With the field narrowed from 30 to 16, we enter the next round of the 2018 Best of the Ballparks fan vote for Triple-A facilities, encompassing the ballparks of the International League and the Pacific Coast League. So vote!
In general, the 19,000 folks who weighed in on the first round followed our seeds (which you can see at the end of this article), but there were some extremely close votes. Coolray Field, Gwinnett Stripers home, edged out the Dell Diamond, by just 10 votes. Werner Park, Omaha Storm Chasers home, edged out Raley Field, by just five votes. And Cheney Stadium, Tacoma Rainiers home, edged out Greater Nevada Field by four votes. So this is a competition where your vote can and will make a difference.
The top vote-getters in contested brackets: AutoZone Park (Memphis Redbirds), BB&T Ballpark (Charlotte Knights) and Southwest University Park (El Paso Chihuahuas).
The fact that so many really great ballparks are in Triple-A represents a real challenge to voters, which we discovered when seeding the competition: you could argue that several ballparks deserve the top seed, and so many ballparks don’t deserve to be in the bottom half. We always use last year’s champion as the top seed, so Huntington Park, Columbus Clippers home, begins on top.
We know from marketing stats that 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 things to note. 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. A running tally of the vote will be presented, and you can view the results to date in the brackets graphic at the bottom of this page.
Here’s our schedule for Best of the Ballparks 2018 vote:
Class A and Class AA: Now-June 19
Class AAA: Now-July 6
Short Season A/Rookie: Now-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 the coming days. Here’s a breakdown of the voting schedule:
First Round: Completed
Second Round: Now – June 23, 2 p.m. Central
Elite Eight: June 23, 2 p.m. Central – June 27, 2 p.m. Central
Final Four: June 27, 2 p.m. Central – July 1, 2 p.m. Central
Finals: July 1, 2 p.m. Central – July 6, 4 p.m. Central
Here’s our ranking of Triple-A ballparks, combining International League and Pacific Coast League facilities. Occupying the top spot is Huntington Park, home of the Columbus Clippers, the winner of the Best of the Ballparks 2017 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. Huntington Park (Columbus Clippers; IL)
2. First Tennessee Park (Nashville Sounds; PCL)
3. Victory Field (Indianapolis Indians; IL)
4. BB&T Ballpark (Charlotte Knights; IL)
5. Louisville Slugger Field (Louisville Bats; IL)
6. Durham Bulls Athletic Park (Durham Bulls; IL)
7. Coca-Cola Park (Lehigh Valley IronPigs; IL)
8. Southwest University Park (El Paso Chihuahuas; PCL)
9. Dell Diamond (Round Rock Express; PCL)
10. AutoZone Park (Memphis Redbirds; PCL)
11. Fifth Third Field (Toledo Mud Hens; IL)
12. Werner Park (Omaha Storm Chasers; PCL)
13. Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (Oklahoma City Dodgers; PCL)
14. Greater Nevada Field (Reno Aces; PCL)
15. Isotopes Park (Albuquerque Isotopes; PCL)
16. Frontier Field (Rochester Red Wings; IL)
17. Coca-Cola Field (Buffalo Bisons; IL)
18. Smith’s Ballpark (Salt Lake Bees; PCL)
19. Cheney Stadium (Tacoma Rainiers; PCL)
20. PNC Field (Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders; IL)
21. Raley Field (Sacramento River Cats; PCL)
22. Chukchansi Park (Fresno Grizzlies; PCL)
23. Principal Park (Iowa Cubs; PCL)
24. Coolray Field (Gwinnett Stripers; IL)
25. Harbor Park (Norfolk Tides; IL)
26. Shrine on Airline (New Orleans Baby Cakes; PCL)
27. NBT Bank Stadium (Syracuse Chiefs; IL)
28. McCoy Stadium (Pawtucket Red Sox; IL)
29. Security Service Field (Colorado Springs Sky Sox; PCL)
30. Cashman Field (Las Vegas 51s; PCL)