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Best of the Ballparks 2016: Final Four, Low-A

Ballpark DigestUpsets were the order of the day in our Best of the Ballparks 2016 voting for Low-A facilities as we asked fans to choose their favorite Midwest League and South Atlantic League ballparks from our final eight selections.

Two of the top four seeds failed to make it past this round, as fans chose McCormick Field (home of the Asheville Tourists) over Modern Woodmen Park (home of the Quad Cities River Bandits), our top seed and last year’s champion, and Fifth Third Ballpark (home of the West Michigan Whitecaps) over Fluor Field (home of the Greenville Drive).

This sets up a fascinating Final Four, with McCormick Field and Fifth Third Ballpark in one bracket and two ballparks hosting Hardball Capital teams in the other, as fans selected Parkview Field (home of the Fort Wayne TinCaps) and Spirit Communications Park (home of the Columbia Fireflies). So it’s time to vote!

We’re running the contest with seeded brackets, so there will be plenty of action in coming days. The first round will be a play-in (thanks for the inspiration, NCAA!), 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. First, votes are filtered by IP address, so we’re limiting folks to one vote. (Feel free to hit that reload as many times as you want, but multiple votes will be filtered out of the final tally.) Second, you don’t need to fill out a full slate: partially filled votes will count. Third: desktop users will see both choices; tablet and smartphone users will see one choice at a time.


Voting for this round has ended.

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 Modern Woodmen Park, home of the Quad Cities River Bandits, the winner of the Best of the Ballparks 2015 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.

1. Modern Woodmen Park (Quad Cities River Bandits; ML)
2. Parkview Field (Fort Wayne TinCaps; ML)
3. Spirit Communications Park (Columbia Fireflies; SAL)
4. Fluor Field (Greenvile Drive; SAL)
5. NewBridge Bank Park (Greensboro Grasshoppers; SAL)
6. Fifth Third Field (Dayton Dragons; ML)
7. Four Winds Field (South Bend Cubs; ML)
8. Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park (Charleston RiverDogs; SAL)
9. McCormick Field (Asheville Tourists; SAL)
10. 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)

Here are the brackets:

Best of the Ballparks, Low A, 2016

Click on the image for a larger version.

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