Sorry, Oracle: 3 reasons why Wrigley Field is MLB's best ballpark

Sorry, Oracle: 3 reasons why Wrigley Field is MLB's best ballpark

The No. 1 ballpark in Major League Baseball is…

…Wrigley Field.

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

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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.

Location

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. 

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. 

Atmosphere

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. 

History

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…

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MLB The Show: Giants walk-off White Sox again, complete sweep

MLB The Show: Giants walk-off White Sox again, complete sweep

NBC Sports Chicago is simulating the 2020 White Sox season via MLB The Show during the postponement of play. The White Sox, stocked with young talent and veteran offseason acquisitions, were expected to take a big step forward in their rebuild this season. Follow along as we play out the first few months of the season.

Result: Giants def. White Sox 5-4

Record: 14-26, 4th in A.L. Central (10.0 GB of Twins)

W: Jandel Gustave (3-1)

L: Kelvin Herrera (0-3)

Game summary: Mother’s Day baseball gave us a great game between the White Sox against the Giants but the South Siders fell in walk-off fashion for the third straight game. This time, Mike Yastrzemski lined an RBI single to left field off Kelvin Herrera, giving the Giants a 5-4 win and sweep of the White Sox.

The Sox offense had their big inning in the fourth. Eloy Jimenez picked up his league-leading 39th RBI and Luis Robert followed with a two-run double to give the Sox an early 4-1 lead. The Giants bounced back with a three-run inning of their own off Dylan Cease in the fifth, led by a Wilmer Flores two-run homer to knot the game at 4.

The Sox had a big opportunity in the seventh when José Abreu stepped up with the bases loaded and one out. Abreu grounded into the inning ending double play. Chicago struck out nine times on Sunday and grounded into two double plays.

White Sox lineup:

Tim Anderson: 2-5, 2 2B (.302 BA)
Yoan Moncada: 0-3, BB (.265 BA)
Jose Abreu: 1-4, RBI (.259 BA)
Yasmani Grandal: 0-3, BB (.256 BA)
Eloy Jimenez: 1-4, RBI (.233 BA)
Luis Robert: 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI (.244 BA)
Nomar Mazara: 0-4 (.209 BA)
Nick Madrigal: 1-2, 2 BB (.329 BA)
Dylan Cease: 0-2 (.000 BA)

Scoring summary:

Top first:

Jose Abreu grounded out to third base, Tim Anderson scored. 1-0 CHW.

Bottom first:

Mike Yastrzemski singled to left field, Wilmer Flores scored. 1-1.

Top fourth:

Eloy Jimenez doubled to left field, Abreu scored. 2-1 CHW.

Luis Robert doubled to center field, Yasmani Grandal and Jimenez scored. 4-1 CHW.

Bottom fifth:

Austin Slater doubled to center field, Billy Hamilton scored. 4-2 CHW.

Flores homered to left field, Slater scored. 4-4.

Bottom ninth:

Yastrzemski singled to left field, Abiatal Avelino scored. 5-4 SF.

Notable performance: Anderson is on a tear of late and that continued Sunday; he went 2-for-5 with two doubles, eclipsing the .300 average mark (.302). Anderson is now the AL leader in hits (54) and is sixth in doubles (11) after his two-double performance Sunday.

Next game: Monday, May 11 - Game 41: White Sox at Padres (Lucas Giolito, 1-6, 6.00 ERA vs Chris Paddack, 2-3, 2.70 ERA)

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.

MLB The Show sim: White Sox lose another heartbreaker to Giants

MLB The Show sim: White Sox lose another heartbreaker to Giants

NBC Sports Chicago is simulating the 2020 White Sox season via MLB The Show during the postponement of play. The White Sox, stocked with young talent and veteran offseason acquisitions, were expected to take a big step forward in their rebuild this season. Follow along as we play out the first few months of the season.

Result: Giants def. White Sox 8-7

Record: 14-25, 4th in A.L. Central (9.0 GB of Twins)

W: Jarlin Garcia (3-2)
L: Steve Cishek (2-3)

Game summary: If the end of this summary feels a bit like deja vu don’t be alarmed. Though this game vs. the Giants took a different path, it finished at the same destination.

Things looked promising early. Reynaldo Lopez turned in a quality start, a rare occurrence for the White Sox pitching staff this (sim) season, allowing just two runs through six innings of work. The lone blemish was a two-run homer by Buster Posey in the second inning.

Meanwhile, Jose Abreu sprayed baseballs all over the outfield, recording singles in his first three at-bats. His first-inning base knock drove in a run.

The big blow for the South Siders came in the sixth. With the game tied 2-2, Eloy Jimenez cleared the bases, drilling a grand slam to give the White Sox had a four-run lead.

The Sox bullpen didn't match Lopez' strong pitching performance. The triumvirate of Jace Fry, Evan Marshall and Kelvin Herrera allowed five runs in the seventh as the White Sox went from up four to trailing by a run.

A Yoan Moncada single re-tied the game in the eighth, setting up another walk-off opportunity for the Giants in the ninth. And the fans at Oracle Park were not disappointed; Mike Yastrzemski sent San Francisco home with a game-winning RBI-double.

White Sox lineup:

Tim Anderson: 2-5, 2 R (.299 BA)
Yoan Moncada: 3-5, 2B, RBI, R (.270 BA)
José Abreu: 3-5, RBI, 2 R (.259 BA)
Yasmani Grandal: 0-3, 2 BB, R (.261 BA)
Eloy Jimenez: 2-4, 2B, HR (12), 4 RBI, R (.233 BA)
Luis Robert: 1-3, SF, RBI (.242 BA)
Nomar Mazara: 0-5 (.215 BA)
Nick Madrigal: 0-3, BB (.324 BA)
Reynaldo Lopez: 0-2 (.000 BA)

Scoring summary:

Top first

Jose Abreu singled to right field, Tim Anderson scored. 1-0 CHW.

Bottom second

Buster Posey homered to left field, Brandon Belt scored. 2-1 SF.

Top third

Luis Robert flew out to center field, Abreu scored. 2-2.

Top fifth

Eloy Jimenez homered to left field, Yoan Moncada, Abreu and Yasmani Grandal scored. 6-2 CHW.

Bottom seventh

Wilmer Flores singled to third base, Posey scored. 6-3 CHW.
Hunter Pence doubled to left field, Austin Slater and Billy Hamilton scored. 6-5 CHW.
Pablo Sandoval flew out to left field, Wilmer Flores scored. 6-6.
Brandon Belt singled to center field, Pence scored. 7-6 SF.

Top eighth

Moncada singled to center field, Anderson scored. 7-7.

Bottom ninth

Mike Yastrzemski doubled to right field, Pence scored. 8-7 SF.

Notable performance: Nobody loves coming up with the bases loaded more than Jimenez. Just two days after hitting a grand slam vs the Rays, Jimenez did it again in Saturday’s game. He now has 12 homers (first on the team) and 38 RBIs (first in the AL).

Next Game: Sunday, May 9 - Game 40: White Sox at Giants (Dylan Cease, 1-3, 4.75 ERA vs Kevin Gausman, 2-1, 5.09 ERA)

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.