HomeSportsMLB’s best playoff ballparks: Ranking the most raucous places from replaceable to...

MLB’s best playoff ballparks: Ranking the most raucous places from replaceable to Phanatical

By Chad Jennings, C. Trent Rosecrans, and Stephen J. Nesbitt

In one American League Wild Card Series, the entire outcome of the game hinged on a play that took advantage of crowd noise. In a game at Target Field, the roar of the crowd prevented the third-base coach from warning the Blue Jays baserunners of an impending pickoff play. The Twins capitalized on this advantage, successfully picking off Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and ultimately sweeping the series.

In another AL Wild Card Series, the stadiums were empty. The Rays, known for their ability to thrive as underdogs, played in front of extremely small postseason crowds. Despite their strong regular season performance, the Rays were swept by the Rangers, who had a lower win total. The lack of crowd noise seemed to signify a lack of home-field advantage.

The effects of home-field advantage vary depending on the stadium. The Phillies, for example, boast a strong home-field advantage with a postseason record of 24-11 at Citizens Bank Park. Third baseman Alec Bohm attests to the difficulty of playing there and believes that the experience of playing in such an environment only strengthens the team’s performance in the postseason.

The postseason often provides memorable moments that are punctuated by the reactions of the crowd. After observing the impact of crowd noise in October baseball, The Athletic ranked the home-field environments of the eight remaining playoff teams. The rankings range from the replaceable to the extraordinary.

The Arizona Diamondbacks rank at No. 8 on the list. While they have had impressive playoff performances in the past, the potential presence of a large number of Dodgers fans in the crowd could neutralize some of the advantages of playing at Chase Field. Nevertheless, the stadium itself has many appealing features, such as a retractable roof and a unique pool.

The Texas Rangers rank No. 7 on the list. The recently opened Globe Life Field offers an unknown home-field advantage, as it has yet to host a playoff game. The regular season games played at the ballpark felt more like multi-event gatherings rather than baseball games. However, the closed roof could potentially create a loud and energetic atmosphere during the playoffs.

The Minnesota Twins rank No. 6 on the list. Target Field has witnessed some enthusiastic crowds during the postseason, but it does not possess the overwhelming volume potential of the team’s previous stadium, the Metrodome. While the atmosphere at Target Field is impressive, it is not necessarily intimidating to the opponents. However, Twins fans could prove this perception wrong during the current postseason.

The Houston Astros rank No. 5 on the list. Minute Maid Park is renowned for its energy, with one writer describing it as the loudest stadium they have ever attended. The Astros have consistently drawn large crowds and have sold out the stadium 23 times this season. However, despite the noise, their home record has not been as strong as expected. Nonetheless, the atmosphere at Minute Maid Park is still considered to be one of the loudest and liveliest in the league.

Overall, home-field advantage varies from stadium to stadium. Factors such as crowd noise and fan support can greatly impact the outcome of postseason games. However, the absence of fans in some stadiums this year has highlighted the unique and irreplaceable role of the crowd in creating a memorable postseason atmosphere.