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The List: Best ballparks
From the Page 2 mailbag

Poll Results

On Wednesday, Page 2 ran its list of the top current baseball stadiums. We asked for your take, and you filled our mailbag with plenty of opinions.

Here's how the Page 2 staff ranked the top baseball stadiums:

1. Fenway Park: The Green Monster. 'Nuff said.
2. Yankee Stadium: The House that Ruth Built. The symbol of sporting excellence ... well, the aging symbol.
3. Wrigley Field: Ivy over concrete. Day games. Throwing back the visiting team's homers. Sosa blasts onto Waveland Ave.
4. Pac Bell Park: Anytime you can see a homer disappear into the bay ... that's cool.
5. Camden Yards:
Baseball's homage to the past, only better than the original.

Honorable mention: PNC Park, Coors Field, Enron Field, SkyDome (voyeur's delight)

After going through nearly 1,400 letters, here's a complete rundown of the voting, along with some of the best letters about each ballpark:

1. Wrigley Field (230 letters)
Without Wrigley, the Cubs are a mediocre team with lousy attendance. With it, they're a mediocre team who set the team's attendance record and lost 100 games. The Ivy, throwing back homers, the guys on the street with gloves waiting for a ball to leave the yard, everyone heading to Murphy's before the game and after (where you used to catch a glimpse of Mark Grace) and absolutely, positively still the best seventh-inning stretch in baseball.

It's in the middle of a neighborhood where you can watch a game from the rooftop of a house across the street. There's no other stadium in the world, in any sport, where you can do that.
Jeff Buettner

Wrigley Field
Wrigley Field
The wind. The beer. The day games. The excitement. The history. The ivy. The brick infield wall. The memories of Ernie and Harry. And sure, usually the losing. But baseball at Wrigley is about more than just baseball. It's about the experience, and that's what keeps generations of people coming back.
Brian Beinborn
Cuba City, Wis.

For the sheer beauty of its "Friendly Confines", its neighborhood location, its age and accompanying history, its antiquated but remarkable scoreboard, even its smell of freshly mown grass mixed with decades of stale beer-on-concrete, no "stadium" rivals the shrine at Clark and Addison, the "field of dreams" of my youth!
Arnold Gale
San Jose, Calif.

There's nothing like it anywhere else in baseball. The ivy, the atmosphere, and the die hard Cub fans. No domes, no retractable roofs, no corporate naming rights. Just plain fun at the old ballpark. Hop the train up to 1060 West Addison and turn back the clock to the way baseball was meant to be watched. Harry Caray and Jack Brickhouse will always be missed, but it's still the place to be to catch a dose of America's pastime, and a glimpse at America's past.
Portland, Ore.

2. Fenway Park (219 letters)
Fenway Park
Fenway Park
The Green Monster, the lone red seat in the bleachers, the uncomfortable wooden seats in the grandstands, Fenway Franks, Field of Dreams, the Curse of the Bambino, natural grass -- it's all a part of the Fenway mystique. And it's all a part of anyone who's ever gone to a game in its friendly confines. Fenway, simply put, is the way baseball is supposed to be.
Deana Damigella

It has to be Fenway; no competition. I've never been to a stadium that is so intimate, so welcoming. Sure, it's relatively uncomfortable, and the sightlines aren't perfect, but such atmosphere comes at aprice. The best part of a visit to Fenway? Walking toward the stadium across Kenmore Square. Bam, there it is in its glory, Citgo sign, Carlton Fisk pleading for divine assistance, and balls rebounding off the monster. It doesn't get better than this.
Kelly P. Clark
University Park, Md.

Fenway. It's uncomfortable, the food sucks, the beer is overpriced, and it's usually filthy by the third inning. But find a sunny July Saturday when Pedro is pitching and stand out on Yawkee Way an hour before the game. The collective sense of anticipation and excitement is overwhelming and joyful to behold. Red Sox fans are the most unique in all of sports -- hopelessly devoted yet unflinchingly sarcastic; optimistic with every spring but pessimistic with every loss. But we are the best fans around; visit Fenway once and you will realize that.
Jeremy Cutler
Providence, R.I.

3. Yankee Stadium (136 letters)
Yankee Stadium
Yankee Stadium
The best baseball stadium is clearly Yankee Stadium. Sure, the Green Monster is nice, but you could also get stuck sitting behind a pole at Fenway. Where else can you experience the history that Yankee Stadium has? Everyone who is anyone in baseball has either worn the pinstripes or passed through the Bronx. Between the great white gate at the top, the Bleacher Creatures in right field, and of course Monument Park, Yankee Stadium is the ideal location for your baseball pleasure!
New York

The tremendous sense of history every time I step into the place -- the monuments, the facade, imagining the Babe in right and the Iron Horse at First and Hall of Famers everywhere. The sense of awe and respect. Sure, the ballpark physically has seen better days, but there is no finer thrill than walking up toward the field and seeing the green grass. Probably sort of like visiting the Louvre or the Vatican or the Pyramids.
Tim Olnick
Lexington Park, Md.

4. PNC Park (98 letters)
PNC Park
PNC Park
PNC Park has now officially "pirated" the title of best stadium in baseball! Why? Because it has the perfect retro feel and cozy intimacy of ballparks past, and all the luxuries and advances of today's superparks. That's not even to mention the dynamic downtown Pittsburgh panorama that bursts upon the scene where the ballpark ends, creating the perfect compliment of sports and urban life.

Bet you didn't know Pittsburgh looked like that, did you, boys & girls? Also, PNC abounds in Pirate history, with several statues remembering our greatest, banners & signs everywhere, and three club restaurants saluting everything from "the Gunner" Bob Prince, to the man whose acquisition gave the Pirates their name, Louis Bierbauer. Basically, it is Forbes Field meets the future! PNC is a classic for today and a baseball fan's dream! So long Three Rivers, hello "Pittsburgh's New Classic" Park!
Paul Kowalick
Los Angeles

5. Pacific Bell Park (92 letters)
Pacific Bell Park
Pacific Bell Park
Not only for the beauty and design of the ballpark, and how it was built with all the modern convieniences along with a hint of the past with its brick exterior and its manual scoreboards. But also the truly unique features, such as the short porch to McCovey Cove, the right field wall where pedestrians can watch the game "for free," the way the seats all turn toward home plate, and the closeness you feel to your team due to the limited amount of foul ground surrounding the field.

Not to mention the fact that it is set in the heart of the most beautiful city in America. Granted, there has not been nearly as much history in this park as in Yankee Stadium, but if we're talking about the best place to go and watch a game, Pac Bell's got my vote.
Ric Wilson
San Jose, Calif.
Safeco Field
Safeco Field

6. Safeco Field (80 letters)
Name another park where you can sit in the outfield, watch the game, and see the sun set over the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound, all at the same time? Not to mention the rumble of the trains passing behind the stadium. Keeps you awake between innings!
Michael Hanthorn
Issaquah, Wash.

7. Oriole Park at Camden Yards (79 letters)
Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Oriole Park at Camden Yards
I have been to all five ballyards you listed. I believe that Camden Yards is by far the best.

Nothing can match the easiness of going from a downtown hotel to the park or the sight of the Baltimore City skyline looking out to center field. The brick architecture, the double-deck bullpens, all seats angled toward the plate with complete visibility, the high right-field wall with the warehouse in the background, the promenade around the park, the wider seats with good leg room ... all these add up to a unique park which, while being 9-years-old, is still the best place to watch baseball.

Jacobs Field
Jacobs Field
Some of these innovations are in other new ballparks, but no one has been able to copy Camden Yards. Now all we need is a team.
Chuck Lavin
Laurel, Md.

8. Jacobs Field (52 letters)
Jacobs had 455 sellouts in a row, is located in the middle of the city, and has lights designed to resemble the smoke stacks in the skyline (the only like it in the majors). There's also great sitelines, natural grass, and the guy beating the drum!
Frank Liller
Metairie, La.

9. Busch Stadium (37 letters)
Busch Stadium
Busch Stadium
I'm a bit biased here, but Busch Stadium gets my vote for the best park. Although it can be technically classified as a "cookie-cutter" stadium, it is FAR more refined and aesthetically appealing than the other circular parks of the same era. Busch has it all: symmetrical, yet reasonable dimesions, grass turf, full manual scoreboard, no bad seats, and plentiful reminders of the heros of the past and present.

However, the best stadium should be recognized for more than just the edifice. The packed house and sea of Cardinal Red all season long reinforce the notion that Busch stadium the best park in the major leagues.
John Willock
St. Louis
Coors Field
Coors Field

10. Coors Field (35 letters)
Quite simply because it is the most explosive ballpark in baseball. People are on the edge of their seat for almost every pitch, even when the pitcher is at bat.
Juck Jones
Carrollton, Texas

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