 10 7 43
Camden Yards 5 5 10 8 5 9 42
Dodger Stadium 9 4 6 6 4 10 39
T Mobile Park 8 8 - 4 7 3 30
Wrigley Field - 7 - 7 3 8 25
Petco Park 2 3 9 5 - 6 25
Target Field 4 2 3 - 8 4 21
PNC Park 6 10 - - 1 1 18
Coors Field - 6 4 - - 5 15
Kauffman Stadium 1 - - - 6 - 7
Yankee Stadium - - 7 - - - 7
Progressive Field - - 2 3 - - 5
Citizens Bank 3 - - - - 3
Minute Maid Park - - - 2 - - 2
Rogers Centre - - - - 2 - 2
Oakland Coliseum - - - 1 - - 1
Angel Stadium - - 1 - - - 1
:

The worst park in our poll was Oakland Coliseum with 48 points and four first-place votes. It beat second-place Tropicana Field, which had 36 points. Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago was third.

Our least favorite stadiums Oakland Coliseum, the home of the Athletics, was the loser in this contest.
Stadium Abraham Clark McWilliams Shaughnessy Silverman Speier Total
Oakland Coliseum 10 10 10 - 10 8 48
Tropicana Field 8 9 - 10 - 9 36
Guaranteed Rate Field - - - 9 8 10 27
Rogers Centre 9 8 - - - - 17
Minute Maid Park - - 9 - - - 9
Truist Park - - - - 9 - 9
Yankee Stadium - - - 8 - - 8
Comerica Park - - 8 - - - 8
:

In a testament to our varied opinions, Oakland Coliseum, Minute Maid Park, and Rogers Centre received votes as best and worst parks.

Peter Abraham

Best

1. Oracle Park (Giants): A perfect combination of location, comfort, fan amenities, great food, and memorable views. Love the Willie Mays statue out front.

2. Dodger Stadium (Dodgers): It opened in 1962 and 58 years later still has all its retro charm and is always sparkling clean. The view from the upper deck is the best in baseball.

Dodger Stadium got excellent grades from our panel.
Dodger Stadium got excellent grades from our panel.Stan Grossfeld

3. T-Mobile Park (Mariners): Other than being home to a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2001, there’s nothing wrong here. It feels like the Northwest.

4. Fenway Park (Red Sox): Once you get in your seat, assuming it’s facing the plate and not blocked by a pole, it’s a wonderful spot. But tradition only goes so far.

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5. PNC Park (Pirates): Perfectly situated on the banks of the Allegheny River, PNC has a postcard view of the city and a cozy 38,747 seats. They got everything right.

6. Camden Yards (Orioles): It opened 28 years ago and still holds the same appeal it did then. The best ballparks built since have some of Camden’s DNA.

7. Target Field (Twins): Locating it conveniently on the edge of downtown, the Twins built a beautiful park after years at the inelegant Metrodome.

8. Citizens Bank Park (Phillies): If they built this same park in Boston with Fenway’s dimensions, everybody would love it. It’s just the right size.

9. Petco Park (Padres): The best parks reflect their cities, and Petco does that perfectly. There’s plenty of space, it’s close to the water, and there’s a chill vibe.

10. Kauffman Stadium (Royals): An underrated user-friendly park that opened in 1973 and was refurbished in 2009. The only downside: It’s in the middle of nowhere.

Worst

1. Oakland Coliseum (Athletics): Oakland is trying. There are better food options and seating areas. But it’s old, dirty, too big, and lacking in any sort of charm.

2. Rogers Centre (Blue Jays): A concrete monstrosity that does not fit the vibrant city around it. Rogers Centre isn’t aging gracefully, it’s just aging.

3. Tropicana Field (Rays): It’s actually a very nice place to work. But the poor Trop feels like somebody’s dank basement.

Jim Clark

Best

1. PNC Park: (Pirates): This gem is a perfect combo of size (only two decks) and architecture, with a great backdrop of the Pittsburgh skyline, bridges, and the Allegheny River.

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2. Oracle Park (Giants): The McCovey Cove setting is nearly flawless, but the tighter footprint means there are some seats with blind spots in the upper left-field corner (trust me).

3. T-Mobile Park (Mariners): While most retractable-roof stadiums are cavernous, Seattle’s feels like a “real” ballpark — and a beautiful one — with the roof open.

4. Wrigley Field (Cubs): It’s amazing how a park built just two years after Fenway can feel so much more comfortable.

Wrigley Field is a familiar favorite.
Wrigley Field is a familiar favorite.

5. Coors Field (Rockies): Denver’s “LoDo” has come to life around a retro ballpark that has a stunning view of the Rocky Mountains.

6. Camden Yards (Orioles): Baltimore deserves credit for leading the new design wave, but others in subsequent years have done it better.

7. Dodger Stadium (Dodgers): I finally got here in 2017. It’s a stunning setting in Chavez Ravine … but oh, that postgame traffic.

8. Petco Park (Padres): San Diego seamlessly worked a gorgeous design into the bustling Gaslamp Quarter.

9. Target Field (Twins): Little flair, but the Twins did a great job with a tight downtown space.

10. Fenway Park (Red Sox): It was hard leaving out Kauffman (sorry, Mike Silverman) and Citizens Bank, but how can you not include Fenway? The upgrades mostly have worked, but nostalgia can be at the expense of comfort, and its warts are obvious the more you travel the MLB circuit.

Worst

1. Oakland Coliseum (Athletics): After seeing a Raiders preseason game on a Friday, it didn’t get any better for Athletics-Sox on Monday — even with a Pedro vs. Hudson gem. The Raiders are gone again and hopefully the A’s will follow.

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2. Tropicana Field (Rays): I had a planned pilgrimage with my longtime “Baseball Trip” friends to watch some games in Tampa next month. Alas, likely no reminder of just how bad this place is.

3. Rogers Centre (Blue Jays): At least Toronto proved the retractable-roof concept works.

Julian McWilliams

Best

1. Camden Yards (Orioles): My dad is from Baltimore and grew up an Orioles fan. This park always gives me a glimpse into his childhood. It gives off a modern vibe but still with an old-school feel.

2. Petco Park (Padres): The weather is always gorgeous, and the downtown backdrop puts this stadium near the top of my list.

3. Fenway Park (Red Sox): Love how close the stands are to the field. Fenway speaks for itself. It’s a baseball experience I’d encourage everyone to take in at some point.

4. Yankee Stadium (Yankees): The stadium itself isn’t great. It’s dull, plain, and built for Wall Street. But ballparks are more than just the look. The fans get really loud there, particularly in the playoffs, making it the toughest place to play.

5. Dodger Stadium (Dodgers): The hills in the background. The views. The ballpark itself mixing old and new. The California sun beaming down on you.

6. Oracle Park (Giants): It’s always chilly in San Francisco, which is why this park doesn’t rank higher. But it’s easily one of the most beautiful. The brick wall in right field gives it the feel of Camden Yards on the West Coast.

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7. Coors Field (Rockies): It’s clean. It’s modern. The ball travels because of the thin air, making for a ton of offense. An easy ballpark to navigate.

There's a lot to like about Coors Field.
There's a lot to like about Coors Field.ASSOCIATED PRESS/Associated Press

8. Target Field (Twins): Probably the most underrated stadium in baseball. The open space and scenery are top-notch.

9. Progressive Field (Indians): The openness in center field puts this stadium on my list. Simplicity is key here, too.

10. Angel Stadium (Angels): The press facilities are terrible. But it’s still in Southern California, and the rock fountain beyond center field takes the park to a new level.

Worst

1. Oakland Coliseum (Athletics): There’s sewage leakage. The hot dogs are stale. Walking through the concourse is like walking through a New York City subway at 3 a.m. Oakland fans are loyal and deserve better.

2. Minute Maid Park (Astros): Home runs there are a joke.

3. Comerica Park (Tigers): It’s bland and dreary. It doesn’t seem to capture the essence of a true ballpark.

Dan Shaughnessy

1. Fenway Park (Red Sox): Don’t overthink it, and don’t talk to me about poles, parking, bathrooms, and legroom. This is obvious.

2. Oracle Field (Giants): Minor league feel. Garlic fries. McCovey Cove. View of the bridge. Nuf Ced.

3. Camden Yards (Orioles): Changed everything. This is why Janet Marie Smith should be in the Hall of Fame.

4. Wrigley Field (Cubs): Kind of a dump, but it’s in a great neighborhood, and the brick and ivy are hypnotic. Let’s Play Two.

5. Dodger Stadium (Dodgers): Koufax to Kershaw. Chavez Ravine. Mary Hart and Larry King in the front row. Scully soundtrack.

6. Petco Park (Padres): The Second House That Lucchino Built. A beach beyond the fence in center. Gas lamps outside.

7. T-Mobile Park (Mariners): Majestic. Roof closes. Downtown.

8. Progressive Field (Indians): The Jake. Light towers look like toothbrushes. NBA next door. Tito in the dugout. Plenty of good seats always available.

9. Minute Maid Park (Astros): Roof closes. Walkable. Lots of orange. Train in left field. Trash can banging in center.

10. Oakland Coliseum (Athletics): Total dump, but I love this place. Ghosts of Billy Martin and Al Davis. BART nearby. Infinite foul territory. Stuff happened here.

Worst

1. Tropicana Field (Rays): All ballparks are sacred spaces. except this one. The worst. Catwalks. Hideous colors. Empty seats.

2. Guaranteed Rate Field (White Sox): The last bad one built before Camden changed how it was done. Horrible neighborhood. Butt ugly. Soulless.

Guaranteed Rate Field got subpar grades from our panel of experts.
Guaranteed Rate Field got subpar grades from our panel of experts.Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

3. Yankee Stadium (Yankees): A swing and a miss. Expensive and charmless. Moats everywhere and an unfriendly staff prohibiting exploration and fun.

Michael Silverman

Best

1. Fenway Park (Red Sox): Thousands of games later, familiarity bred only a deeper love. The old and new blend, all that green grass and paint, the skyline. Despite the awful grandstand seating, it still all works.

2. Oracle Park (Giants): With its Embarcadero location on the bay and sightlines, it’s just about perfect.

3. Target Field (Twins): Downtown ballpark with local limestone accents is squeezed into a small site but it doesn’t feel cramped.

4. T-Mobile Park (Mariners): Never seen the roof closed here (does it really rain in Seattle?), but that’s just another perk for a faultless ballpark.

5. Kauffman Stadium (Royals): Unapologetically biased toward loving the “K.” It’s my hometown park, and I’ll never understand why all ballparks don’t have water fountains, gold-crowned scoreboards, and an interstate highway running past.\

6. Camden Yards (Orioles): The granddaddy of the “new” ballparks still retains all of its classy, retro charm.

Camden Yards has a retro feel.
Camden Yards has a retro feel.REUTERS

7. Dodger Stadium (Dodgers): It’s a pain to get to, but once inside, the ocean sunset-painted seating bowl and franchise history lend themselves to an unmatched experience.

8. Wrigley Field (Cubs): I don’t get giddy about Wrigley like many others, but I get it — the ivy, the bleachers, the beer, and the blissed-out Cubs fans.

9. Rogers Centre (Blue Jays): So what if it has artificial turf? This place is a blast, with a geometrically puzzling retractable roof, rowdy fans, and that hotel overlooking center field.

10. PNC Park (Pirates): The unparalleled view of the Pittsburgh skyline with the suspension bridge over the river helps distract Bucs fans from their team.

Worst

1. Oakland Coliseum (Athletics): Probably should stop complaining about the raw sewage that bubbles up during rainstorms, but won’t.

2. Truist Park (Braves): For a brand-new ballpark, it has all the charm and quirks of a 1970s cookie-cutter stadium.

3. Guaranteed Rate Field (White Sox): Besides no second servings in a hostile media dining environment, this structure specializes in soulless features sure to deaden a baseball fan’s ardor.

Alex Speier

1. Dodger Stadium (Dodgers): No other ballpark features prettier views or is so beautifully integrated into its natural environment, and its distinct design elements are unmistakable.

2. Camden Yards (Orioles): I’m somewhat biased, since it opened when I was 16 and living in the D.C. area, thus becoming the first ballpark I could drive to while cutting school. It might be No. 1 but for the fact that the view of the city (specifically, the striking Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower) was cut off by the shameless construction of a hotel.

3. Wrigley Field (Cubs): More than a century of history and architectural quirks, without its older sibling’s claustrophobia.

4. Fenway Park (Red Sox): The history is unsurpassed, the evolution this century is remarkable, and the proximity of seats to the field is almost unfathomable.

5. Petco Park (Padres): It’s beautiful; the design achieved something new in the post-Camden era. The food and drink options are great, and the weather is almost always perfect.

Petco Park has been the home of the Padres since 2004.
Petco Park has been the home of the Padres since 2004.ASSOCIATED PRESS/Associated Press

6. Coors Field (Rockies): It’s a rare kind of ballpark that features sunsets so spectacular they can dictate a team’s decision to embrace purple as its defining uniform color.

7. Target Field (Twins): A new park with a smaller footprint preserves some sense of intimacy — and gives the illusion that balls crushed to right might bounce off neighboring buildings — with a lot of modern amenities.

8. T-Mobile Park (Mariners): It’s the only place with a retractable roof that sustains what feels like a natural baseball setting when the roof is closed.

9-10: Oracle Park (Giants) and PNC Park (Pirates): Though they are the only two current parks (aside from the Rangers’ soon-to-open new ballpark) I haven’t visited, I’ve seen and heard enough to know that they are jewels.

Worst

1. Guaranteed Rate Field (White Sox): The most depressing baseball experience I’ve ever had was going to a game in the first season of New Comiskey and walking up the ramps with a view of the smashed innards of Old Comiskey next door. Imitation proved insincere and unflattering.

2. Tropicana Field (Rays): Had Florentines seen this soulless middle-of-nowhere venue, the Renaissance may never have happened.

3. Oakland Coliseum (Athletics): Two words: Sewage problems.


Peter Abraham can be reached at peter.abraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.