Tom Jones' 2 cents

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Five worst stadiums in sports

20

July

Tropicana Field continues to get knocked around by the national media and now even the Rays have joined in the criticism. But you know what? It's not among the worst five sports stadiums in the country. Among the worst five in baseball? Yeah, probably, we'll give you that. But not among the worst five in all of American pro sports. Here's a list of the worst five stadiums in sports.

metrodome.jpg1. The Metrodome, Minneapolis
This was the worst stadium in sports even before the roof caved in last year. It's dark, dank, stale, depressing, colorless, it smells weird and the sound is awful. The seats are plastic. It looks like the architects ran out of ideas and decided to tear up a bunch of garbage bags and hang them from the walls. And the turf looks like the grass in the backyard of the Brady Bunch house. And how silly is this: it was the baseball team and not the football team that decided to move out even though you're supposed to brave the elements to watch football.

oakland.jpg2. Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland
This stadium has had like a billion names, so let's just call it by its original name. Anyway, it's where the A's and Raiders play -- and where they have played mostly since the 1960s. For baseball, the foul territory is so big that fans in the first row feel like they're in a different area code. Then again, considering the way the A's are playing this season, maybe it's good that fans have trouble seeing the action.

candlestick.jpg3. Candlestick Park, San Francisco
The long-time home of the Giants now hosts only the 49ers. Those who designed the stadium must have not realized that the stadium would be located in one of the most beautiful places in the country -- Northern California -- because you can't see outside the stadium from the seats. The bowl-shaped design means fans often are pounded with fog and blustery winds. Maybe fans were willing to put up with it when Montana was throwing to Rice, but not these days.

sunlife.jpg4. Sun Life Stadium, South Florida
For football, it's not too bad. For baseball, it's worse than Tropicana Field because it's a baseball field jammed into a football stadium. For all those who complain that the Trop is a dome, go to a Marlins game on an August afternoon when it's 94 degrees and a good chance of a thunderstorm and then let's hear your thoughts on a domed stadium. Then throw in the fact that last year, 93 percent of vendors at Sun Life Stadium earned "critical violations''of the health code. To be fair, the Trop was worse when it came to the health code. But at least you could eat the bad food in air conditioning.

fenway.jpg5. Fenway Park, Boston
Okay, I know I'll get killed on this one because Fenway is considered one of the legendary venues in all of sports. And people from Boston certainly will rip into me, believing I hate the Red Sox or am a big Rays fan or some such absurd thing. Truth is, I'm not from here or Boston. Or New York either. The fact is, going to Fenway is not that great of an experience. Getting there and trying to find a place to park is a nightmare and forget about doing it cheaply. Once you fight your way inside the stadium, the concourses and seats are cramped and uncomfortable. The Green Monster, Pesky's Pole and that zig-zag outfield wall make for difficult sightlines for some and often make the game feel "tricked up,'' so to speak. Frankly, it looks like a stadium that was opened in 1912. Watching a game from Fenway on TV is a pretty cool experience, but in person, it's not all it's cracked up to be. I'm not the first to have this thought: even the Yankees got with the times and decided to leave their legendary stadium for new, state-of-the-art digs.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 1:21pm]

    

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