You’ve been sitting in those same lame nosebleed seats at the ballpark since you were a T-baller. Maybe it’s time to improve your game and lounge for nine innings in style. If you’re looking for an amazingly posh place to watch a Major League game, many franchises have upscale options. Fueled by corporate sponsorships and a construction boom, big league parks have become bigger, grander and more luxurious. Today’s high-end suites offer special ticket packages that make guests feel almost as pampered as the players. Want to hang out with a Hall of Famer or trade in your hot dog for some haute cuisine? These are our picks for baseball’s best seats, available to anyone willing to part with some serious dough.
Boston Red Sox – Fenway Park – Legends Suite – Cost $15,00 a game plus catering
Few teams in baseball have fans as devoted and a history as rich as the Red Sox, a ball club that surmounted a seemingly insurmountable curse to star in one of sports’ greatest comebacks. There’s no way to experience the full extent of Red Sox mania in one game, but one day with the Legends Suite package will go a long way. On game day, you and up to 19 friends get a behind-the-scenes tour of historic Fenway Park, complete with a keepsake group photo in front of the historic Green Monster in left field. During the game, a Red Sox legend like right fielder Dwight Evans or Triple Crown winner Carl Yastrzemski stops by your private luxury suite to talk baseball, take pictures and autograph a few balls. As the game progresses, you can dine on slow-roasted beef tenderloin and take a trip to the top of the Green Monster, where you and your friends have four reserved seats. You can even upgrade and reserve an open bar and bartender for $800 and enjoy top shelf drinks like Glenfiddich 12-year Single Malt Scotch. Thankfully for Yankees pitchers, this suite is nowhere near their bullpen.
Call (617) 267-9440 for more information.
San Diego Padres – Petco Field – Tower Lofts – Cost $2840
San Diego’s nickname is America’s Finest City, and the new Padres ballpark does nothing to besmirch that rep. Finished in 2004, Petco Park boasts a two-acre park in center field, great sightlines, spacious concourses and a raised bridge that connects the park to the nearby Omni Hotel. But the jewels of Petco are the spacious Tower Loft Suites. Built into the huge columns that rise above the upper deck, they offer an unobstructed view of the field and the mountains surrounding the city. Decked out with comfortable furniture and a private restroom, this 20-person capacity space is a baseball bachelor pad. If you’re worried about being far from the game, the Sony HD television inside will give you all the action you need. If you’re hungry, the available Well Bread Catering has a variety of options for snacking that are a serious step up from peanuts and Cracker Jack. Feast on the Pacific Coast Seafood tower, filled with sesame-crusted ahi tuna, coastal lobster, crab claws and pan seared Pacific sea scallops. Thirsty? Skip the light beer and indulge in the make-your-own margarita bar.
Call (619) 795-5010 for more information.
Arizona Diamondbacks – Bank One Ballpark – Leslie’s Pool Zone – Cost $5,900 plus catering
Before the Diamondbacks arrived, the baseball season in Arizona’s desert was limited to Spring Training. Who would want to sweat out the season when temperatures reach above 100 degrees for most of July? The fear of sitting nine innings in direct sunlight even inspired the designers of the D-Backs Bank One Ballpark to incorporate a fully retractable roof and stadium-wide air conditioning. But why not take advantage of the gorgeous weather? That’s where Leslie’s Pool Zone comes in. A private space in right-center field complete with reserved bleacher seats for 20 and an elevated pool, it brings together two of the world’s best B’s — baseball and bikinis. You and your 34 guests can stroll on the flagstone deck in your complimentary Diamondback sandals and soak up some rays in your private bleachers. Does your date want a daiquiri? Then hit the private bar, where you can sip a summery cocktail and catch up on scores from around the league on the nearby plasma screen TV. You can even avoid a soggy suit with the accompanying private changing area and shower. The only thing that might ruin your party is getting splashed when the wrong team’s home run ball lands in your pool.
Call (602) 514-8400 for more information.
San Francisco Giants – SBC Park – Willie Mays Experience – Cost $20,000 plus catering
Fans flocking to the San Francisco Giants’ SBC Park normally have one legendary player on their minds: slugger Barry Bonds. Despite the nine-foot-tall statue of Hall of Fame outfielder Willie Mays planted near the park’s entrance, fans tend to focus on the guy who’s been hitting all those home runs in recent years. But they might change their minds if they had the Willie Mays Experience. Available for a few select home games every year, this special ticket package gives fans an audience with one of the game’s living legends. For the first four innings of a Giants home game, Mays hangs out with you and 29 of your closest friends in the luxurious Hall of Fame Suite, a decked-out private room with leather couches, barstools and wall-to-wall carpeting. The “Say ‘Hey!’ Kid” doesn’t just make small talk — the Hall of Fame outfielder signs autographs and talks baseball. Sure beats the color commentary guy on the radio. Mays leaves after the fourth inning, but the game is certainly not over. Watch the action with internal and external TV feeds, plug your laptop into the internet access port and check up on your fantasy stats or enjoy the view of McCovey Cove from the seats on your private outdoor terrace.
Call (415) 972-2298 for more information.
Seattle Mariners – Safeco Field – Press Box Suite – Cost $5800-$9000
What baseball fan hasn’t fantasized about working in the broadcast booth for his hometown team? While the Mariners don’t let their fans do actual play-by-play, they do let them get as close to their dream as possible without handing them a live mike. Perched in the upper level of Safeco Field, the Press Box Suite is separated from the real thing by a mere glass wall. While the radio jocks next to you check stats and bark out pitch counts, you and up to 17 friends can enjoy a dinner buffet and the services of a bartender, which sure beats waiting for the beer man in the stands. You’re certain to work up an appetite taking your pre-game ballpark tour, viewing batting practice and snapping your on-field group photo. Back in the suite, if you want to hear exactly what the announcers think about that last play at the plate, just turn to your suite’s 42-inch plasma screen and catch the replay. Then again, it isn’t like the announcer knows anything you don’t — every guest in the suite is given a Mariners Media Information packet and scorecard.
Call (206) 346-4001 for more information.