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Baseball Along the Water: MLB’s Best Waterfront Ballparks

PNC Park

The backdrops at Major League Baseball ballparks often stand out as distinguished characteristics, and that is certainly true of waterfront ballparks. Many of today’s facilities manage to incorporate waterfront views into their design, making their backdrops one of the focal points of the game day experience.

While there are examples of ballparks with waterfront views throughout professional baseball, a handful of facilities in the majors have set themselves apart. We take a look at the best waterfront views in MLB.

When it comes to major league ballparks with waterfront views, the two ballparks that arguably reflect the highest standard are PNC Park—home of the Pittsburgh Pirates—and AT&T Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants.

AT&T Park has been widely hailed as one of the best ballparks in the majors since opening in 2000, and that distinction is owed at least in part to its backdrop. The ballpark offers sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay, with the water becoming a destination for many home runs over the years. As a result, it is not uncommon to see fans parked in kayaks beyond the right field wall, making the bay a part of AT&T Park’s game day experience.

Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, PNC Park is the rare ballpark that captures both the water and city skyline in the same backdrop. With its location across the Allegheny River from downtown Pittsburgh, PNC Park offers a striking view throughout most of the facility, something that has helped make the ballpark one of baseball’s most highly regarded since its opening in 2001. The ballpark’s location is also a central part of the fan experience, as many fans walk across the Roberto Clemente Bridge from downtown to PNC Park on game days.

Another exceptional waterfront view comes from Great American Ball Park, the home of the Cincinnati Reds. While its view is not as vast as AT&T Park’s nor as striking as PNC Park’s, Great American Ball Park’s location along the banks of the Ohio River gives it distinct backdrop. Homages to the river are even incorporated into some design aspects of the ballpark, such as the Riverboat Deck—a party area above the centerfield batter’s eye.

There are some instances of ballparks that do not feature a waterfront backdrop, but where a body of water is visible from portions of the venue. Some sections of Nationals Park offer views of the Anacostia River, making it one of several landmarks that can be seen from the facility.

Fans attending Seattle Mariners games at Safeco Field are able to take in views of nearby Puget Sound. CenturyLink Field—home of the NFL’s Seahawks and MLS’s Sounders—and downtown Seattle serve as Safeco Field’s main backdrop, but Puget Sound is visible from some parts of the ballpark, sometimes allowing for striking sunsets to be a part of the scenery.

This article first appeared in the Ballpark Digest newsletter. Are you a subscriber? It’s free, and you’ll see features like this before they appear on the Web. Go here to subscribe to the Ballpark Digest newsletter.

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