FEW THINGS beat sitting at the ballpark, watching your favorite team on a sunny day while enjoying a hot dog in one hand and a cold beer in the other. Doing the above and then retiring to your boat to celebrate a win without having to fight the highway traffic may be the only exception. Here are 10 stadiums around North America where baseball and boating flow perfectly together:
Ballpark pundits have hailed the home of the Toronto Blue Jays as an architectural marvel. Upon opening in 1989, it was the first stadium to have a fully retractable motorized roof, with four panels that stack when opening to reveal amazing views of the 1,815-foot-tall CN Tower. A truly marvelous structure in its own right. The soaring five levels of stadium seating can hold just shy of 50,000 people, with other highlights including a 110-foot-wide by 33-foot-high video scoreboard and a new dirt infield. The stadium sits on the northern shore of Lake Ontario in the heart of downtown Toronto.
WHERE TO DOCK: Island Yacht Club (416-203-2582)
Leave it to the stalwart city of Boston to have the oldest and one of the most recognizable ballparks in the big leagues. Fenway has withstood two fires, the Curse of the Bambino and the mounting pressures of modernization to remain the beloved home of the Boston Red Sox since 1912. The famed Green Monster was born in 1947, with the dark green painted, 37-foot-tall left field wall still being one of the stadium's defining features now with 250 bar-style seats on top. While the ballpark can hold up to an impressive 37,600 fans, it's the nostalgic setting that makes Fenway Park so special. The park is located near the shores of the Charles River in the Fenway/Kenmore neighborhood.
Citi Field is nestled within Flushing Meadows Corona Park in the borough of Queens, directly south of Flushing Bay. While the park's faÃ§ade evokes an old-timey feel, don't let the dated appearance fool you. This modern stadium was opened in 2009, boasting 50 luxury suites, special seating areas with unique views and amenities (such as Coca-Cola Corner), an outfield picnic area and two high-definition video scoreboards. The striking Jackie Robinson Rotunda at the main entrance of the ballpark welcomes fans with commemorative engravings and TVs playing highlights from the Hall of Famer's historic career. Overall, the three-tier grandstands can seat 42,000 fans.
Known as the ballpark that forever changed baseball, this state-of-the-art yet intimate venue has influenced the design of every baseball stadium built since 1992.
It blends the urban context of downtown Baltimore with the original characteristics of baseball parks built in the early 20th century. Steel (rather than concrete) trusses, an arched brick faÃ§ade, a sunroof over the gentle slope of the upper deck, an asymmetrical playing field and natural grass turf are just some of the features that tie it to the magnificent ballparks of yesteryear. One of the most notable features of this grand-stand for boaters to consider Baltimore's Inner Harbor is just a 10-minute walk away.
Nationals Park is located in southeast Washington, DC, along the fast developing Capitol Riverfront. Visiting ballgame-goers will be surrounded by parks, shopping, restaurants and a short walk back to your boat. The park opened in 2008, shortly after baseball returned to the U.S. capital, and is noted for its sleek, glass-and-steel design. With a seating capacity of 43,341, fans can enjoy amenities including luxury and suite seats, the PNC Diamond Club restaurant and a play area for children. Fittingly, 14 Japanese Cherry Blossom trees inhabit the centerfield plaza and left field concourse, making for a beautiful spectacle during the spring season. Nationals Park was the first major league stadium to be LEED Silver Certified by The U.S. Green Building Council and incorporates a variety of recycled and sustainable elements.
Miami is a modern, eclectic city, and Marlins Park is no different. The long list of highlights includes not only a retractable roof, but also retractable glass panels in the outfield as well. Dual aquariums with live aquatic life serve as a impressively original home-plate backstop, and a one of a kind feature in the league. The Clevelander Bar can be found in left field, holding up to 240 guests and has food, entertainment and even a swimming pool. Behind the fence in centerfield, a colorful, 75-foot-tall sculpture has moving waves along the bottom that displays celebrating marlins, seagulls and flamingos each time a Marlins player hits a homerun. The Art Deco-inspired building is a short walk from the Miami River, which provides access to Biscayne Bay.
WHERE TO DOCK:EPIC Marina (305-400-6711)
Tropicana Field is the only domed stadium in baseball, as well as the only one to have a 35-foot touch tank where fans can pet rays as they swim around in 10,000 gallons of saltwater. The home of the Tampa Bay Rays is very unique in that its exterior roof is slanted; a feature designed to reduce cooling costs and better protect the stadium from hurricanes. The on-site Ted Williams Museum & Hitters Hall of Fame displays different artifacts and pictures, and also hosts various traveling exhibits throughout the year. Tropicana Field is located just a few blocks from downtown St. Petersburg on Tampa Bay.
WHERE TO DOCK: St. Petersburg Municipal Marina (727-893-7329), The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club (727-824-8022)
With a retractable roof that is open on the sides, The Safe allows teams to play outside even in the pouring rain. Like a lot of ballparks built in the 1990s and onward, this field has a retro-modern design with a brick façade, asymmetrical construction and natural grass field. In addition, it also boasts one of the largest video scoreboards in the game (57 feet high by 201.5 feet wide). Lookout Landing in left field and the Outside Corner Picnic Patio above the home-plate gate entrance provide fans with breathtaking views over the Puget Sound. Fans can watch the Mariners take on their opponents or gaze out over the water and the downtown Seattle skyline.
WHERE TO DOCK:Bell Harbor Marina (206-787-3952)
Whether you're a Giants fan or not, this stadium needs to be on your bucket list you don't even need a ticket! Just hang out in McCovey Cove and see if you can shag a splash hit before it sinks. For those ballgame-goers arriving on foot, a statue of Willie Mays welcomes fans to the ballpark entrance; it's flanked by 24 palm trees in honor of his number 24 uniform. The Coca-Cola Fan Lot behind the left field bleachers includes four adrenaline generating slides inside a giant, 80-foot Coke bottle. Fans can also stroll up to the world's largest baseball glove nearby, the perfect place to grab a picture before or after the game. The picturesque waterside ballpark has 41,600 seats and an impressive 103-foot-wide video scoreboard.
WHERE TO DOCK: South Beach Harbor (415-495-4911)
The home of the Padres celebrates the natural beauty, cultural diversity and unique spirit of San Diego. The perimeter of the white steel and sandstone structure is lined with beautiful palm trees, adding even more color to the city's picturesque backdrop. The Park at the Park, a grassy berm sloping above the outfield fence, is open during game time and allows fans to sit and watch games for $10. The 100-year-old Western Metal Supply Co. building was incorporated into the design of the ballpark and contains a team store, private suites, a restaurant and rooftop seating. Overall, the three-tier grandstand holds 42,500 seats.
WHERE TO DOCK: Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina (619-234-1500)