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.
We are running the contest with seeded brackets, so there will be plenty of action in coming days. For MiLB, we’re be 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 Triple-A ballparks, combining International League and Pacific Coast League facilities. This was an extremely difficult list to seed and took several days of thought and deliberation. Occupying the top spot is Louisville Slugger Field, home of the Louisville Bats, the winner of the Best of the Ballparks 2016 voting. This is the top level of Minor League Baseball and the top set of MiLB ballparks, and there’s not a whole lot of difference between the ballparks in the middle of this list; the rankings are a gentle guide, to be sure.
1. Louisville Slugger Field (Louisville Bats; IL)
2. Victory Field (Indianapolis Indians; IL)
3. Coca-Cola Park (Lehigh Valley IronPigs; IL)
4. BB&T Ballpark (Charlotte Knights; IL)
5. First Tennessee Park (Nashville Sounds; PCL)
6. Durham Bulls Athletic Park (Durham Bulls; IL)
7. Southwest University Park (El Paso Chihuahuas; PCL)
8. Huntington Park (Columbus Clippers; IL)
9. AutoZone Park (Memphis Redbirds; PCL)
10. Fifth Third Field (Toledo Mud Hens; IL)
11. Greater Nevada Field (Reno Aces; PCL)
12. Isotopes Park (Albuquerque Isotopes; PCL)
13. Dell Diamond (Round Rock Express; PCL)
14. Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (Oklahoma City Dodgers; PCL)
15. Werner Park (Omaha Storm Chasers; PCL)
16. Frontier Field (Rochester Red Wings; IL)
17. Coca-Cola Field (Buffalo Bison; IL)
18. Smith’s Ballpark (Salt Lake Bees; PCL)
19. PNC Field (Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders; IL)
20. Principal Park (Iowa Cubs; PCL)
21. Raley Field (Sacramento River Cats; PCL)
22. Cheney Stadium (Tacoma Rainiers; PCL)
23. Coolray Field (Gwinnett Braves; IL)
24. Chukchansi Park (Fresno Grizzlies; PCL)
25. Harbor Park (Norfolk Tides; IL)
26. McCoy Stadium (Pawtucket Red Sox; IL)
27. Zephyr Field (New Orleans Zephyrs; PCL)
28. NBT Bank Stadium (Syracuse Chiefs; IL)
29. Security Service Field (Colorado Springs Sky Sox; PCL)
30. Cashman Field (Las Vegas 51s; PCL)