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MLB’s best playoff ballparks: Ranking the most raucous places from replaceable to Phanatical

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During the recent American MLB’s League Wild Card Series, the importance of home-field advantage in baseball was evident, and it varied from one ballpark to another. The article highlights two contrasting examples:

  • Target Field: In one series, the Minnesota Twins utilized the loud crowd noise at Target Field to their advantage. The noise was so intense that it prevented the Toronto Blue Jays’ third-base coach from warning baserunners about a pickoff play. The Twins picked off Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and secured a series sweep.
  • Tropicana Field: In another series, the Tampa Bay Rays played in front of two of the smallest postseason crowds in the past century. Despite being an excellent team known for thriving on their underdog status, the Rays were swept by the Texas Rangers, a team with fewer regular-season wins. The empty seats and lack of crowd enthusiasm were palpable, signaling a lack of home-field advantage.

The article suggests that the impact of home-field advantage can vary significantly depending on the ballpark and the crowd’s engagement. Some ballparks, like Citizens Bank Park (home of the Philadelphia Phillies), are known for providing a strong home-field advantage, while others may not have the same effect.

Ultimately, the presence and energy of the crowd play a crucial role in enhancing home-field advantage during postseason baseball games.


No. 8: Arizona Diamondbacks

Team Venue Opened Capacity Att. (2023)
Chase Field 1998 48,405 24,212

In a memorable postseason moment, Game 7 of the 2001 World Series featured a matchup between two 20-game winners, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling, and ended with Luis Gonzalez’s bloop single that scored Jay Bell, denying the New York Yankees their fourth consecutive title. This game is often regarded as one of the greatest postseason games in baseball history.

The article then discusses the current postseason, focusing on the Arizona Diamondbacks’ chances in a division series showdown with the Los Angeles Dodgers. While acknowledging the positive aspects of Arizona’s ballpark, including the pool and retractable roof, the article expresses concern that the presence of a significant number of Dodgers fans in the crowd at Chase Field could nullify the home-field advantage. Despite this concern, the article ultimately gives credit to Arizona fans and their dedication to supporting their team.


No. 7: Texas Rangers

Team Venue Opened Capacity Att. (2023)
Globe Life Field 2020 40,300 31,272

A memorable postseason moment mentioned in the article is the fact that there have been 16 postseason games in Globe Life Field’s history, but the Texas Rangers have never played a playoff game at their new stadium. In 2020, the Los Angeles Dodgers played all 16 of those postseason games at Globe Life Field, eventually winning the World Series.

The article’s take is that Globe Life Field remains somewhat of an unknown in terms of its postseason atmosphere since it opened during a season without fans and the Rangers had losing seasons in 2021 and 2022. Therefore, it’s difficult to rank the ballpark’s postseason environment higher until there’s more experience with it during meaningful October baseball games.

The article mentions that the old Rangers ballpark used to create a Texas-sized atmosphere with a vibe worthy of musicians like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Pat Green. However, the new Globe Life Field, at least during the regular season, has felt more like a multi-events space that also happens to host baseball games. The article speculates that perhaps the atmosphere in the new ballpark might change during the playoffs.

The Rangers haven’t played at home since September 24, and Globe Life Field, with its closed roof that contains noise, could potentially get very loud during the playoffs. The article suggests that nothing can transform a ballpark into a true baseball atmosphere like a late-inning rally in October.


No. 6: Minnesota Twins

Team Venue Opened Capacity Att. (2023)
Target Field 2010 38,544 24,371

The memorable postseason moment for the Minnesota Twins in the 2022 playoffs was when they broke an 18-game postseason losing streak with two home runs hit by rookie Royce Lewis. This victory happened on Tuesday, and it was their first playoff win since October 5, 2004. The Twins then completed a Wild Card sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday, marking their first postseason series win since 2002. The cheers and roars heard at Target Field during these victories were a long-awaited moment for Twins fans, spanning more than two decades.

The take on the atmosphere at Target Field during the 2022 postseason is that Twins fans can generate quite a bit of noise. In Game 1 against the Toronto Blue Jays, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli was impressed by the fan support, stating that he thought the stadium was going to “split open and melt.” The fans’ energy and noise level were exceptional, and they played a significant role in the team’s victory.

This electric atmosphere continued in Game 2, and it even affected the opposing team, as Blue Jays baserunners couldn’t hear their third-base coach due to the crowd noise. Twins pitcher Sonny Gray acknowledged the incredible support from the fans and praised their impact on the games.

While Twins fans have shown strong support for their team, it may not be as intimidating to opponents as some other ballparks. Target Field is considered a great place to play, with enthusiastic fans, but it may not have the same potential for overwhelming volume as some other stadiums. However, during this postseason, Twins fans have the opportunity to prove that they can create an intimidating atmosphere that strikes fear in their opponents.


No. 5: Houston Astros

Team Venue Opened Capacity Att. (2023)
Minute Maid Park 2000 41,168 37,683

Memorable postseason moment: Albert Pujols off Brad Lidge? Jorge Soler to the moon? Nah, we’ll go with Chris Burke ending what was then the longest game in MLB postseason history in both time (5 hours, 50 minutes) and innings (18) with a walk-off home run with one out in the 18th inning in the 2005 NLDS. Burke didn’t start the game but pinch-ran for Lance Berkman in the 10th. Roger Clemens came into the game for Houston in the 16th and pitched three scoreless to pick up the win. But it is Burke’s homer that will always be remembered.

Our take: We get it, Houston. We also think your ballpark should be in the top half of this list. One of our writers called it “the loudest stadium I’ve ever attended, by at least one standard deviation.” The Astros sold out the building 23 times this year. They drew 3 million fans for the first time since 2007. Minute Maid Park is big and loud, and visiting fans show up fully exhausted from walking in the south Texas sun.

The dynamics of home-field advantage in baseball can vary significantly from one ballpark to another, and it’s clear that factors such as crowd noise, ballpark design, and team performance can all play a role. In some cases, a team’s home stadium may provide a significant advantage, while in others, it may not be as intimidating to opposing teams.

It’s interesting to see how different ballparks impact the atmosphere of postseason games and how fans can influence the game. Crowd noise and the energy of fans can certainly play a role in creating a hostile environment for visiting teams, but it’s not always the sole determinant of a team’s success at home.

Ultimately, the performance of the team on the field, their familiarity with the ballpark, and other factors like weather conditions and pitching matchups can also contribute to home-field advantage. Each ballpark has its unique characteristics, and what works as an advantage for one team may not be the same for another.

In the end, the atmosphere and energy of the postseason can be a game-changer, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to determining which team has the edge in a playoff series.


No. 4: Atlanta Braves

Team Venue Opened Capacity Att. (2023)
Truist Park 2017 41,084 39,401

The atmosphere at Truist Park during Braves games, especially in the postseason, can be electric, with passionate fans and iconic traditions like the Tomahawk Chop. While the use of such traditions has been a subject of controversy and debate, there’s no denying that the crowd’s energy and involvement can have a significant impact on the game.

As the Braves enter the postseason with a strong roster and high expectations, the combination of a talented team and a passionate fan base could make Truist Park a challenging place for opposing teams to play. The atmosphere in the ballpark, with fans rallying behind their team, can indeed add to the excitement of the game and create a memorable experience for everyone involved.

Ultimately, the postseason is a time when fans come together to support their team, and the energy in the ballpark can play a role in creating lasting memories, regardless of the outcome.

Truist Park’s impressive attendance numbers and the consistent success of the Atlanta Braves in recent years have created a strong and enthusiastic fan base. With six consecutive division titles and a rich history of postseason appearances, Braves fans are no strangers to October baseball. The loyal fan base will undoubtedly fill the ballpark and make their presence felt as they support their team on the playoff journey.

The combination of a winning team and passionate fans can create an electric atmosphere in the ballpark, making it a challenging place for opposing teams to play. Regardless of the outcome, the fans’ unwavering support adds to the excitement of postseason baseball and showcases the strong connection between the Braves and their dedicated fan base.

The Braves and their fans have a shared history of success and a bright future ahead, and the postseason at Truist Park promises to be an unforgettable experience for everyone involved.


No. 3: Baltimore Orioles

Team Venue Opened Capacity Att. (2023)
Oriole Park at Camden Yards 1992 44,970 23,911

Notable Postseason Memory: The 2014 ALDS witnessed a remarkable moment when Delmon Young’s three-run double in the eighth inning of Game 2 orchestrated the Orioles’ comeback from a three-run deficit to defeat the Tigers. Zack Britton delivered a flawless ninth inning, propelling the Orioles to triumph over the Tigers in Game 3 in Detroit, sweeping the series, although they would eventually succumb to the Royals in the ALCS.

Our Perspective: The quality of Camden Yards as a ballpark is intricately linked to the Baltimore Orioles’ performance. When the team is struggling, the ballpark’s charm and distinctiveness can be overshadowed by empty seats and the invasion of fans from East Coast teams, who turn it into a secondary home stadium, often dominating with their spirited chants like “Let’s go, Yankees.”

However, when the Orioles are excelling, Camden Yards transforms into one of the nation’s premier ballparks. The pregame rituals are emblematic of this transformation, with every rendition of the national anthem featuring the entire crowd enthusiastically shouting “O!” in unison. The sheer volume of this collective voice is so overwhelming that it drowns out the word “say” before the singer reaches the line “does that star-spangled banner yet wave.” This showcases the passionate connection between the team and its fervent supporters.

Indeed, it’s evident that the Orioles are having a fantastic season, and we anticipate that Camden Yards will mirror their success. The Orioles have accumulated the second-highest number of victories in baseball, and this achievement has been met with an impressive surge in home attendance, surpassing last year’s figures by over half a million. While a young Orioles lineup might face challenges on the road, when playing at home, they will be hailed as heroes right from the beginning.

We can only hope that when the Orioles are on the road, manager Brandon Hyde doesn’t overlook the importance of deploying his top reliever in a crucial game. Such an oversight could have significant consequences.


No. 2: Los Angeles Dodgers

Team Venue Opened Capacity Att. (2023)
Dodger Stadium 1962 56,000 47,371

Memorable postseason moment: One of the most iconic moments in World Series history occurred in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series when Kirk Gibson, hobbled by injuries, stepped in against Hall of Fame pitcher Dennis Eckersley with two outs and a runner on in the ninth inning. The Dodgers were down by one run and down to their last out. Despite his physical limitations, Gibson managed to hit a walk-off home run into the right-field seats, making his way around the bases in dramatic fashion.

Our take: While there may be jokes about traffic delaying fans’ arrival to the ballpark, Dodger Stadium eventually fills up, and during playoff games, it becomes a cauldron of intensity. Despite the more laid-back reputation of Los Angeles, the late innings of postseason games at Dodger Stadium are electric, and the massive four-deck stadium adds to the atmosphere. With a seating capacity of around 50,000, it consistently ranks as the ballpark with the highest total attendance in baseball.

The intense crowd noise, the unique four-deck structure, and the iconic status of Dodger Stadium create a formidable environment for opposing teams. Players appreciate the support of the passionate fan base and the distinct character of the ballpark. Additionally, the Dodger Stadium DJ adds to the energetic atmosphere with loud and engaging music, contributing to the overall intimidation factor for visiting teams. Dodger Stadium embraces its identity and uses it to its full advantage, making it a challenging venue for opponents.


No. 1: Philadelphia Phillies

Team Venue Opened Capacity Att. (2023)
Citizens Bank Park 2004 42,792 38,157

Memorable postseason moment: Citizens Bank Park has been the site of two of the three no-hitters in postseason history, and fans would prefer to remember the historic one. Roy Halladay’s 2010 no-hitter in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Reds is etched in baseball history. In his first postseason start, Halladay allowed only one baserunner, walking Jay Bruce with two outs in the fifth inning.

Our take: Philadelphia fans are known for their passion and intensity, which can create a unique and sometimes polarizing atmosphere at Citizens Bank Park. While they have a reputation for their demanding and passionate support, they’ve also been involved in some infamous incidents. The Phanatic mascot adds to the ballpark’s charm by engaging in playful taunting of opponents.

The Phillies and their fans have the capacity to generate memorable moments, as evidenced by the recent grand slam and the electric reaction from the crowd. Playing at Citizens Bank Park can be an unforgettable experience, and it can become a hostile environment for visiting teams when the Phillies are in contention.

“I yelled at the dugout and couldn’t even hear myself,” Stott remarked. “So, I knew the crowd was loud. Whenever we get to play here, you can expect it to be loud right from the first pitch. I wouldn’t want to play anywhere else. It’s an extraordinary experience every time we step onto the field here during the postseason.”

“I’ve consistently said it—we have the best fans in baseball,” Bryce Harper chimed in. “It’s an incredible place to play.”

(Top photoGetty Images)

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