» Chase Field
Arizona Diamondbacks (opened in 1998)
Home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Chase Field (nee Bank One Ballpark) became the first stadium ever built with a retractable roof and natural grass and air conditioning. But the coolest feature of the ballpark, to help a few lucky fans beat the heat, is the swimming pool located behind the wall in right-center field. The pool is rented to fans as an aquatic luxury suite for up to 35 guests, for upward of $6,000 a game. The suite comes with a fully furnished bar, changing room and a lifeguard. No, not a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. Not yet.
» Turner Field
Atlanta Braves (opened in 1996 for the Summer Olympics and in 1997 for Major League Baseball)
Originally built for the Summer Olympics as an 80,000-seat stadium for track-and-field events, Turner Field was expertly downsized, as planned. It does everything right to enhance the fan experience. And if you’re a hot-dog aficionado, welcome to Turner’s “Hot Dog Heaven,” featuring more than two dozen varieties of dogs and sausages. Among the offerings: a chili-cheese dog, a bison dog, a Georgia Dog (topped with coleslaw and onion relish), a veggie dog, chicken sausage with sun-dried tomatoes, smoked sausage, turkey sausage, Italian sausage, bratwurst … you get the idea. Hungry yet?
» Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Baltimore (opened in 1992)
The ballpark’s most distinctive feature — the 1898 B&O Warehouse, an orange-brick building eight stories high that spans several city blocks and looms behind the right-field wall — has become the top landmark in the entire city in the 20 years since it was built. The building also houses the Orioles’ team offices, service spaces, restaurants such as Dempsey’s Brew Pub & Restaurant, and a private club. Don’t forget to visit Babe Ruth’s birthplace and museum three blocks away.
» Great American Ball Park
Cincinnati Reds (opened in 2003)
Because the ballpark was built on the banks of the Ohio River, it seems a natural that party-boat seating is available on the Cincinnati Bell Riverboat Deck above the center-field batter’s eye. It looks like the deck of a boat with two decks, but it’s really a party zone for groups of 25 to 150, with the price of a ticket good for a buffet meal, beverages and panoramic views of the river and the action on the field. It’s also a nice touch that there is a rose garden outside the ballpark, in tribute to baseball’s all-time hits king, Pete Rose, who was banned from baseball for gambling activities.
» Progressive Field
Cleveland Indians (opened in 1994)
OK, the Indians haven’t won a World Series since 1948 — that’s a baby drought compared to the Chicago Cubs’ 104-year wait (and counting) — and the cozy ballpark that replaced cavernous Municipal Stadium and revitalized downtown Cleveland isn’t selling out anymore. But, hey, you can’t beat the authentic Stadium Mustard at all of the concession stands at The Prog. It has a rich brown color and spicy semi-hot taste. Everything tastes better with Cleveland’s Authentic Stadium Mustard. Did you know it was requested on three of NASA’s missions?
» Coors Field
Colorado Rockies (opened in 1995)
The lower-downtown Denver neighborhood (LoDo, for short) in which the ballpark was built features more than 90 restaurants and bars — for fine dining, pub grub and every alcoholic beverage known to man — so fans have more choices to hang out before and after games than just about anywhere else — besides Wrigleyville in Chicago, of course. But do you have the stomach to try Rocky Mountain oysters — deep-fried bull testicles that are actually served inside and outside the ballpark?