Chasing down the parks: A die-hard fan visits all 30 MLB stadiums

Editor’s note: Michael Schuman is a freelance travel writer whose articles have been published by multiple publications across the United States. Portions of this article are also featured at sentinelsource.com.

It all started in the beginning of this century, most likely in Phoenix.

I write travel features, and my journeys have taken me to all parts of the United States and Canada. So while in Phoenix, I decided to see an Arizona Diamondbacks game at what was then Bank One Ballpark, affectionately known as the BOB, today Chase Field.

The date was Aug. 4, 2000, I believe it was at that game that I decided to make a concerted effort to take in a ballgame whenever I traveled to a new city.

After the building boom of new ballparks in the 1990s, it became clear that these new stadiums are here to stay, at least for a while. In the immediate years after Phoenix, I took in games in Cleveland, Baltimore, St. Louis, Toronto, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Cincinnati.

By the time my ballpark total reached about 15, I considered the ultimate goal of watching a game in all 30, even if it meant setting foot in the home of the Evil Empire, Yankee Stadium, which I swore I would not do until I had already seen No. 29, which I did in June 2016. So on Aug. 27 last year, I took a deep breath and made the trek to the house that Steinbrenner built.

To keep up to date, I traveled to Atlanta this past May to watch the Mets beat the Braves at the newly opened Sun Trust Park. It’s a spacious but unspectacular park and bucks the recent trend by relocating from downtown to the suburbs.

I had reached my goal of seeing a ballgame at each of the present Major League parks. The game is the same, but the park experiences were very different.

Here is a report of my top five baseball park:

1. It’s a tie between Fenway Park — Boston Red Sox, and Wrigley Field — Chicago Cubs. Baseball’s last remaining “green cathedrals,” the classic old ballparks are in their own league. They may lack in creature comforts, but each is rich with the ghosts of baseball past.

2. PNC Park — Pittsburgh Pirates. The best of the retro parks, where multipurpose stadiums were replaced with baseball-only ballparks that were more intimate and included idiosyncrasies of the original old parks, PNC Park has just two decks, which makes for a cozy ambiance….

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