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Best of the Ballparks 2017: Double-A, Elite Eight

Ballpark DigestTime for the next round in the MiLB Best of the Ballparks 2017 fan vote for Double-A baseball, as we move to the Elite Eight round for Eastern, Southern and Texas League facilities. So you know what to do: vote!

First of all: thanks so much for everyone who has taken the time to vote — we truly appreciate it. Second: thanks to every team promoting this contest with their fans via social media and in-game announcements — we truly appreciate it. As of this morning over 97,000 fans have cast their votes in the Best of the Ballparks voting for 2017.

Not quite sure any vote in this round can be deemed an upset, as there are plenty of great ballparks at the Double-A level. However, there were a few lower seeds making their way to the next round, including Peoples Natural Gas Field, home of the Altoona Curve, Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, home of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, and The Diamond, home of the Richmond Flying Squirrels. Interestingly, the Elite Eight features no ballpark from the Texas League.

We’re running the contest with seeded brackets, so there will be plenty of action in coming days. For MiLB, we’re structuring the voting by classification, so the competition is broken down into Triple-A, Double-A, High-A and Low-A. Later this 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 Double-A ballparks, combining Eastern, Southern and Texas League ballparks. This was an extremely difficult list to seed and took several days of thought and deliberation. Occupying the top spot is Pensacola Bayfront Stadium, home of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, 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.

1. Pensacola Bayfront Stadium (Pensacola Blue Wahoos; SL)
2. Regions Field (Birmingham Barons; SL)
3. Dr Pepper Ballpark (Frisco RoughRiders; TL)
4. FirstEnergy Stadium (Reading Fightin Phils; EL)
5. Smokies Park (Tennessee Smokies; SL)
6. Dunkin’ Donuts Park (Hartford Yard Goats; EL)
7. Dickey-Stephens Park (Arkansas Travelers; TL)
8. Whataburger Field (Corpus Christi Hooks; TL)
9. Hadlock Field (Portland Sea Dogs; EL)
10. ONEOK Field (Tulsa Drillers; TL)
11. ARM & HAMMER Park (Trenton Thunder; EL)
12. Bragan Field at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville (Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp; SL)
13. Riverwalk Stadium (Montgomery Biscuits; SL)
14. Canal Park (Akron RubberDucks; EL)
15. Northeast Delta Dental Stadium (New Hampshire Fisher Cats; EL)
16. FNB Field (Harrisburg Senators; EL)
17. Hammons Field (Springfield Cardinals; TL)
18. Arvest Ballpark (Northwest Arkansas Naturals; TL)
19. Trustmark Park (Mississippi Braves; SL)
20. Peoples Natural Gas Field (Altoona Curve; EL)
21. Security Bank Ballpark (Midland RockHounds; TL)
22. MGM Park (Biloxi Shuckers; SL)
23. The Diamond (Richmond Flying Squirrels; EL)
24. The Ballpark at Jackson (Jackson Generals; SL)
25. UPMC Park (Erie SeaWolves; EL)
26. AT&T Field (Chattanooga Lookouts; SL)
27. Prince George’s Stadium (Bowie Baysox; EL)
28. Wolff Stadium (San Antonio Missions; TL)
29. Henry Aaron Stadium (Mobile BayBears)
30. NYSEG Stadium (Binghamton Rumble Ponies; EL)

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