Baseball stadiums have gone through some major changes over the years. The original stadiums, like most buildings of the day, were beautifully designed and for the most part, functional. Sure, there were obstructed view seats here and there and not every section had convenient access to restrooms, but they were cathedrals, monuments to the country's beloved pastime. As attendance and revenues increased over the years, many of the original stadiums were razed in favor of larger, less intimate stadiums designed by architects who, some might argue, knew more about building codes than batting averages.
It made sense for ballparks to become larger, but the design choices of the 1960s and 1970s didn't retain the classic look and feel of what makes baseball parks unique. The oddly shaped, charming ballparks of days gone by were replaced by circular behemoths with limited architectural value that did little to honor the game. Old favorites like Yankee Stadium, Wrigley Field and Fenway Park remained, but many others were lost over the years.
In 1992, the Baltimore Orioles made a change that would reverberate through Major League Baseball, when they opened Oriole Park at Camden Yards. This was the first of what would become a trend in new stadium design and construction, and a major shift in how professional baseball was marketed. Starting with Camden Yards, new ballparks became a destination for fans, eager to see modern amenities coupled with a classic look. Retro was suddenly in fashion in MLB and the design mistakes of the past were destined to be corrected, city-by-city.
Because of the new throwback ballparks, attendance increased dramatically and a new summertime activity caught fire -- the baseball road trip. Fans of the game were inspired to travel to as many of the new stadiums as possible and drink in the atmosphere that the new digs provided. Road tripping to cities, mainly along the East Coast, became a rite of passage for the most diehard fans. But this kind of fanaticism comes at a price. In 2009, the average cost of a MLB ticket was $26.74 [source: Brown]. If you want to go to New York to check out the Mets or Yankees, plan on spending $36.99 and $72.97, respectively. Factor in the league average of $5.86 for a small beer, $3.70 for a hot dog and $15 for parking and you're looking at more than $50. Then add on the cost of travel, food and lodging.
Now imagine trying to go see one game in all 30 ballparks in a single season, the ultimate baseball road trip. Can it be done? Yes. Fear not, baseball fan -- we'll give you some tips and tricks on the next page.