Major League Baseball's 2013 postseason is right around the corner. Soon will be a time when people forget about A-Rod and the Biogenesis allegations and begin to think of meaningful games played in great baseball cities with passionate fan bases; games that will eventually lead to the Fall Classic, also known as the World Series.
Attending a World Series is a magical event, often a "once in a lifetime" type situation for an individual. Great action on the field can make the experience, but the quality and atmosphere of the host ballpark(s) set the tone. Traits such as crowd energy, home fan friendliness, seat quality, ballpark food options and proximity to bars for post-game celebratory drinks define a great World Series host ballpark.
Currently, there are ten teams with a better than average chance of qualifying for extra baseball. Out of the ten teams, the following four have ideal ballparks for hosting a World Series and should be attended at all costs:
Busch Stadium - St. Louis Cardinals
St. Louis is a baseball city bar none. This translates into the Cardinals having some of the most knowledgeable and courteous fans in the game. Whether routing for the Red Birds or not, expect respectful treatment from your seat neighbors. Speaking of seats, their views are mostly all good. This rendition of Busch Stadium is relatively new, having opened in 2006. The ballpark, for all its newness, has had a good amount of experience in hosting these postseason forays. The Cardinals co-hosted and won the World Series in 2006 and 2011. Busch Stadium knows how to throw a party, especially when their guys win. Check out the "Outfield" at Mike Shannon's Steaks and Seafood for post-game drinks.
Busch Stadium erupting after Cardinals' 2013 World Series win — Photo courtesy of St. Louis Cardinals
Fenway Park - Boston Red Sox
Fenway Park has played host to such legendary World Series performances and players that you get goosebumps upon entering the 100 year old park. The stadium is small and even cramped, but it gives you a sense of supreme connection to the 30,000 plus revelers on hand. Fenway has some of the most innovative seating options to watch a World Series game, with the Monster Seats and Budweiser Roof Deck. Make sure to grab a pre-game sausage from a vendor on Landsdowne Street, and be sure to talk a little smack with them if you're not rooting for the Sox.
Great American Ballpark - Cincinnati Reds
Great American Ballpark is relatively new (new = good seating views from all levels), and is consistently rates a top MLB ballpark. It's right on the water, with picturesque views of the Ohio River and Cincinnati skyline. The field plays small, which leads to the possibility of games filled with many home runs and late-inning heroics (rumor has it chicks dig the long ball). The ballpark-created "cheese coney" (hotdog) topped with the famed Skyline chili is a must-have. Reds' fans have been craving a World Series in this ballpark, so expect their passionate fans to be bat crazy if they get one this year.
Reds fans love the game and show respect for a good performance — Photo courtesy of Cincinnati Reds
PNC Park - Pittsburgh Pirates
PNC Park, like Great American, was built facing a waterway (Allegheny River) that provides a beautiful backdrop for a ballgame. If you can resonate with resilience and perseverance, you will fit in well at a postseason game at PNC. The Pirates haven't made the playoffs in over 20 years, and haven't sniffed a World Series appearance since 1979. They seem primed to accomplish at least the former in 2013. Be prepared to sit with a rambunctious, blue collar crowd that loves and respects the game. PNC has the Rivertowne Brewing Company setup in the outfield, serving up craft beers before, during and after the game.