Nate Silver’s plenty busy writing about politics year round, but occasionally he’s able to write about baseball in some capacity. In a blog post at FiveThirtyEight, Silver ranks all 30 MLB ballparks and 4 other previous ballparks via Yelp’s ratings system. The Coliseum ranks next-to-last among active venues with a 3.13 rating. Upon reading several pages of “reviews”, I had to conclude that at least for the Coliseum the rating is flawed. Numerous people based their review on the stadium as a football venue. Others rated based on attending both Raiders and A’s games. More than a few mistakenly rated Oracle Arena next door, instead of the stadium. I’d go through the trouble of parsing the reviews to get a better contextual sample, but not even I’m that patient with Yelp.
That’s not to say that the methodology is flawed for all venues. Most ballparks are getting reviews for being single-purpose baseball facilities, so there’s no contamination with most ratings as there is with the Coliseum. No, this is not a particularly scientific study, but as Silver notes, it’s more comprehensive than a single writer’s opinion as he takes an all-expenses paid trip all over North America to review venues. Silver also lists the standard deviation, which for the Coliseum is among the highest (1.21). All that means in laymen’s terms is that the ratings for the Coli were all over the place, whereas the ratings for PNC Park (st. dev.: 0.49) were uniformly excellent.