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]

Eric Hosmer’s eight-year, $144 million contract isn’t that bad

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Late Saturday night, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the Padres and first baseman Eric Hosmer agreed to an eight-year, $144 million contract, the new largest contract in club history. According to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports, the contract includes an opt-out after the fifth year. Further, Hosmer will average $21 million per year for those first five years and $13 million for the final three years, so it’s severely front-loaded.

Hosmer, 28, had a career year last season, playing in all 162 games while batting .318/.385/.498 with 25 home runs, 94 RBI, and 98 runs scored in 671 plate appearances. Per Baseball Reference, Hosmer accrued 4.0 Wins Above Replacement, only one of six first basemen to do so. At No. 6, he was 0.4 WAR behind Anthony Rizzo and 0.4 WAR ahead of Logan Morrison.

Wil Myers had previously told the Padres he would accept a position change if the club were to sign Hosmer. He will be moving to the outfield as a result. The Padres now have a logjam in the outfield, so Jose Pirela could move moved to the infield. How the Padres plan to handle that situation remains to be seen.

The general consensus about the Hosmer signing once news broke was that it is laughably bad. Back in November, Dave Cameron — ironically now in the Padres’ front office — called Hosmer a “free agent landmine.” That thought hasn’t really changed among many writers. For example, using restraint, Dennis Lin of The Athletic calls the deal “a big gamble.” MLB Network’s Brian Kenny said Hosmer has at least three “red flags.”

FanGraphs projects the Padres to finish 71-91, so adding Hosmer isn’t likely to transform the club into a contender on his own. That being said, the Padres’ payroll was only at $70 million prior to the Hosmer signing, so the contract won’t hamstring them going forward. If the young nucleus of players — including Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe — perform as expected, the Padres could be a threat in the NL West relatively soon with plenty of cheap, cost-controlled players and having some experienced veterans like Hosmer and Myers could be useful for their intangibles — pennant race/playoff experience, clubhouse presence, leadership, etc.

Hosmer has had three seasons of 3.5 WAR or more, according to Baseball Reference. He’s had four between -0.5 and 1.0. Now entering his age-28 season, it’s hardly a guarantee he’ll be an All-Star-caliber player in 2018, let alone in 2022 when he is 32 years old. From a strict dollars-to-WAR standpoint in a complete vacuum, one could’ve done better than Hosmer at eight years, $144 million.

The Padres, however, aren’t a small market team; they just operate like one. Forbes valued the club at $1.125 billion last April. The Padres don’t have the financial muscle of the Dodgers or Yankees, but paying Eric Hosmer $18 million on average for the first five years of his contract won’t come close to hurting the organization in any way, shape, or form. More importantly, signing Hosmer shows the rest of the team and the fans a commitment to being legitimate, bumping the payroll up towards $90 million. That now dwarfs teams like the large-market Phillies, who opened up spring training with just over $60 million in player obligations.

In the grand scheme of things, the Hosmer signing is also a good sign given the standstill in the free agent market. Many veteran players — even reliever Fernando Abad, who posted a 3.30 ERA last season — had to settle for minor league contracts instead of guaranteed major league deals. Many others, including the likes of Jake Arrieta and J.D. Martinez, remain unsigned. The rumor that Hosmer wanted more than seven years and close to $150 million was laughed at last month. Agent Scott Boras was still able to get his client the deal he wanted, which could bode well for those still teamless. Martinez’s patience may yet be rewarded like Hosmer’s was; money may once again start flowing in the free agent economy.

In summation, the Eric Hosmer contract is good if: you are Eric Hosmer, related to or a friend of Eric Hosmer, a teammate of Hosmer’s, Scott Boras, a current or soon-to-be free agent, a Padres fan, and a baseball fan in general. The Hosmer contract is bad if: you are a penny-pinching owner of a Major League Baseball team, or someone who cares more about $/WAR than an actual good product being put on the field.