Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

respect wrigleyThe Cubs put together one of baseball’s best teams on the field in 2015. As for the field itself, it also ranked quite well.

An updated list of MLB stadium rankings by Stadium Journey has Wrigley Field ranked fifth among the 30 major league ball parks. That is up one spot from where it ranked 2014, as Chase Field slides down a spot to sixth where Wrigley Field was last season. Wrigley Field is no stranger to high rankings this season, as Ken Davidoff of the New York Post ranked it as the fifth best back in June.

You can read the full review of Wrigley Field here. Among the highlights:

  • Food & Beverage received a four-star ranking (out of five stars) thanks in part to its diverse Chicago food stylings, plus the addition of Hot Doug’s in the bleachers. The improved food options have been subtle, but impressive.

  • The Neighborhood and Atmosphere categories each received five-star rankings. The reviewer paints an ideal picture of what Wrigley Field looks like when you gaze upon the field, while the neighborhood receives high marks in part because of the “eclectic mix of bars, restaurants, stores and homes.”
  • Ball park access rates as four starts, which might be a bit high considering how crowded the Red Line can get after games and how much foot traffic around the stadium slows down (and sometimes re-routes) buses. That can be a nightmare for commuters going to-and-from the ball park, not to mention neighborhood residents. Still, Wrigley Field being accessible via multiple public transportation options is something the stadium has working in its favor.
  • Return On Investment garnered a five-star ranking, but it comes with a caveat. The reviewer highlights that ticket prices can get pricey during the summer, but also notes there can be good value had for games early in the season or in September if the Cubs are out of contention. Though, if 2015 provided a glimpse of things to come, the days of buying bargain tickets in September are probably in the rearview mirror.

Stadium Journey’s top four stadiums rank as follows: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, PNC Park, Busch Stadium and Fenway Park.

All things considered, Wrigley is in good company in the top five as it attempts to modernize and keep its charm.

Of course, not all of Wrigley’s reviews are swimmingly positive. A Huffington Post blog from April 2015 ranked the ball park food at Wrigley as the second worst in baseball. And even when Wrigley received a top-5 ranking from AOL, its ball park reviewer remarked: “We’re glad the Cubs decided to keep their old home intact, but there’s no two ways about it: Until renovation is complete, Wrigley is a dump.”

Rankings are usually subjective, and these are no different.

One could nit-pick particular rankings all day.

St. Louis has a ton of local food and craft beer options, but they aren’t as accessible at the park as they probably should be. Sometimes, there is too much going on in between pitches (canned audio) and innings (t-shirt slingshots manned by mascot Fredbird) and it doesn’t allow the game breathe at times. But Busch Stadium ranks third.

Miller Park has the football tailgate atmosphere down to a science and the in-house food and beer options are superb. But it only ranks 20th?

The atmosphere at Turner Field getting four stars seems high, considering the number of transplants and visitors who take over the park from series-to-series. And Dodger Stadium getting a four-star ranking for access despite the noted transit problems that cause so many late arrivals (and early departures) doesn’t feel accurate, either.

Considering that the White Sox and Cardinals sit at opposite ends of the fan attendance spectrum, both being worthy of five-star rankings in the “Fans” category doesn’t seem to fit.

Of course, I can only judge the stadiums I have been to so far.

My suggestion? Visit as many parks as you can and draw your own conclusions from your travels.

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