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Announcing the 2016 Ballpark Digest Awards

Spirit Communications Park opening, 2016

It’s that time of year again, when we honor baseball’s best and brightest with the annual Ballpark Digest Awards. We’ve already begun the process with the naming of Spirit Communications Park as Ballpark of the Year, and we’re seeking input for worthy recipients.

As noted, the awards season officially opened on July 26, when we named Spirit Communications Park, home of the Columbia Fireflies (Low A; Sally League), as our Ballpark of the Year. This new ballpark joined a very solid roster of worthy recipients that includes CHS Field (2015), Southwest University Park (2014) Target Field (2010), Salt River Fields at Talking Stick (2011), Huntington Park (2009) and Coca-Cola Park (2008).

(Speaking of the Ballpark of the Year Award: We’ll be at Spirit Communications Park on Aug. 11 to mark the occasion with the Fireflies. Come to the ballpark, receive a free poster commemorating the award and say hi!)

Here are the categories:

Executive of the Year (2015 winner: Eric Edelstein, Reno Aces)
Who is a leading light in the front office, making an impact on the game?

Best Marketing Campaign (2015 winner: Dayton Dragons)
This could be a radio spot, a TV spot, an Internet spot or a scoreboard spot.

Team of the Year (2015 winner: South Bend Cubs)
What team made the biggest mark on the industry with improved operations, increased attendance and noticeable buzz?

Best Major Ballpark Renovations (2015 winner: CenturyLink Sports Complex and Hammond Stadium)
Best Ballpark Renovations (2015 winners: AutoZone Park and Dr Pepper Ballpark)
What renovations best impacted operations and gave a fresh start to fans and a franchise?

Best Ballpark Improvement (2015 winner: West Michigan Whitecaps)
It doesn’t take a ballpark renovation for a team or municipality to improve a facility; sometimes all it takes is a little imagination.

Best New Food Item (2015 winner: Sweenie Donut Dog, Wilmington Blue Rocks)
What new ballpark food item made your mouth water?

Best Promotion (2015 winners: Brooklyn Cyclones)
Promotions are the heart and soul of professional baseball. What team showed the most imagination in bringing a new promotion to fans? We like to see flair and imagination, as well as effectiveness, when it comes to noteworthy promotions.

Best Commitment to Charity (2015 winner: Quad Cities River Bandits)
Successful teams usually have some level of commitment to charity, giving back to their communities. What team or organization should recognized for their commitment to charity?

Editor’s Choice (2015 winner: Granderson Stadium)
We use this as a wild-card category; past winners have included MiLB for charity efforts and the Cape Cod League for sending a league baseball to space.

Best New Product for the Industry (2015 winner: Stadium One)
What new product made lives easier for baseball’s front offices? These days tech is driving so much in the sport, and we want to hear about new tech from users and vendors alike.

Organization of the Year (2015 winner: Goldklang Group)
What front office boosted the fortunes of their team to best effect? We’re looking to honor the entire front-office team here, as well as owners of multiple teams who excel across the board.

Best New Logo/Branding (2015 winner: Daytona Tortugas)
What teams overhauled their looks to a positive effect? What team successfully enhanced their image with a new branding?

Broadcaster of the Year (2015 winner: Josh Whetzel, Rochester Red Wings)
Who notably calls a game?

We are likely to refine this list further after all the submissions are in — our goal to recognize accomplishments in the industry, not to ignore them because of some arbitrary restrictions. And we are likely to be expanding this list into MLB and MiLB/indy/summer collegiate divisions, as we’ve already heard from some MLB teams about submissions. Our deadline: Sept. 7.

At this point, we want to see your nominations. We usually receive 400 or pages of documentation from teams and PR agencies making a pitch for an award, and these presentations are a great help. But you don’t need to create a big presentation to nominate yourself, your team or your friend for an award: All we need is an email ( All submissions, of course, will be treated with absolute privacy, so go ahead and push your credentials!

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