With voting wrapping up over the weekend, we have our first winner in the Best of the Ballparks 2016 fan vote: Parkview Field, home of the Fort Wayne TinCaps, has been chosen by readers as the best Low-A facility.
“We’re extremely appreciative of everyone who took the time to support Parkview Field in this competition,” TinCaps President Mike Nutter said. “We’re proud to see our ballpark honored by a national source like Ballpark Digest which does such a great job covering the sport of baseball. It’s nice to know that Parkview Field is highly thought of not only around Fort Wayne, but all over.”
Fans were not shy about making their love of Parkview Field known: the TinCaps home received some 82 percent of the votes in the final round.
“With this vote, Parkview Field is truly recognized as of the great ballparks in all of the United States,” said Ballpark Publisher Kevin Reichard. “Parkview Field has clearly been a huge hit since opening, and this fan vote reflects both the ballpark design and the high level of customer service provided by the TinCaps front office.”
Over 67,000 fans weighed in during the course of voting for affiliated ballparks in the Best of the Ballparks competition.
The contrast between the two facilities was striking. McCormick Field opened in 1924 with an exhibition game featuring Ty Cobb and the Detroit Tigers facing off in exhibition action against the Asheville Skylanders. The field is the same as the one Cobb played on, but the ballpark was upgraded in 1991 when a concrete grandstand replaced the wooden one. Parkview Field, on the other hand, opened in 2009 as home to the TinCaps, and it’s state of the art in Minor League Baseball. With multiple seating areas, a vast array of concessions options and a convenient downtown location, Parkview Field is both an aesthetic success and proof that a downtown sports facility can drive additional investment.
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 final brackets:
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