Sox Talk with Will Middlebrooks is a recurring content series on Middlebrooks, a former Red Sox player and NESN analyst, will give his insight and opinion on pertinent Red Sox storylines throughout the season. You can read the latest stories from the series here.

Former Boston Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks felt lucky to play at Fenway Park for three seasons of his MLB career.

There’s a certain charm taking the field at the historic venue in front of a passionate fan base. But not every big league ball park offers that.

Some stadiums are just desolate slabs of concrete. Oakland Coliseum certainly fits that description as the Athletics play their final season in a crumbling and empty stadium. Oakland had the lowest attendance in the league in 2023 and that number has been cut in half with an average of 5,828 fans per game this season.

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For Middlebrooks, the Coliseum is at the top of his list of worst MLB stadiums.

“The typical answer, like worst facility possible is definitely the Coliseum,” Middlebrooks told “It’s just falling a part. There’s no batting cages by the dugouts. Everything is behind center field, so if you pinch hit, there’s no where to get loose.”

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Middlebrooks probably is thankful he only played four games in his career in Oakland. He’s much more familiar with playing at another stadium that he feels is close to being on the same level at the Coliseum.

Middlebrooks played 17 games at Tropicana Field — home of the Tampa Bay Rays — and the venue left a lot to be desired.

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“The Trop is right there. It’s not falling a part and it’s clean, which is nice, but it just doesn’t feel like a real baseball game in there,” Middlebrooks said. “No. 1, not many fans. And what’s weird is the teams are always good and there’s still no fans. If they filled that place up and the atmosphere was great, you’d be like, ‘Ok, this place isn’t that bad.’ But there’s no atmosphere, there’s no fans, there’s no intensity.”

Middlebrooks sees more faults with Tropicana Field as it’s certainly not a player’s paradise.

“A day game, we call it the circus tent,” Middlebrooks said. “If it’s sunny outside, (the roof) is like the same color of the baseball. So, the ball goes up and it just disappears. It doesn’t even have to hit a catwalk. It just disappears. The ceiling is the same color as the ball during the day. That’s always terrible.

“The turf is a lot better there now. It used to be awful. It used to be so bad. There would be like seams in it, so if a ball hit it — you’re not supposed to get bad hops on turf — you would get awful hops on turf because it would hit a seam. It was brutal.”

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But for every Oakland Coliseum and Tropicana Field, there are ballparks like Fenway that are much more enjoyable to play at.

Fenway will always have a special place in Middlebrooks’ heart, but he also had a favorite stadium on the West Coast.

“Outside of Fenway, Dodger Stadium was a lot of fun,” Middlebrooks said. “… It’s just a show. It is not just a baseball game, it’s like an entertainment venue. There’s movie stars, there’s athletes, all these people sitting around home plate. The loudest speakers I’ve ever heard in my life.”

Featured image via D. Ross Cameron/USA TODAY Sports Images