California’s Major League Ballparks And The Unique Experiences That Make Them Great

Written By Darren Cooper on April 18, 2022
Ballparks In California Are Unique In Their Own Ways

Each of California’s five major league ballparks has a distinctive feel.

There’s the Big A in Anaheim, picturesque Petco Park in San Diego, McCovey Cove just outside of Oracle Park, and, of course, historic Dodger Stadium.

By rule, we have to mention the Oakland Coliseum. Unfortunately, though, it honestly feels like the end for the Athletics.

Here is what is waiting at each of the five ballparks for California baseball fans:

Petco Park, San Diego Padres

  • Capacity: 42,445
  • Ticket prices (on a scale of low to crazy): Reasonable.

Petco Park opened in 2004 and was quickly hailed as one of the best stadiums in Major League Baseball. Some of the luster has dimmed and the Padres have struggled on the field.

Petco features views of San Diego Bay and the city skyline. There’s a standing room only area in Gallagher Park. The food to try is the Tri-Tip nachos from the Seaside Market. They also have a large vegetarian and gluten-free menu.

Don’t forget to say hi to the Swingin’ Friar mascot.

Is the team worth watching? The Padres created some buzz last season but finished 79-83. That was the most wins they’d had in a year since 2010. If this team starts winning, Petco will be jammed.

Oracle Park, San Francisco Giants

  • Capacity: 41,915
  • Ticket prices: On the high side, but they offer deals.

People don’t even remember Candlestick Park anymore, with good reason. When Oracle Park opened in 2000, the Giants found the perfect home, situated right on the San Francisco Bay.

Homers that fly over the right-field fence land in “McCovey Cove” named for the famous Giants slugger (Willie, not Barry Bonds). They are called “splash hits.”

Oracle Park has an actual garden under the scoreboard, and a good food menu including a crazy crab sandwich and the Impossible Burger, the plant-based beef burger.

Is the team worth watching? The Giants are defending NL West champs and won 107 games last year. They may not be that good this year, but still a good team.

Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Los Angeles Angels

  • Capacity 45,050
  • Ticket prices: Extremely reasonable.

Hard to believe but Angels Stadium, better known as the Big A is now the fourth oldest ballpark in the majors. There are plans for the team to stay through 2050 and for the stadium to be improved. I had the best seats for a major league game I ever had here, ninth row behind the dugout and paid very little.

It’s a modern ballpark, but since they put the Big A out in the parking lot, it doesn’t have a ton of unique features. The food menu is standard, but the chronic tacos are legit.

Is the team worth watching? The Angels haven’t had a winning season since 2015, and last won the World Series in 2002. But any team with superstars Mike Trout and two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani is must-see.

Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles Dodgers

Capacity: 56,000
Ticket price: High, baby.

This year is the 60th anniversary of Dodger Stadium at Chavez Ravine and every baseball fan has to come here at least once. The Dodgers are adding a Sandy Koufax statue on June 18 and the stadium has murals painted on either side marking the anniversary.

Food choices? A Dodger Dog of course. They even have plant-based Dodger dogs now. There’s also Dole Whip (if you don’t know, it’s pineapple soft serve and delicious). On Fireworks Fridays fans are still invited to watch from the outfield.

Is the team worth watching? The payroll is massive. The Dodgers are the World Series favorite this year after winning the title in 2020. There are stars in the sky, stars on the field and always lots of cars in the parking lot at Dodger Stadium.

RingCentral Coliseum, Oakland A’s

  • Capacity: 46,847 with the top sections tarped off
  • Ticket prices: Low

The A’s are still working to secure a new ballpark location in downtown Oakland. It’s long overdue, but if it doesn’t happen, they could be moving to Las Vegas.

The Coliseum is old, but it does have some charm. The Treehouse is above the left field bleachers and has two big bars and a TV to watch the game, plus the Stomping Ground is a play area designed for kids to have some fun.

Is the team worth watching? The A’s have slashed payroll again, yet somehow always remain competitive. They went 86-76 last year, but haven’t won a playoff series since 2006.

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Darren Cooper

Darren Cooper was born and raised in Southern Louisiana, just a short pirogue ride away from New Orleans. He started his journalism career at the New Orleans Times-Picayune and has been a writer and columnist in New Jersey since 1998. He's won 14 statewide press awards and earned his first Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 award in 2022.

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