It’s Altoona vs. Amarillo in the finals of the 2019 MiLB Double-A Best of the Ballparks vote, as Peoples Natural Gas Field defeated defending champ Dunkin’ Donuts Park and Hodgetown edged Blue Wahoos Stadium in two incredibly close votes.
The home of the Altoona Curve edged out the home of the Hartford Yard Goats by only 119 votes. The margin was slightly wider in the Amarillo Sod Poodles/Pensacola Blue Wahoos matchup at 169 votes, as the new ballpark withstood some late social-media lobbying from Blue Wahoos minority owner Bubba Watson to make it into the finals.
And we’re expecting an exciting final round of voting.
Through the first four rounds of the Double-A vote over 97,000 fans have weighed in, with almost 23,000 participating in the Final Four round; in 2018 over 37.000 fans weighed in during the entire Double-A voting.
As we move up in the MiLB classification ladder, we’re also moving up in terms of the quality of the ballparks, and this year sees an even stronger lineup. This year sees a strong new contender in the field: Hodgetown, new home of the Amarillo Sod Poodles (Texas League), while other facilities are entertaining fans with plenty of 2019 upgrades. This is a fiercely contested classification, to be sure: almost as many fans voted in the first round than did in the entire Double-A vote in 2018.
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.
Here’s our ranking of Double-A ballparks, combining Eastern, Southern and Texas League ballparks. This was an extremely difficult list to seed, as there are plenty of great Double-A ballparks, and it took several days of thought and deliberation. Results of last year’s vote also played a part in our seedings, as well as improvements entering this season. Occupying the top spot is Dunkin’ Donuts Park, home of the Hartford Yard Goats (Eastern League), the winner of the Best of the Ballparks in 2017 and 2018 voting. We honestly don’t expect the voting to follow our seedings: our readers can be independent, and they share a love of ballparks and the fan experience.
1. Dunkin’ Donuts Park (Hartford Yard Goats; EL)
2. Blue Wahoos Stadium (Pensacola Blue Wahoos; SL)
3. Regions Field (Birmingham Barons; SL)
4. Dr Pepper Ballpark (Frisco RoughRiders; TL)
5. FirstEnergy Stadium (Reading Fightin Phils; EL)
6. Hodgetown (Amarillo Sod Poodles; TL)
7. Bragan Field at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville (Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp; SL)
8. Smokies Stadium (Tennessee Smokies; SL)
9. Whataburger Field (Corpus Christi Hooks; TL)
10. Riverwalk Stadium (Montgomery Biscuits; SL)
11. Dickey-Stephens Park (Arkansas Travelers; TL)
12. Hadlock Field (Portland Sea Dogs; EL)
13. Hammons Field (Springfield Cardinals; TL)
14. ONEOK Field (Tulsa Drillers; TL)
15. ARM & HAMMER Park (Trenton Thunder; EL)
16. Canal Park (Akron RubberDucks; EL)
17. MGM Park (Biloxi Shuckers; SL)
18. Northeast Delta Dental Stadium (New Hampshire Fisher Cats; EL)
19. FNB Field (Harrisburg Senators; EL)
20. Arvest Ballpark (Northwest Arkansas Naturals; TL)
21. Peoples Natural Gas Field (Altoona Curve; EL)
22. Trustmark Park (Mississippi Braves; SL)
23. The Diamond (Richmond Flying Squirrels; EL)
24. UPMC Park (Erie SeaWolves; EL)
25. Security Bank Ballpark (Midland RockHounds; TL)
26. The Ballpark at Jackson (Jackson Generals; SL)
27. AT&T Field (Chattanooga Lookouts; SL)
28. NYSEG Stadium (Binghamton Rumble Ponies; EL)
29. Prince George’s Stadium (Bowie Baysox; EL)
30. Henry Aaron Stadium (Mobile BayBears; SL)
We are running the contest with seeded brackets, so there will be plenty of action in coming days. Here’s our schedule for the Best of the Ballparks 2019 Double-A vote:
First Round: Completed
Second Round: Completed
Third Round: Completed
Semifinals Round: Completed
Finals: Now through end of day, June 23
Here’s our schedule for Best of the Ballparks 2019 vote:
Low A: Completed (Fort Wayne TinCaps)
High A: Completed
Class AA: Now-June 23
Class AAA: Now-June 30
Short Season A/Rookie: Now-July 11
Independent: Now-July 9
Summer Collegiate: Now-July 23
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 lineups will count. A running tally of the vote will be presented. Signing up for the Ballpark Digest newsletter means you’ll receive regular updates on the votes.