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9 Best Cities To Watch An MLB Home Opener

by: Howard Cosmell On  Thursday, March 31, 2011
Tags:  Baseball   Braves   Cardinals   Giants   MLB   Opening Day  

Opening day is something special, even for the most casual of baseball fans. It serves to let us know that winter is over, and we can shed our layers and get back outside. For the more die-hard fans, it represents the optimism of a new season and a look at the team you’ll be spending the next eight months with. And for everyone, it means beer and hot dogs until you can’t move. Here are the best cities for their home openers.

9. Arlington, Texas
Now, Texas has never really been a hotbed of baseball passion, but the success of the Rangers has given fans an optimism they’ve never had before. Couple that with the fact that March/April are the only two months that aren’t oppressively hot or cold all year, and the season opener is an event here that might actually be taking on some meaning. Stay tuned.
 
 
 
8. San Diego
San Diego doesn’t have the most engaged sports fans in the US, but that’s understandable. When one lives in a city as nice as SD, it seems a little silly to put too much stock in local sports teams when there’s so much you could be doing yourself. Well, the downtown charm of PETCO Park, combined with the fact that the weather in San Diego is always perfect means that this town makes the list, even if no one in the stadium can name your five-man rotation.

7. St. Louis
A baseball town through and through, Busch Stadium is Mecca for many baseball fans. Bob Costas, can live anywhere in the US, and he chooses St. Louis for the baseball. And if it’s good enough for Costas, don’t you think it’s good enough for you? What? You think you’re better than Costas? You’re dead wrong. I often find all the tradition and pageantry of baseball to be a little annoying, but if it’s your thing, there’s no better place to spend opening day than in St. Louis.

6. San Francisco
Granted, this year might be the best year ever to see the home opener in San Fran. In case you didn’t notice (spoiler alert!), they won the World Series. So a pretty strong baseball town is becoming an insufferably smug baseball town. And it was a pretty smug town to begin with. Of course, if you’re a Giants fan, you’ll be completely fine with the new attitude. And if you’re not…why the hell are you going to the Giants home opener?

Also, the opener will be great as you watch the fans distance themselves from Barry Bonds as his trial begins. “Barry who? Never heard of ‘em.”

5. Baltimore
Almost two decades into the life of Camden Yards and still universally agreed that this is the best place to watch Major League Baseball in the country. Even The Wire couldn’t set back Baltimore from a baseball standpoint. It’s a retro ballpark that isn’t all up in your face about it, it’s got stuff to do should the game get out of hand, and the food is said to be among the best in the country. Granted, they finished 30 games out of their division last year, but isn’t opening day all about optimism? I vote yes. That and getting drunk when you should be at work.

4. Philadelphia
Citizens Bank Park is a pretty good place to watch a game, save for the fact that it’s a little further outside of downtown than I would like. Phillies fans (or any Philadelphia sports fans) aren’t exactly my cup of tea, as they regularly hold contests to see who can project the most vomit on little girls and often beat orphans with socks full of batteries during the 7th inning stretch, but they’ve had a run of luck recently. Further, “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” does the tailgate scene justice.

3. Atlanta
Having clenched the wild-card last year, things look up for the Braves. Like Texas, the weather in the ATL only lends itself to three bearable months per year, so gather ye rosebuds will you can, Braves fans. Granted, they might not have the rotation that they did in 1992, but lightening doesn’t strike twice.
 
 
 
2. Detroit
A .500 team in a city that’s looking more and more like cold-war Warsaw every day. Why would this park make the list? Because when so much is going wrong in Detroit, its residents have done a pretty spectacular job of banding around their sports teams for some semblance of optimism and community. Cause when you’re city is getting overrun with feral dogs, and all your hope is put into a rendition of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame,” a special thing is happening.

1. New York (Yankees)
I know, I know. Red Sox fans, leave your death threats in the comments. There’s something about the first game in New York, when you see all the fans on the train, decked out in their gear that isn’t replicated anywhere in the nation, not even in Boston. Further, Boston, despite being three hours away, is a LOT colder than NYC is this time of year, creating a much more hospitable environment in the Bronx. You don’t have to like the Yankees, but you should probably respect them (if not their fans). Though their stadium is new(ish), they have done a good job of preserving the history of the most storied franchise in all of America’s sports history. Not a bad place to spend opening day.




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