We’ve seen some phenomenal numbers in this year’s competition, and the Triple-A polling was no different. More fans have voted this year so far for their favorite ballparks in Triple-A than did in all Triple-A rounds in 2017: over 69,000. And almost 30,000 fans voted in the Elite Eight round. Overall, around 290,000 fans have voted in this year’s Best of the Ballparks vote, with multiple rounds left in MilB and independent ball, and the summer-collegiate rounds beginning in July. Thanks to all the fans who have voted, and thanks to all the teams participating in the voting with such vim and vigor: we truly appreciate it.
So now we have an Final Four with four International League facilities: Huntington Park (Columbus Clippers) Louisville Slugger Field (Louisville Bats) Coca-Cola Park (Lehigh Valley IronPigs) and Victory Field (Indianapolis Indians). The top vote-getters in the Elite Eight round: Huntington Park, Southwest University Park (which was edged out by Huntington Park by 14 votes) and Coca-Cola Park.
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: Completed
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: Completed
Elite Eight: Completed
Final Four: Now – 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)