Will Huntington Park repeat? Will Coca-Cola Park win for the first time? Those are the big questions as we launch the final round of voting in the 2018 Best of the Ballparks fan vote for Triple-A ballparks.
This will already be a big year for Huntington Park, home of the Columbus Clippers, hosting both the Triple-A All-Star Game and the Triple-A Championship. And Coca-Cola Park continues to be a top facility in all of baseball. This battle should be epic.
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: almost 90,000, a 50 percent rise over 2017’s overall Triple-A ballpark. And over 20,000 fans voted in the Final Four round. Overall, around 350,000 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 July 2. 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.
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: Completed
Finals: Now – 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)