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The Ballpark Year in Pictures

Big Stories of 2014: Cubs open new spring park and throw a birthday party for Wrigley; two spectacular Triple-A parks make their debuts; Target Field hosts first ASG; and much more

Text and photos by Joe Mock, BaseballParks.com
All rights reserved

There was a lot of fascinating news about ballparks in 2014, and you've come to the right place to read all about it. At the end of each year, we bring you our photo essay on the parks that made news ... and for the first time, we polled YOU, our readers, to see what you think the biggest news stories were.

You might find it interesting to go back and look at these year-end reviews from the past. We have links to them here.

During 2015, for the most up-to-date ballpark news, following us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

It was a ballpark story 100 years in the making. The Cubs did a fantastic job of celebrating the 100th anniversary of the opening of Wrigley Field. The Diamondbacks and Cubs wore uniforms patterned after those worn in 1914, and everything was done beautifully. I was very fortunate that I got to cover the event, and took the opportunity to create a photo essay for BaseballParks.com visitors. I also wrote several articles about Wrigley's birthday for various USA Today publications. Here are two of them. In a poll of Baseballparks.com readers, this was voted the #1 ballpark story of 2014.

The Cubs also made news in 2014 because they opened a new spring-training complex. In it is the largest ballpark among the 24 used by MLB teams for spring exhibition games. Here is the very first pitch ever thrown at the park. For a full description of the facility, read our in-depth review.

Affiliated Minor League Baseball had been absent from El Paso since the end of the 2004 season. The void was filled when the Pacific Coast League franchise in Tucson moved to town. This was made possible by the construction of an impressive new ballpark near the city's center. Southwest University Park was named the Baseballparks.com Ballpark of the Year for 2014. Read our full review here.

El Paso wasn't the only major city to build a new downtown park. Charlotte did so, too, and the results were stunning. BB&T BallPark offers fans spectacular skyline views and some of the best concessions in pro baseball. Check out our in-depth review here.

In November of 2013, the Braves made a stunning announcement that the team would move out of Turner Field and into a newly constructed ballpark (complete with plenty of commercial development surrounding it) in 2017 Construction commenced on the site in Smyrna, a suburb on the northwest side of Atlanta, in 2014. Throughout the year, the team released more and more info about their plans, and they partnered with various firms regarding the commercial space and sponsorships. The biggest partnership of all, of course, was with SunTrust Bank, which will own the naming rights for the new park.

Target Field hosted the All Star Game, and it was a great success. Fans were not only treated to three days of events, but they were able to use the first self-service beer taps in the Majors.

In 2014, we also said goodbye to several ballparks that are no longer needed by their pro baseball team. The goodbyes weren't always sad, though. Greer Stadium, home to Minor League baseball in Nashville since 1978, was abandoned by the PCL's Sounds. Greer was easily the worst of the 30 Triple-A parks, and it is being replaced by First Tennessee Park, which is under construction near the state capitol, just north of downtown. Check out some construction photos here.

Russell Diethrick Park in Jamestown, NY has hosted NY-Penn League games since 1941, but that has come to an end. The franchise is moving to a new ballpark in Morgantown, WV for the 2015 season.

A park that will not be missed by this website or very many baseball fans is Joe Davis Stadium in Huntsville. The Stars of the Double-A Southern League are moving to a brand-new park in Biloxi, Mississippi, leaving this relic behind.

On a personal note, your webmaster achieved a milestone of sorts in 2014. By visiting Suplizio Field in Grand Junction, Colorado, it allowed me to make the claim that I've now visited all 203 ballparks that are currently in use in the Majors, spring training and the affiliated Minor Leagues. The Grand Junction Rockies of the Pioneer League play here.

It had been 29 years since there had been a post-season game at Kauffman Stadium. In the meantime, the ballpark had undergone a quarter-of-a-billion-dollar renovation that made it one of the best facilities in the sport. So when the 2014 World Series arrived, Kauffman Stadium was a spectacular host. And the Fall Classic did its part by going seven games. The scene above is from the seventh-inning stretch in Game 7, which was won by Madison Bumgarner and the Giants. In a poll of Baseballparks.com readers, the post-season returning to Kauffman after 29 years was voted the second biggest ballpark story of 2014.

For the record, here is how our readers voted when asked which ballpark story was the biggest: Wrigley's 100th birthday 40%; postseason returning to Kauffman 27%; new El Paso park 17%; Braves begin construction on new park 10%; new Charlotte park 7%; Cubs open new spring training park 0%; Target Field hosts ASG 0%.

Visit our 2013 Ballpark Year In Review here.

Return to the Ballpark Essays page

What do you think was the biggest ballpark story of 2014? Have any thoughts about the news items above? Post a comment below: