30in30for30 Baseball Stadium Rankings

Be forewarned: this post will be analytical in nature with few pictures or videos.  Numbers Guy has temporarily taken control of the site to introduce you to the 30in30for30 baseball stadium rankings.  You will find much explanation for why things are the way they are and, perhaps more importantly, aren’t the way they aren’t.

Calibration-based Rankings
“This is the world’s best chocolate!”  Such an exclamation has an inconceivably small chance of being right.  Why?  Because there are millions of iterations and permutations of chocolate.  Unless one has sampled them all, how could one possibly know?  Since it is equally inconceivable for someone to have tried all possible outcomes, we all operate under the assumption that when someone makes such a claim, they are only comparing it to what they have tried.  Saying “this is the best chocolate I have ever had!” doesn’t have nearly the same hyperbolic impact.

Following that same logic: how could we possibly rank each stadium without any knowledge of the other stadiums?  Sure, Stadium C certainly seems like it has the best location, but how could we know for sure when we haven’t experienced Stadiums D-Z?  That’s why our rankings will be a calibration-based ranking system.  After each stadium, we will rank that stadium in several categories, but also re-rank (calibrate) all of the previous stadiums based on the new information we’ve now acquired.  Simple and straight-forward?  Maybe not.  But it will be far more accurate and fair than the alternative.

Also worth noting: just because we are calibrating each stadium against one another does not mean we are factoring out subjectivity.  We’ll do our best, but it’s impossible to completely remove our opinions.  Plus, this is our ranking system… so if you have a problem with how we rank something, we’ll let Phil sort you out:

Categories to be Ranked
–  Accessibility: how easy is it to find and get into the ballpark
–  Physical location: location of the park in relation to the city and/or the population it serves
–  Parking: availability, proximity, cost
–  Public transit: availability, proximity
–  Uniqueness: incorporation or proximity to unique or interesting aspects
–  Community: local nightlife/bars, “at home” or neighborhood feel of the park

–  Price
–  Availability
–  Helpfulness of staff

External Aesthetics
–  Self-explanatory

Internal Aesthetics
–  Self-explanatory

Entertainment (active)
–  Games (video board, on-field)
–  Fan promotions
–  “Fan caves” or other things to physically perform at the stadium

Amenities (passive)
–  Seat views
–  Video boards/Jumbotron
–  Restaurants or bars in the park
–  Ballpark features you don’t physically interact with but enhance your experience with their presence

Fan Engagement
–  Attendance
–  In-game engagement (cheering effort and proper timing)
–  Socialization with other fans

Wait a Minute, What About…
Trust me, it was our first thought too, but it has several key complications that made us exclude it.
1)  It’s not something a ballpark go-er is forced to interact with.  Those who are frugal, have dietary restrictions, or are just disinterested can forego the food without any problems.
2)  Food is just too non-comparable.  How can you really compare garlic fries against sushi rolls against fully-loaded nachos against an ice cream sundae helmet?  You’d have to try and limit your scope.  So let’s assume you want to rank just the hot dogs of each stadium.  There are so many variations (regular, kosher, beef, etc.) that you’d have to limit even further.  And once you’ve done that, you’re basically just comparing toppings/condiments.
3)  It’s too subjective.  “That brick is red” is a fairly unimpeachable statement.  One could argue the shade or hue, but no one would say “no, it’s yellow” or “no, it’s wood.”  To quote a popular corporate buzz phrase: it is what it is.  However, taste is very subjective.  Just because I don’t like onions doesn’t mean the onions aren’t good or that the dish isn’t good or that you won’t like it, I just don’t prefer them.
Due to these factors, food will not be ranked.  After all, this is a baseball roadtrip: 3 strikes and you’re out.

See above.

Game Quality
Would it be amazing if we saw a no-hitter?  Of course.  Does that have anything to do with the stadium?  Of course not.  Yes, we are ranking fan engagement and one can argue that fans are more engaged in a game where their team is winning, but we’re well aware of that and are utilizing many other factors to help compensate.

Rating Scale (1 – 10)
Simple, straight-forward.  We wanted (and still may pursue at the end of this) to do a 1-30 ranking system, so you knew exactly where each park ranks relative to one another, but the inherent problem with that is relativity.  What if Ballpark G was a lot of fun and a good venue to take in a game, but it just so happens it’s behind 16 other stadiums?  It doesn’t make Park G any less fun nor would it affect our recommendation.  So we have to rate each stadium by using other stadiums as benchmarks, but we cannot exclusively rate stadiums against one another.

That sums it up, so let the rankings begin.  Also, a quick disclaimer: we reserve the right to make adjustments as the needs arise.

Update: 10/5/21 – “hey jerks, I know you were exhausted after the roadtrip and all, but maybe POST YOUR FINAL RANKINGS.”  6 years later, we are here to oblige.  Enjoy October baseball.

~ Brian & Tim

2 thoughts on “30in30for30 Baseball Stadium Rankings”

  1. Having been to all 8, I’d say that’s a pretty fair assessment. I was a little higher on Petco and Dodger Stadium, but not dramatically.

    I know this isn’t exactly the point of your rankings, but I’m curious to see if Angel Stadium maintains it’s “Replacement Level” status. Also curious to see how many truly “bad” parks exist. Talked with some friends about your trip and the parks. We thought Oakland and probably Tampa are likely the only “bad” parks around. Others are likely replacement level or better.


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