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Nate Silver ranks baseball’s ballparks. Though he gets a little help.

May 30, 2011, 1:07 PM EDT

PNC Park

Nate Silver tends to do in-depth poll-crunching, but yesterday — as a bit of palate-cleanser —  he just presented the results of Yelp.com polling and ranked the major league ballparks from best to worst, based on average ratings by Yelp users.  The result: PNC Park on top, Rogers Centre on the bottom and, for the most part, results that tend to adhere to conventional wisdom in the middle.

Surprises: how low Dodger Stadium is (25). Yes, I know that it’s now in vogue to hate on the place, but it traditionally rates quite high among fans. Silver notes that the standard deviation on the ratings for Dodger Stadium suggest that it’s a love-hate thing, with traffic probably causing a lot of low ratings. I assume the same is happening for the New York parks, with people unfamiliar with the city in general reacting negatively to crowds and expense and all of that kind of thing. Of course there’s also the possibility that people who hated their experience at any ballpark are more likely to log on to slam it, while happy people don’t bother.

My biggest takeaway from the article, however, is when Silver reminds us that, from time to time, some writer gets his paper/station/website to pay for a 30-ballpark review trip:

Every now and then, some writer is lucky enough to earn a book advance or a freelance contract for visiting every major league stadium and rating them (see 1988’s Dodger Dogs and Fenway Franks or ESPN’s Stadium Tour for some well-executed examples). But most of these efforts are out of date — and of course, they reflect just one fan’s opinion.

Out of date, eh? Which means we need it updated?  Well, I suppose that would require a person who (a) is knowledgeable about baseball and ballparks; (b) loves travel; and (c) has the time on their hands to do such a thing and/or can consider going to baseball games as part of his job description.

Now, if you’ll please excuse me, I have to write an urgent email to my boss.

  1. spudchukar - May 30, 2011 at 1:19 PM

    Wanna see something butt ugly, check out the Nats unis today. I get the patriotism theme and all but they are a little too Harlem Globetrotteresque.

    • spudchukar - May 30, 2011 at 1:23 PM

      On second look I guess it is just the hats.

      • jimbo1949 - May 30, 2011 at 2:21 PM

        Gnats & Phils using the same color hats, red. Twins using blue hats with blue shirts, meh. I think it’s the white front panel that’s off-putting.
        I can’t see what the Braves/Pads are wearing, for some reason MLB is blacked out here.

  2. mattymatty - May 30, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    Craig, if you’re going to do this right (or even if you’re going to do this wrong) you will absolutely need a “research assistant” to help you do things like 1) watch baseball, and 2) drink beer. I can do both these things, often simultaneously. I can also spell “simultaneously” without a spell checker. This makes me really the only person who could possibly properly assist you with this very important project.

  3. rje49 - May 30, 2011 at 2:47 PM

    I’ve been a baseball fan for about 55 years but I didn’t know where PNC Park was until I went to the linked list. I don’t even know what PNC stands for. Maybe Peanuts ‘N Crackerjacks? And what’s with “Overstock.com Coliseum”??? That’s a ballpark?

    • jimbo1949 - May 30, 2011 at 3:17 PM

      Pittsburgh National Corporation, parent company of PNC Bank.
      Overstock.com Coliseum, aka Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, has been through several naming rights sales. Also home to the Raiders.

  4. APBA Guy - May 30, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    Interesting that the Metrodome rated lower than the Mausoleum. The Mausoleum and RFK were almost the same (3.13 v. 3.12) which makes sense considering they were based on that multi-use bowl-shaped design from the ’60′s.

    I don’t get the Rogers Center being lowest. Clearly, those folks haven’t been to the Trop or the Mausoleum. But then again, I haven’t been to the Rogers Center.

    Cur68, little help?

    • cur68 - May 31, 2011 at 1:32 AM

      It’s not that bad there. Has a retractable roof, great view (of the sky and the Needle) when it’s open but the field is artificial so it lacks style. It’s WAY better than the Trop IMO. I guess it got rated lowest because few have been there. Given attendance this season, most just notice how empty it is when it’s one TV. I bet that influences voting; empty stadium = lousy park. It’s no worse than top of the last third of parks. Now the Mausoleum; that’s a dump. I throw up in my mouth a little every time I see it on TV. Bleh…

  5. pmcenroe - May 30, 2011 at 3:38 PM

    Rogers Centre is def. better then the Trop, SunLife or MetroDome however its def. going to need some renovations in the next 5 years.

  6. schmedley69 - May 30, 2011 at 4:18 PM

    PNC is a great park. I’m surprised that Wrigley isn’t ranked a little higher. Nats Park should probably be a little higher also. There aren’t many truly bad parks these days, now that all of the cookie cutter, concrete bowls with Astroturf from the ’70′s are gone.

  7. danberman4 - May 30, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    I think it’s just a conversation starter. Why does yelp.com matter to me? I think Nate should ask fans in Milwaukee this spring if they think the retractable roof was worth it. I suspect that would have been rainouts and shivering fans without it.
    http://pinetarandbrickbats.blogspot.com/2011/05/choosing-best-ballparks.html

  8. stairwayto7 - May 30, 2011 at 5:19 PM

    Take that RedSox and Cub fan! Your old stadium need to be torn down!

  9. nkappel - May 30, 2011 at 5:44 PM

    This site rates all MLB parks, and then some:

    http://www.stadiumjourney.com/

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