The No. 1 ballpark in Major League Baseball is…
Don’t at me.
USA Today recently ranked MLB's 30 ballparks, slotting Wrigley in at No. 2 behind Oracle Park, home of the San Francisco Giants. Our friends over at NBC Sports Bay Area followed that up with five reasons why Oracle is correctly ranked at No. 1
Truthfully, their argument is pretty sound, and we could leave it right there and rest on our laurels of Wrigley being No. 2. But debating is way more fun, so here’s a few reasons why Wrigley is, in fact, No. 1.
Okay, so Wrigley isn’t located along Lake Michigan — Oracle sits along the San Francisco Bay, and the view is picturesque, to say the least. Plus, it’s always fun to see home runs splash down out there.
Ro, ro, ro your boat...— Cubs Talk (@NBCSCubs) July 23, 2019
Robel Garcia hits a blast into the bay to give the Cubs an early lead! pic.twitter.com/y5Obn9YBEV
How many teams can say their ballpark sits in the heart of a neighborhood, though? Wrigleyville may not have many parking lots, but it’s accessible by the Addison and Irving Park buses, and the Addison Red Line stop. (Alas, cramming into a bus and train with a bunch of sweaty fans isn’t great.)
Further, the neighborhood is littered with bars and restaurants, so the fun doesn’t have to end after those classic 1:20 p.m. games.
Even with numerous weekday afternoon games, the Cubs’ attendance rates are some of the best in baseball. They draw near or sellout crowds each game, no matter if it’s a Wednesday or Saturday afternoon.
Last season the Cubs ranked fourth in both overall (3,094,865) and per game attendance (38,208). Admittedly, the team’s recent success plays a part in those figures, but they finished 10th in both categories in 2012 (2,882,756; 35,590), when they lost 101 games.
The Giants also finished in the top 10 in those categories in 2012 (when they won the World Series) and 2019 (when they finished 77-85, third in the NL West). Respect, Giants fans.
Wrigley isn’t the biggest stadium — it only has one upper level — and while fans are a bit on top of each other, that coziness heightens the overall game atmosphere.
Wrigley has a unique charm, from the manual center field scoreboard to iconic red marquee over the main entrance to the outfield baskets and iconic ivy-covered walls. And, who doesn't love the troughs in the men's restrooms? Anyone? No?
Renovations made in recent years turned off baseball purists, but it’s nice to see in-game replays on the left and right field jumbotrons. The clubhouse and facility upgrades were long overdue, too.
The renovations unfortunately priced out many fans, but they added life to the 106-year-old ballpark, all while not dramatically hurting its glamour. Oracle Park is great, but there's no better place to watch a baseball game than the Friendly Confines.
Now, about that press box…