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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]

The Yankees are paying $86 million for a one-inning reliever

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OXON HILL, MD — The Yankees signing of Aroldis Chapman late Wednesday night came as something of a surprise. And the money — $86 million — was something of a shock. Yes, we knew that Chapman was going to break the bank and likely set a record as the highest paid relief pitcher in history, but seeing it in black and white like that is still rather jarring.

In the coming days, many people who attempt to analyze and contextualize this signing will do so by pointing to the 2016 playoffs and the unconventional use of relievers by Terry Francona and the Indians and Joe Maddon of the Cubs. They’ll talk about how the paradigm of bullpen use has shifted and how relief pitchers have taken on a new importance in today’s game. Chapman’s astronomical salary, therefore, will be described as somehow more reasonable and somewhat less shocking than it first seems.

Don’t buy that jive for a second.

Yes, Andrew Miller and, to some extent, Chapman himself were used unconventionally in the 2016 playoffs, but not long into the 2017 season we will see that as an exception, not the rule. And not just because Chapman showed himself unable to hold up to that level of use in the playoffs. It will be the exception because the Yankees have shown no inclination whatsoever to deviate from traditional bullpen usage in the past and there is no reason to expect that they will do so with Chapman in the future.

As you no doubt remember, the Yankees had Chapman, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller for the first half of 2016. Such an imposing back end of a bullpen has rarely been seen in recent history. All of them, however, were used, more or less, as one-inning-a-piece guys and no real effort was ever made to break any bullpen usage paradigms or to shorten games the way many applauded Terry Francona for doing in the playoffs.

Miller pitched 44 games for the Yankees, totaling 45.1 innings. He pitched more than a single inning on only three occasions. Chapman pitched 31 games for the Yankees, amassing 31.1 innings. He was used for more than one inning only twice. Betances worked in 73 games, totaling 73 innings. On 11 occasions he pitched more than one inning.  It was unconventional for a team to have three relievers that good, but they were not, in any way, used unconventionally. Nor is there any reason to expect Chapman to be used unconventionally in 2017, especially given that Miller is not around and Chapman has shown no real ability to be stretched for multiple innings for a sustained period.

None of which is to say that having Chapman around is a bad thing or that he is any less of a closer than his reputation suggests. It’s merely to say that the Yankees paying Chapman unprecedented money for a closer should not be justified by the alleged new importance of relief pitchers or that changing role for them we heard so much about in the playoffs. Indeed, I suspect that that changing role applies only to pitcher use in the playoffs. And I do not suspect that this transaction alone pushes the Yankees into serious playoff contention, making that temporary unconventionality something of a moot point in New York for the foreseeable future.

It is almost certain that the Yankees are paying $86 million for the same one-inning closer Aroldis Chapman has been for his entire seven-year career. His contract may or may not prove to be a good one for New York based on how he performs, but don’t let anyone tell you now, in Decemeber 2016, that it’s better than you think because Chapman will somehow transform into a 1970s-style relief ace or something.

Report: Yankees sign Aroldis Chapman to a five-year, $86 million deal

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Update (12:02 AM EST): Rosenthal adds that Chapman’s contract includes an opt-out clause after three seasons, a full no-trade clause for the first three years of the contract, and a limited no-trade clause for the final two years.

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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Yankees have signed closer Aroldis Chapman to a five-year, $86 million contract. Mark Melancon recently set the record for a contract earned by a reliever at $62 million over four years. Chapman blew that out of the water and many are surprised he didn’t fetch more.

Chapman, 28, began the 2016 season with the Yankees but he was traded to the Cubs near the end of July in exchange for four prospects. The Cubs, of course, would go on to win the World Series in large part due to Chapman. The lefty finished the regular season with a 1.55 ERA, 36 saves, and a 90/18 K/BB ratio in 58 innings between the two teams.

Chapman was the best reliever on the free agent market and, because he was traded midseason, he didn’t have draft pick compensation attached to him.

The Yankees don’t seem to be deterred by Chapman’s domestic violence issue from last offseason, resulting in a 30-game suspension to begin the 2016 regular season.