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When did the modern ballpark start to make its debut en masse?

1992 would be the oft-cited answer thanks to the opening of Camden Yards in Balitmore, but 1993 is the better answer based on the ballparks that opened in minor league baseball during the 1992-93 seasons.

Before 1993, ballparks in the minors were generally built without many features that are now considered necessary for a park to be considered modern, such as berms.

The pre-93 set also didn't allow for much room to roam around and still see the field within their confines. The two all-new stadiums that debuted in 1992 were symbolic of this, as NYSEG Stadium in Binghamton, NY and Principal Park in Des Moines, IA have walled-off from the grandstand main concourses and not much beyond their outfield fences.

But starting with the 1993 crop, new ballparks were mostly designed from the get-go to be open, airy and inviting to the masses by including such amenities as dedicated space for a playground. Examples from the '93 established group can be found in Norfolk, VA and Wilmington, DE.

So although there's some exceptions before and after, 1993 seems to be the best answer as to when venues started looking and feeling more like "ballparks" than "stadiums."

The concourse at Principal Park in Des Moines   The concourse at Prince George's Stadium in Bowie
The view from the main concourse at a typical park built prior to 1993 sure looks a lot different than the one afforded from a typical park built since then. At left is the concourse view from within the home of the Iowa Cubs, which opened as Sec Taylor Stadium in 1992. On the right, the scene from the "open" concourse at Prince George's Stadium in Bowie, MD, which opened in 1994, is shown.

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