I think we can probably all agree on the fact that, while sometimes lacking in execution, Yelp's built upon a good idea. Let people, regular people, review different places so that other people can be more informed and maybe decide where to go. It's just the wisdom-of-crowds approach of which we're generally supportive when it comes to baseball analysis. If there weren't a place like Yelp, there would be a need for a place like Yelp.
With that said, two things. One, many of us are familiar with Yelp's various drawbacks. Two, and more pertinent to this blog post, it would never actually occur to me to go to Yelp to review a baseball stadium, or to even read reviews of baseball stadiums for the purpose of aiding a decision. Seems to me the main purpose of Yelp is to allow one to explore his or her options. If you want to see a major league baseball game, or a specific major league baseball team, you pretty much have one option. If you want to see the Royals at home, there's only one place you can see the Royals at home, and you just have to live with it.
But as I was writing that paragraph I realized there are other reasons for leaving and reading stadium reviews, and it turns out there are an awful lot of MLB stadium reviews out there on Yelp. As of a few minutes ago, there were 10,236 of them, covering all 30 parks. The MLB park with the most reviews has 1,788 of them. The MLB park with the fewest reviews has 79 of them. Even a sample of 79 is pretty big for something like this, so let's check out a table. Here are all of the major league baseball stadiums sorted by average Yelp rating. Also included in the table is the number of reviews, for easy reference.
|Citizens Bank Park||4.5||247|
|U.S. Cellular Field||4.0||344|
|Minute Maid Park||4.0||121|
|Great American Ball Park||4.0||125|
There's not great diversity in the average ratings, as there are four parks at 3.0 or 3.5, one park at 5.0, and all the rest of the parks in the 4s. The table is also highly misleading because it looks like Yankee Stadium is rated way better than Chase Field even though they're both at 4.0. Look at how far away from each other they are! Incidentally this is sort of like one of the problems with prospect lists. Lists have to go in order, with no ties and an equal gap between consecutive rankings. Sometimes two prospects with consecutive rankings will be very similar, if not equivalent. Sometimes two prospects with consecutive rankings will be very different. These things should be less like line graphs and more like scatter plots, or something. I have an idea that makes sense in my head but I don't know if I just successfully conveyed it.
I don't know if there's anything particularly objectionable about the ratings. Everybody loves everything about PNC Park except for the on-field product. Everybody has fairly unpleasant things to say about O.co and the Trop. And these are Yelp ratings anyway meaning they're of limited use. More interesting to me is the spread in the number of reviews for each park. Four parks are still looking to crack triple digits. Dodger Stadium has the second-most reviews, at 831. AT&T Park has the most reviews, with more than twice as many reviews as Dodger Stadium. Try to guess where Yelp is located! By number of reviews, the six West Coast ballparks all rank in the top nine. I am not certain if there is Internet in Florida.
And now with nothing better to do, I thought I'd post some excerpts from the Safeco Field Yelp review page. You know, the thing I promised in the headline. I don't actually know if this is going to go anywhere because I didn't do any preparation. I'm just counting on the existence of hysterical words from complete strangers. Wish me luck, here I go!
Is it just me or have we been hitting tons of home runs this season?! :0
everything was just great about this location.... Now I'm use to going to Dodger Stadium and Angels Anaheim and these places usually are filled with gangsters (well usually Dodger) you never know if you're safe, is someone going to rob me in the parking lot or am I going to get hit by some flying beer cup.
As the day was getting darker, the sun was starting to irritate my eye. The constant visitors getting up and down was starting to annoy my family as well.
I've never had a bad moment at Safeco, aside from all the times the Mariners lose, which means I usually have bad moments at Safeco.
I have been to a couple other ballparks around the country like Dodger Stadium and the Oakland Coliseum, but my favorite is still here at Safeco.
Arguably...America greatest past time, enjoying the thrill of the bat connecting solid in the sweet spot onto the bat with the ball and rounding the bases as the ball flew high and flying through the air. Every child & adult needs to know the agony and despair as the ball sailed in the catcher's glove and hearing the umpire call..."Strike three, you're out!" or the joy of a HOME RUN!
Who doesn't like ballsports? Frisbee players. That's who.
They also had guys walking up and down the isle of the seats selling beer! Now that was really cool. Never have to even leave your seat during the game.
The beers were not cheap and it was only Coors Light ($8.50).
What's not to love - oh yeah, the Mariners, they suck.
"Well, I was GOING to go to the baseball game, but then I saw that a Yelp reviewer named 'Chone F.' gave it only 1 star, so instead I drove to Everett to watch Evan Sharpley hit a dinger against Zachary Varce."
Oh I could just do this forever. I'm going to stop now before I lose the rest of my afternoon.