wrigley300

Joe Posnanski ranks all 30 MLB ballparks

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So I’ve been to all 30 ballparks … and the thing that’s easy to forget is baseball has never had so many gorgeous ballparks. I grew up in the 1970s and early 1980s when ballparks were dumps. There were almost no exceptions.

This is the golden age.

Here is my ranking of all 30 ballparks:

No. 30: O.co Coliseum (Oakland A’s): Not good for football either.

No. 29: Tropicana Field (Tampa Bay Rays): Dark and depressing spot in the middle of sunny Florida.

No. 28: U.S. Cellular Field (Chicago White Sox): I want to like it more than I do.

No. 27: Rogers Centre (Toronto Blue Jays): Still fun to watch roof open and close. But Astroturf? In 2014?

No. 26 Turner Field (Atlanta Braves): Nice enough, but antiseptic. Anyway, the Braves are leaving.

No. 25: Great American Ball Park (Cincinnati Reds): Great Hall of Fame.

No. 24: Marlins Park (Miami Marlins): Points for being different, but too gaudy for my tastes.

No. 23 Chase Field (Arizona Diamondbacks): Swimming pool is most notable feature.

No. 22: Nationals Park (Washington Nationals): Wish it had more Washington character.

No. 21 Globe Life Park in Arlington (Texas Rangers): How many different names can one ballpark have?

No. 20: Yankee Stadium (New York Yankees): Hard to balance old and new; I don’t think they quite got it.

No. 19: Citi Field (New York Mets): Even a romantic like me was ready to lose Shea Stadium.

No. 18 Minute Maid Park (Houston Astros): Fan of Tal’s incline in center – an homage to old Crosley Field.

No. 17: Angel Stadium of Anaheim (Los Angeles Angels): You often find it at bottom of such lists, but I love everything about it. I’m instantly happy just walking in.

No. 16: Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers): Excellent park but it doesn’t quite stand out in today’s competitive world of ballparks.

[ RELATED: A different opinion on ranking all 30 parks ]

No. 15 Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia Phillies): Beautiful ballpark, lots of fun when Phillies were winning.

No. 14 Comerica Park (Detroit Tigers): Really grown on me through the years, thoroughly underrated.

No. 13: Busch Stadium (St. Louis Cardinals): Not overly thrilled with design but it instantly infused with Cardinals passion.

No. 12: Progressive Field (Cleveland Indians): Was a Top 10 ballpark in its heyday, and still is pretty fantastic … but small crowds can be depressing.

No. 11: Coors Field (Colorado Rockies): Beautiful and the baseball there is singular.

No. 10 Kauffman Stadium (Kansas City Royals): A wonderful place to watch baseball and has been since it was built in 1973.

No. 9: Target Field (Minnesota Twins): Love the way it fits snugly into the Minnesota downtown.

No. 8: Petco Park (San Diego Padres): Gorgeous ballpark in San Diego – how could it miss?

No. 7: Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles Dodgers): Showing some age, but still spectacular.

No. 6: Safeco Field (Seattle Mariners): If the Mariners start winning, this scene could be like San Francisco.

No. 5 Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles): Just a wonderful little ballpark in a wonderful baseball city.

No. 4 Fenway Park (Boston Red Sox): Inconvenient, crumbling, lousy sightlines and magical.

No. 3 PNC Park (Pittsburgh Pirates): So fantastic, I’m surprised every single time I go.

No, 2 AT&T Park (San Francisco Giants): Like PNC Park with a bay and a full house every night.

No. 1 Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs): Of course.

[ MORE: FIND OUT WHY WRIGLEY FIELD IS NO. 1]

Rob Manfred on robot umps: “In general, I would be a keep-the-human-element-in-the-game guy.”

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 5:  Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred talks with media prior to a game between the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on April 5, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
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Craig covered the bulk of Rob Manfred’s quotes from earlier. The commissioner was asked about robot umpires and he’s not a fan. Via Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:

Manfred was wrong to blame the player’s union’s “lack of cooperation” on proposed rule changes, but he’s right about robot umps and the strike zone. The obvious point is that robot umps cannot yet call balls and strikes with greater accuracy than umpires. Those strike zone Twitter accounts, such as this, are sometimes hilariously wrong. Even the strike zone graphics used on television are incorrect and unfortunate percentage of the time.

The first issue to consider about robot umps is taking jobs away from people. There are 99 umps and more in the minors. If robot umpiring was adopted in collegiate baseball, as well as the independent leagues, that’s even more umpires out of work. Is it worth it for an extra one or two percent improvement in accuracy?

Personally, the fallibility of the umpires adds more intrigue to baseball games. There’s strategy involved, as each umpire has tendencies which teams can strategize against. For instance, an umpire with a more generous-than-average strike zone on the outer portion of the plate might entice a pitcher to pepper that area with more sliders than he would otherwise throw. Hitters, knowing an umpire with a smaller strike zone is behind the dish, may take more pitches in an attempt to draw a walk. Or, knowing that information, a hitter may swing for the fences on a 3-0 pitch knowing the pitcher has to throw in a very specific area to guarantee a strike call or else give up a walk.

The umpires make their mistakes in random fashion, so it adds a chaotic, unpredictable element to the game as well. It feels bad when one of those calls goes against your team, but fans often forget the myriad calls that previously went in their teams’ favor. The mistakes will mostly even out in the end.

I haven’t had the opportunity to say this often, but Rob Manfred is right in this instance.

Report: MLB approves new rule allowing a dugout signal for an intentional walk

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 29:  MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred laughs during a ceremony naming the 2016 winners of the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award and the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award before Game Four of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field on October 29, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
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ESPN’s Howard Bryant is reporting that Major League Baseball has approved a rule allowing for a dugout signal for an intentional walk. In other words, baseball is allowing automatic intentional walks. Bryant adds that this rule will be effective for the 2017 season.

MLB has been trying, particularly this month, to improve the pace of play. Getting rid of the formality of throwing four pitches wide of the strike zone will save a minute or two for each intentional walk. There were 932 of them across 2,428 games last season, an average of one intentional walk every 2.6 games. It’s not the biggest improvement, but it’s something at least.

Earlier, Commissioner Rob Manfred was upset with the players’ union’s “lack of cooperation.” Perhaps his public criticism was the catalyst for getting this rule passed.

Unfortunately, getting rid of the intentional walk formality will eradicate the chance of seeing any more moments like this: