It’s the heart of summer
at least in the United States. And in the good old USA, while it may no longer be the top spectator sport, baseball still holds the nickname of the “national pastime.” And if you stop to think about it, why wouldn’t it be? Sunny playing fields, hot dogs, the crack of the bat hitting a ball, ballpark souvenirs…the list goes on.
One of the most artistic elements of the game is actually not something you might see on the field but rather the field (or more accurately the structure that holds it) in an of itself. Over the course of the more than 100 years the games has been played on a professional level, cities across the country have seen the rise and fall of numerous ballparks and many of them have been true gems of the craft of architecture.
In the early years of professional baseball, the venues often features open and simple steel structures. The next generation of ballparks included the often “multi-purpose” site which tended to be much bigger but less conducive to baseball than some other sports. Around the same time, enclosed domes with little character began to pop up in cities with notoriously bad weather. In the last two decades or so, the trend has seemed to come full circle going back to the smaller, open structures of old.
Here are a few of my favorites that are currently in use today:
As a Pittsburgh artist, and a life-long Pirate fan, my bias has to lead me to love the beautiful PNC Park.
Progressive Field in Cleveland was one of the first to revive the traditional ball field look.
Camden Yards in Baltimore is not new by any means but a stunning site to see.
The sheer history of Fenway Park makes it another wonder on the baseball universe.
One more oldie but goodie, Wrigley Field in Chicago, has a very specific feel and charm.