Buck Showalter finds himself lucky enough to be managing in the major leagues for the Baltimore Orioles, who happen to be fortunate to play at Camden Yards. If objective fans aren't declaring their favorite ballpark to be one of the dinosaur twins, Wrigley Field or Fenway Park, they're probably calling out Oriole Park as the best in the league. Some say AT&T in San Francisco or PNC in Pittsburgh, and major leaguers polled have picked Safeco in Seattle before. But Camden Yards, if we had to send a ballpark to an intergalactic contest on which the freedom of our planet stood, would probably be our best bet to win.
Showalter is using his advantageous position to pronounce judgment on all of the league's newer ballparks, saying that some have done a better job than others at following Camden Yards' lead since it opened 20 years ago. And for Showalter, Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. — which happens to be the closest park to Camden's hood on the Baltimore inner harbor — does not pass muster.
"Some have captured some of that feel, some haven't," he also said. "Washington, Cincinnati, those parks won't stand the test of time. When you step in Camden Yards, you got the feeling that this was a ballpark that would be welcome in any era in baseball history."
He's right about Camden, but if a modern-looking Nats Park gets a thumb's down, you wonder what he'd say about Marlins Park, with its paisley ballplayers, neon rainbows and psychedelic home run devices.
Boooooo. I mean, of all the "won't stand the test of time" ballparks, he had to single out the only other park in the region? What did Nats Park ever do to him? Has he not seen the lounge chairs outside the Shake Shack? Whatever, man. Go eat your Camden Giants; we'll eat our StrasBurgers.
Well, it's certainly reasonable to assume that Showalter purposely is tweaking the Nats — who are suddenly the cool kids in the baseball neighborhood now, with the Orioles being ostracized for repeated incompetence. But he also brings up a valid-ish discussion: Which of the newer parks built over the past 25 years already are out of style, or are heading that way? Which might pass Buck's personal muster? Here's a list from which to study:
Rogers Centre, Toronto Blue Jays — 1989
Tropicana Field, Tampa Bay Rays — 1990
U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago White Sox — 1991
Camden Yards, Baltimore Orioles — 1992
Rangers Ballpark, Texas Rangers — 1994
Progressive Field, Cleveland Indians — 1994
Coors Field, Colorado Rockies — 1995
Turner Field, Atlanta Braves — 1996
Chase Field, Arizona Diamondbacks — 1998
Safeco Field, Seattle Mariners — 1999
Comerica Park, Detroit Tigers — 2000
Minute Maid Park, Houston Astros — 2000
AT&T Park, San Francisco Giants — 2000
PNC Park, Pittsburgh Pirates — 2001
Miller Park, Milwaukee Brewers — 2001
Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati Reds — 2003
Petco Park, San Diego Padres — 2004
Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia Phillies — 2004
Busch Stadium, St. Louis Cardinals — 2006
Nationals Park, Washington Nationals — 2008
Yankee Stadium, New York Yankees — 2009
Citi Field, New York Mets — 2009
Target Field, Minnesota Twins — 2010
Marlins Park, Florida Marlins — 2012
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