The Texas Rangers and Houston Astros officially open the 2013 Major League Baseball season on March 31. In all, 29 teams will be on a quest to snatch the World Series trophy from the San Francisco Giants’ hands. But as we’ve discovered in our cross-country stadium scouting, the fight is equally competitive when it comes to ballpark accommodations. While a number of venues claim to have lavish luxury boxes, these five are the home-run hitters of hospitality.
TD Comfort Clubhouse, Toronto Blue Jays, Rogers Centre
Over the past few seasons, the Toronto Blue Jays have proven to be afterthoughts in the competitive American League East division. That may change with this year’s promising roster. Yet when the conversation moves to the best stadium accommodations, there are no question marks. The TD Comfort Clubhouse is immaculate. With futuristic styling—think oblong lamps and parlor chairs—the place feels more like a Battlestar Galactica backdrop than a ballpark. VIP membership also gets you into the wine lounge where you have your choice of 60 labels. Grab a bite at the reservations-only restaurant—the ever-changing menu adds one more thing for Jays fans to be excited about this year.
2013 must-get tickets: April 19-21 vs. New York Yankees
Thomson Reuters Champions Club, Minnesota Twins, Target Field
Three-year-old Target Field in Minneapolis is at its best inside the Thomson Reuters Champions Club. With dark woods and a navy palette, Target Field’s most exclusive area feels more like a cigar lounge than a stadium, but the only thing smoking is the locally grown sausage and braised short ribs. And like the valet parking outside and pinot grigio flowing at the bar, all of the food is included in the ticket cost. While you can admire the Twins’ 1987 and 1991 World Series trophies in the display case, the real wow factor comes when you get to your behind-home-plate seats.
2013 must-get tickets: April 1, 3-4 vs. Detroit Tigers
Gehl Club, Milwaukee Brewers, Miller Park
It’s only natural that one of the most beloved parks in baseball would have one of the most appealing luxury suites, too. Located along the left-field line—with ideal views of perennial all-star Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun at work—the Gehl Club supplies all of the big-ticket amenities (giant flat-screen TVs, complimentary buffet) without the added pretense. At more than 9,000 square feet, the spacious, upscale bar-like area can host parties between 25 and 240. And if the exclusive Gehl Club doesn’t sell out to businesses and corporate sponsors (as was the case on occasion in 2012), you can snag individual tickets for you and your buddies.
2013 must-get tickets: May 7-8 vs. Texas Rangers
Lexus Dugout Suites, Los Angeles Angels, Angel Stadium
With a lineup featuring three-time National League MVP Albert Pujols, 2012 American League Rookie of the Year winner Mike Trout and slugger Josh Hamilton, the Los Angeles Angels have reason to believe they’ll be playing postseason ball in the fall. But if we’re completely honest, Los Angeles’ most valuable player could be whomever came up with the idea for these dugout suites. At just 50 feet from home plate (pitchers stand more than 60 feet from the batter) your views in this section are second to none in the Majors. The biggest perk? The world-class treatment you’ll get from your personal suite concierge—for the entire game.
2013 must-get tickets: May 29-30 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Diamond Club, Miami Marlins, Marlins Park
Much like the festive city it calls home, one-year-old Marlins Park is loud, energetic and a little on the kooky side. Regardless of the Marlins’ record, patrons of the Diamond Club are treated to a championship season of entertainment. Part well-heeled hideaway, part fashion runway, the stark white-colored retreat—on field level directly behind home plate—plays right into the South Beach aesthetic. Marble flooring and mood lighting make the stadium feel more like Collins Avenue than a ballpark.
2013 must-get tickets: April 8-10 vs. Atlanta Braves
Photos Courtesy of the Minnesota Twins and Rogers Centre