We’ve reached the Elite Eight round in the 2018 Best of the Ballparks 2018 Low-A fan vote, with the Midwest League doing extremely well in the previous round. With the races tightening, you know what to do: vote!
Of the Elite Eight in Low-A, seven are from the Midwest League, with only First National Bank Field, home of the South Atlantic League’s Greensboro Grasshoppers, breaking that streak. The top vote-getters in this round: Four Winds Field (South Bend Cubs), Parkview Field (Fort Wayne TinCaps) and Dozer Park (Peoria Chiefs). To say that some of the vote margins were thin is an understatement: Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium (Wisconsin Timber Rattlers) prevailed over SRP Park (Augusta GreenJackets) by a 50.4%-49.6% margin.
Since the voting began in 2015, three different Low-A ballparks have snared the honors, all from the Midwest League: Modern Woodmen Park (2015), Parkview Field (2016) and Four Winds Field (2017). Will this year’s voting break that streak?
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.
Here’s our schedule for Best of the Ballparks 2018 vote:
Class A and Class AA: Now – June 19
Class AAA: June 14 – July 6
Short Season A/Rookie: June 18 – July 6
Independent: June 22 – July 9
Summer Collegiate: July 2 – 22
We are running the contest with seeded brackets, so there will be plenty of action in coming days. Here’s a breakdown of the voting schedule:
First Round: Completed
Second Round: Completed
Elite Eight: June 7, 2 p.m. Central – June 11, 2 p.m. Central
Final Four: June 11, 2 p.m. Central – June 15, 2 p.m. Central
Finals: June 15, 2 p.m. Central – June 19, 4 p.m. Central
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 Low-A ballparks, combining Midwest League and South Atlantic League facilities. This was an extremely difficult list to seed and took much thought and deliberation. Occupying the top spot: Four Winds Field, home of the South Bend Cubs, the winner of the Best of the Ballparks 2017 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. Over 68,000 fans have voted so far in this year’s Best of the Ballparks competition.
1. Four Winds Field (South Bend Cubs; ML)
2. Parkview Field (Fort Wayne TinCaps; ML)
3. Modern Woodmen Park (Quad Cities River Bandits; ML)
4. Spirit Communications Park (Columbia Fireflies; SAL)
5. Fluor Field (Greenville Drive; SAL)
6. SRP Park (Augusta GreenJackets; SAL)
7. First National Bank Field (Greensboro Grasshoppers; SAL)
8. Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park (Charleston RiverDogs; SAL)
9. McCormick Field (Asheville Tourists; SAL)
10. Fifth Third Field (Dayton Dragons; ML)
11. Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium (Wisconsin Timber Rattlers; ML)
12. Dow Diamond (Great Lakes Loons; ML)
13. Fifth Third Ballpark (West Michigan Whitecaps; ML)
14. Cooley Law School Stadium (Lansing Lugnuts; ML)
15. FirstEnergy Park (Lakewood Blueclaws; SAL)
16. Whitaker Bank Ballpark (Lexington Legends; SAL)
17. Appalachian Power Park (West Virginia Power; SAL)
18. Perfect Game Field (Cedar Rapids Kernels; ML)
19. L.P. Frans Stadium (Hickory Crawdads; SAL)
20. Perdue Stadium (Delmarva Shorebirds; SAL)
21. Bowling Green Ballpark (Bowling Green Hot Rods; ML)
22. Northwest Medicine Field (Kane County Cougars; ML)
23. Classic Park (Lake County Captains; ML)
24. State Mutual Stadium (Rome Braves; SAL)
25. Dozer Park (Peoria Chiefs; ML)
26. Intimidators Stadium (Kannapolis Intimidators; SAL)
27. Community Field (Burlington Bees; ML)
28. Ashford University Field (Clinton LumberKings; ML)
29. Municipal Stadium (Hagerstown Suns; SAL)
30. Pohlman Field (Beloit Snappers; ML)