The Columbus Clippers (Class AAA; International League) are preparing to close out a big season at Huntington Park, as the ballpark will host tonight’s Triple-A National Championship Game.
Huntington Park has had a busy season. Along with hosting home contests for the Clippers, the ballpark was the site of July’s Triple-A All-Star Game. Tonight’s Triple-A National Championship Game will not only add to that busy slate, but make the Clippers the first franchise in history to host both the Triple-A All-Star Game and Championship Game in the same season.
Leading up to tonight’s game, Clippers president and general manager Ken Schnacke reflected on the advantages of hosting both events. More from the Columbus Dispatch:
“Other than I’m bummed out that the Clippers are not in the Triple-A National Championship game, the preparation is going well,” he said. “We tried to break the mold trying to become the first host team to be able to play in this game. We fell a half-game short of getting into the playoffs.”
Columbus will become the first franchise to host the All-Star and national championship games, and Schnacke will tell the powers that be that it shouldn’t be the last. The Clippers asked for both in order to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the stadium.
“I’m certainly going to tell the Triple-A body that moving forward I see more advantages than disadvantages of a team hosting both games,” he said. “Eighty percent of the work was done before the All-Star game. This game will be the exclamation point.”
Since its opening in 2009, Huntington Park has been acclaimed as one of the best ballparks at the Triple-A level, so it should be a fitting venue for the National Championship Game. In fact, Huntington Park won the fan vote in the Ballpark Digest 2018 Best of the Ballparks competition, in a rare repeat of the 2017 vote.
The 2018 Triple-A National Championship Game will see the Durham Bulls (International League) take on the Memphis Redbirds (Pacific Coast League). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern, and the game will air on NBC Sports Network.