It’s that time of year again, where we ask fans to choose their favorites in our annual Best of the Ballparks vote. We begin this year’s competition with Low-A ballparks in the Midwest and South Atlantic Leagues.
We’re running the contest with seeded brackets, so there will be plenty of action in coming days. Last year’s winner, Parkview Field, and Modern Woodmen Park receive byes in this first round of competition, followed by additional rounds before winners are announced at the end of June and early July. For MiLB, we’ll be structuring the voting by classification, so the competition is broken down into Triple-A, Double-A, High-A and Low-A. Next month we’ll launch short season A and rookie-league voting, as well as summer-collegiate and independent leagues. And, of course, the MLB parks stand on their own.
We know from marketing stats a third of our readers work in the baseball industry, so we’re tapping into that collective expertise. And we know from our research that a third of our readers sell to the baseball industry, so that expertise will be valuable as well. The remaining third — fans, media, government — will certainly have a different view on things as well. We can’t wait to see what our readers — whom we consider to be the smartest folks in baseball — say about the best of the ballparks.
Some notes on the voting, as we’ve overhauled our bracketing and voting system. First, you are allowed to vote multiple times, but you can only vote once per day. Second, you don’t need to fill out a full slate: partially filled votes will count.
Here’s our ranking of Low-A ballparks, combining Midwest League and South Atlantic League facilities. This was an extremely difficult list to seed and took several days of thought and deliberation. Occupying the top spot is Parkview Field, home of the Fort Wayne TinCaps, the winner of the Best of the Ballparks 2016 voting. We honestly don’t expect the voting to follow our seedings: our readers can be independent, and they share a love of ballparks and the fan experience. There were several surprises in last year’s competition; we expect some this year as well. Here are our rankings:
1. Parkview Field (Fort Wayne TinCaps; ML)
2. Modern Woodmen Park (Quad Cities River Bandits; ML)
3. Spirit Communications Park (Columbia Fireflies; SAL)
4. Fluor Field (Greenville Drive; SAL)
5. McCormick Field (Asheville Tourists; SAL)
6. First National Bank Field (Greensboro Grasshoppers; SAL)
7. Fifth Third Field (Dayton Dragons; ML)
8. Four Winds Field (South Bend Cubs; ML)
9. Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park (Charleston RiverDogs; SAL)
10. Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium (Wisconsin Timber Rattlers; ML)
11. Dow Diamond (Great Lakes Loons; ML)
12. Fifth Third Ballpark (West Michigan Whitecaps; ML)
13. FirstEnergy Park (Lakewood Blueclaws; SAL)
14. Cooley Law School Stadium (Lansing Lugnuts; ML)
15. Whitaker Bank Ballpark (Lexington Legends; SAL)
16. Appalachian Power Park (West Virginia Power; SAL)
17. Perfect Game Field (Cedar Rapids Kernels; ML)
18. L.P. Frans Stadium (Hickory Crawdads; SAL)
19. Bowling Green Ballpark (Bowling Green Hot Rods; ML)
20. Fifth Third Bank Ballpark (Kane County Cougars; ML)
21. Classic Park (Lake County Captains; ML)
22. State Mutual Stadium (Rome Braves; SAL)
23. Perdue Stadium (Delmarva Shorebirds; SAL)
24. Dozer Park (Peoria Chiefs; ML)
25. Intimidators Stadium (Kannapolis Intimidators; SAL)
26. Lake Olmstead Stadium (Augusta GreenJackets; SAL)
27. Community Field (Burlington Bees; ML)
26. Ashford University Field (Clinton LumberKings; ML)
29. Municipal Stadium (Hagerstown Suns; SAL)
30. Pohlman Field (Beloit Snappers; ML)
We’ve upgraded our voting system, so you can just scroll down this list and select your favorite ballpark and team. Come back daily to vote!