Baseball and football are America’s two most popular sports. There are thousands of debates and comparisons one could make to compare the two games, but there is one that does not stand out — their facilities.

Baseball and football are America’s two most popular sports.

There are thousands of debates and comparisons one could make to compare the two games, but there is one that does not stand out — their facilities.

Oh yes, sports fans, football does have some impressive stadiums, but there is nothing that compares to the sights, sounds, and smells of a ballpark. Not only is each facility unique in its own right, each one of them holds a dear place in every fan and city’s heart.

In football the stadium is just a structure built around the field to house the fans; in baseball the ballpark is the place that a gust of wind could change the game, where the design of the outfield wall is closely examined by the players and where memories last a lifetime.

Not all of them are perfect of course, but I’ve got a few on my list that stand out for many significant reasons.

Rangers Ballpark in Arlington

This ballpark is very unique in just about everything. It holds on to the past, displays the technology of the future and holds true to Texas’ state motto.

The past isn’t hard to miss in this grand stadium. The outfield wall has a wedge like Washington, D.C’s old Griffith Stadium, the roof is trimmed in the same “frost” design as Yankee Stadium and the right field porch is designed after the outfield decks of Tiger Stadium. What’s also unique is when the Rangers moved from their former home next door, Arlington Stadium, they brought the foul poles and bleachers over with them. A nice little salute to the franchise’s original home.

Keep up with current schemes, there is a huge HD video board on the roof of the Tiger Stadium porch in right, digital boards on the stadium’s facade, another HD board in the left field wall and large scoreboard surrounded by a huge Coca-Cola sign in the centerfield plaza.

Staying true to the ol’ saying, “Everything is bigger in Texas,” Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is just that, BIG. It has a nostalgic look, but the ballpark is very much a buffed up version of ballyards from the golden days of the game.

You’d almost expect to see a stadium with this much significance in a different part of the country where baseball is more popular — given that football is Texas’ pastime — however it is better in the baseball-hungry cities that the ballparks stay classy, than in Texas, where baseball is merely an enjoyment, that the ballpark be unique.

Kauffman Stadium

Throughout the history of baseball — past, present and future — you will never, ever, ever see a baseball stadium like the domain of the Kansas City Royals.

When Kauffman Stadium opened in 1973, it was the only baseball-only facility built in the shadows of all of the multi-purpose, “cookie cutter” stadiums built across the country.

The Royals moved out of Municipal Stadium, the old stamping grounds of the Athletics and Kansas City Monarchs, and moved into this new stadium that wasn’t retro like you see today, but wasn’t going with the flow of the other circular stadiums around the league.

Kauffman Stadium is different, accommodating, and just a great place to watch baseball. And that’s before and after the major renovations it underwent to land the 2012 All-Star Game next season.

Kansas City provides great baseball in the game’s hotbed region of the Midwest and having a place like Kauffman Stadium really adds to the fun. In no other ballpark are you going to see an HD screen as big as the one in center field, in no other ballpark will you see fountains in the outfield, and in no other ballpark will you have this subtle, laid-back atmosphere of watching baseball.

Imagine just a nice summer evening at a local park relaxing and watching a baseball game. That’s the feeling you get when you see a game in Kansas City every time.

Busch Memorial Stadium

If there was ever a more modern-day sports facility built to have the same atmosphere as the Roman Coliseum, the second Busch Stadium in St. Louis was it.

It is where fans roared, where history was made and where baseball thrived.

Of all of the cookie cutter stadiums that were built across the country, Busch Memorial Stadium was significant in many ways. Of all of the cookie cutters, it, along with RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., were the only ones with unique designs.

RFK Stadium has roller coaster roof, while Busch Stadium was capped off with 96 arches that saluted the new Jefferson National Expansion Memorial that was being constructed at the same time.

But here’s something that only holds true for the treasured ballpark that met the demolition ball in 2005.

All of the cookie cutter and multi-purpose stadiums that were built across the country were primarily football stadiums that could house baseball. But Busch Memorial Stadium was a multi-purpose facility built for baseball that just happened to house football. The NFL Cardinals called Busch Stadium home from 1966-1987 and they were the only team that shared with baseball that stood in the shadows. Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Oakland, those are all the opposite.

Busch Stadium was a castle too. Only the privileged (those with a ticket) could enter and you were exposed to the greatest game, facility and atmosphere the world has ever known. On the outside everyone was a stranger, but on the inside everyone was a friend.

There was nothing bad about Busch Memorial Stadium; the hot dogs were better, the air felt more pure and there was never a dull moment.

We baked in the box seat when the Astroturf got hot in the summer, we cheered whenever a Cardinal did something spectacular and we cried when we said goodbye.

I’d give anything to have Doc Brown’s Delorean to travel back in time and see the old place just one more time.

Dominic Genetti writes for the Hannibal Courier-Post.