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Best of the Ballparks 2018: Independent Baseball, Sweet Sixteen

Ballpark DigestVoting was hot and heavy in the first round of the 2018 Best of the Ballparks fan vote for independent baseball, with almost 60,000 fans weighing in. So we’re moving on to the Sweet Sixteen round and an intriguing set of matchups. So go vote!

Independent voters are predictably independent, so there were plenty of upsets. First, #1 seed The Depot at Cleburne Station, last year’s champ, was edged out by The Corn Crib, while #2 seed CHS Field was edged out by Carshield Field. The top vote-getters in this round: TD Bank Ballpark, Rent One Park and The Corn Crib, in that order. We also saw a few other upsets along the way (check out the brackets graphic at the bottom of this page), so it’s now time to vote!

This competition covers the top 32 facilities in the American Association, Atlantic League, Can-Am LeagueFrontier League and United Shore Professional Baseball League.

For the purposes of this voting, we are presenting what we feel are the top 32 ballparks in independent baseball. So, let the vote begin!

Here’s our schedule for Best of the Ballparks 2018 vote:

MLB: Completed
Class A and Class AA: Completed
Class AAA: June 14-July 6
Short Season A/Rookie: Now-July 6
Independent: Now-July 10
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: Now-June 30, 2 p.m. Central
Third Round: June 30, 2 p.m. Central-July 3,  2 p.m. Central
Fourth Round: July 3,  2 p.m. Central-July 6,  2 p.m. Central
Finals: July 6, 2 p.m. Central-July 10, 4 p.m. Central

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.

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 is our ranking of the top 32 independent ballparks. This is partially based on prior votes, partially based on our visits and partly based on advise from broadcasters and front-office folks in the indy world. Occupying the top spot is The Depot at Cleburne, home of the Cleburne Railroaders, the winner of the Best of the Ballparks 2017 voting. Yes, we know there are some good independent ballparks aside from this 32, but we went back to last year’s vote and adjusted this seeding to reward teams whose fans turned out to vote. Since the voting began in 2015, TD Bank Ballpark, home of the Atlantic League’s Somerset Patriots, won the first two fan votes.

1. The Depot at Cleburne (Cleburne Railroaders; AA)
2. CHS Field (St. Paul Saints; AA)
3. TD Bank Ballpark (Somerset Patriots; AtL)
4. Impact Field (Chicago Dogs; AA)
5. Rent One Park (Southern Illinois Miners; FL)
6. Shaw Park (Winnipeg Goldeyes; AA)
7. U.S. Steel Yard (Gary SouthShore RailCats; AA)
8. AirHogs Stadium (Texas Airhogs; AA)
9. Constellation Field (Sugar Land Skeeters; AtL)
10. Wuerfel Park (Traverse City Beach Bums; FL)
11. Palisades Credit Union Park (Rockland Boulders; Can-Am)
12. Clipper Magazine Stadium (Lancaster Barnstormers; AtL)
13. Joliet Route 66 Stadium (Joliet Slammers; FL)
14. PeoplesBank Park (York Revolution; AtL)
15. Bethpage Ballpark (Long Island Ducks; AtL)
16. Regency Furniture Stadium (Southern Maryland Blue Crabs; AtL)
17. RCGT Park (Ottawa Champions; Can-Am League)
18. Bosse Field (Evansville Otters; FL)
19. Jimmy John’s Field (Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers/Utica Unicorns/Eastside Diamond Hoppers/Westside Woolly Mammoths; USPBL)
20. Haymarket Park (Lincoln Saltdogs; AA)
21. T-Bones Stadium (Kansas City T-Bones; AA)
22. Boomers Stadium (Schaumburg Boomers; FL)
23. UC Health Stadium (Florence Freedom)
24. Newman Outdoor Field (Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks; AA)
25. Stade Canac (Quebec Capitales; Can-Am)
26. New Britain Stadium (New Britain Bees; AtL)
27. Yogi Berra Stadium (New Jersey Jackals; Can-Am)
28. Skylands Stadium (Sussex County Miners; Can-Am)
29. Sioux Falls Stadium (Sioux Falls Canaries; AA)
30. Standard Bank Stadium (Windy City ThunderBolts; FL)
31. CarShield Field (River City Rascals; FL)
32. The Corn Crib (Normal Cornbelters; FL)

Best of the Ballparks independent

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