Visiting a major league ballpark for the first time can be a wondrous experience.
I remember going to my first Blue Jays game at old Exhibition Stadium in Toronto in the mid-1980s.
I was around 12 years old and at the time, and Exhibition Stadium seemed larger than life. Looking back now, it wasn’t really that big. But I was just a kid.
Fast forward a few years and that feeling was multiplied by 100 when I first set foot in the Skydome, now called Rogers Centre, during its inaugural season in 1989.
It had the first retractable roof! The bronze figures bursting out from the stadium’s exterior wall were (and still are to this day) incredible, the grass — albeit fake — was so lusciously green, and the buzz inside the stadium was palpable.
Most people who have been to the dome since the Blue Jays’ glory years of 1992 and ’93 now often complain about the characterless and cavernous ballpark we now have. And baseball fans in Toronto feel that way after taking note of what other ballparks have been built around the major leagues since the early ’90s.
So it comes as no surprise that Forbes has ranked Rogers Centre 22nd on its list of the best current-day stadiums in Major League Baseball. In other words, the Jays play in the ninth lousiest stadium in majors.
The calculation is based on criteria such as the ballpark design, setting, surrounding views and historic relevance.
Toronto is a long way from the top of the Forbes list, which is occupied by AT&T Park in San Francisco, the home of the Giants. Rounding out the top five are stadiums in Baltimore, St. Louis, Los Angeles (Dodgers) and Pittsburgh.
But at least the dome isn’t last on the list. That honour goes to another domed stadium — the gloomy, miserable, godawful Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays.