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]

Report: Phillies close to signing Joaquin Benoit

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Joaquin Benoit #53 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the seventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 15, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.

Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.

Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.

The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.

Report: The new collective bargaining agreement reduces players’ meal money

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 18-19 - This Jan. 15, 2014 photo showing new baseball union head Tony Clark during an interview at the organization's headquarters, in New York. Clark has big shoes to fill _ and not just as Michael Weiner's replacement as head of the baseball players' union. Moving from Arizona to New Jersey, the former big league All-Star also needed to find size 15 snowshoes.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
AP Photo/Richard Drew
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ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.

Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.

Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.

EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.