NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Baseball season is here with travel website Cheapflights.com (www.cheapflights.com) coming up with a list of the top 10 U.S. cities to see the pros play. This list is not endorsed by Reuters.
1. Boston: Fenway Park
Opened in 1912, Fenway Park is the oldest Major League Baseball stadium currently in use. Some may call it old and cramped, but Red Sox Nation knows it as the haven where the Curse of the Great Bambino (Babe Ruth) was lifted. Among the alluring crowds of Kenmore Square and the relentless height of the Green Monster, Fenway Park remains a Boston favorite.
2. Baltimore: Oriole Park at Camden Yards
One of the most highly praised ballparks in the nation, Camden Yards has a retro design that hails back to the days of the Great Bambino. It’s “good old days” feel stems from more than just decor -- the park is a mere two blocks from Ruth’s birthplace, and the site of his father’s old cafe is now better known as center field of Oriole Park.
3. New York: Citi Field and Yankee Stadium
In a city where two teams compete, your game-time selection boils down to loyalty: Yankees or Mets? The Mets Citi Field resides in Queens, where the 41,800-capacity stadium made a smooth transition from Shea’s Stadium. The Yankees got new digs too, thanks to Rudy Giuliani, who ordered a new park to be instated in the Bronx, where a Red Sox-loving worker buried a David Ortiz jersey in the cement, and was made to retrieve it. Both ballparks celebrated their first opening days in 2009.
4. Toronto: Rogers Center
Thought you could only catch an MLB game in the States? Think again. While Rogers Center also hosts football games and conventions, it’s best known as the home of the Toronto Blue Jays for twelve years -- and for being the first stadium with a fully-retractable motorized roof.
5. San Francisco: AT&T Park
Barry Bonds likes this place -- and he should. The former Giants star hit his 756th home run, breaking Hank Aaron’s record here. The park resides in Willie Mays Plaza, right on Mission Bay, and won the 2008 Sports Facility of the Year Award in 2008. Aside from its waterside locale, the park is also known for its bold fans who wave rubber chickens when pitchers intentionally walk the Giants’ hardest hitters.
6. Arlington, Texas: Rangers Ballpark
Despite several name changes over the years, the home of the Texas Rangers, the Ballpark in Arlington is known by locals as just that - the Ballpark. Natives revere this retro-inspired stadium and its Texas-style stone carvings etched throughout the decor. The home plate, foul poles, and bleachers were all originally part of the old Arlington Stadium, but carry on the tradition much like the sport itself.
7. Chicago: Wrigley Field and U.S. Cellular Field
One of the oldest parks in the country, Wrigley Field is also known as the Friendly Confines. Unlike other franchises, fans and Cubs players don’t seem to want a new stadium, so they continue to play in the historic one built in 1914. On the other hand, the White Sox play at U.S. Cellular Field, which opened in 1991, and was renovated between 2001 and 2005 in five phases -- there’s even a Rain Room with cool mist for hot summer days.
8. Denver: Coors Field
The mile-high city boasts a ballpark with serious altitude. Constructed in 1995, the Colorado Rockies’ Coors Field marks the one mile above sea level mark with a row of purple seats that extend around the entire upper deck. The thin air supposedly increases runs and homeruns by 50 percent, so grab one of the park’s fine microbrews, sit back and watch ‘em fly.
9. Washington D.C.: Nationals Park
The first LEED-certified major professional sports stadium in the United States, Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. sits near the Anacostia River in the city’s Navy Yard. Surprisingly, the Nationals weren’t the first to touch base here - the first game ever played in the park was by George Washington University’s Colonials in 2008. Another historical moment here includes Randy Johnson’s 300th win on June 4, 2009.
10. Los Angeles: Dodgers Stadium
Playing host to eight World Series, Dodgers Stadium was named Best Field in 2003 by Sports Illustrated. The 56,000-seat stadium sits just a few miles east of Hollywood in Los Angeles, California, and is home to 10 no-hitters. In 1982, the park set an all-time Major League attendance record, capping the season with 3,608,881 visitors. It is the third-oldest park in use.
Editing by Miral Fahmy and Paul Casciato