After a largely uneventful first round featuring plenty of byes, we’re on to the second round of the rookie-level Best of the Ballparks 2019 fan vote. This is where the fun begins, so go ahead and vote!
Only two brackets were in play; there are only 18 ballparks at the Rookie level, so the byes were needed to fill out a 32-spot bracket. In the two contested brackets fans chose Home of the Owlz (Orem Owlz) over Boyce Cox Field (Bristol Pirates) and Northeast Community Credit Union Ballpark (Joe O’Brien Field) over Legion Field (Danville Braves). So we move on to the second round.
Sharp-eyed fans will see a new name on the list: UCHealth Park, home of the Rocky Mountain Vibes. The Vibes are the former Helena Brewers; the team moved to Colorado Springs in the offseason and set up shop in the former Triple-A ballpark.
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 Rookie-level ballparks, combining Pioneer League and Appalachian League ballparks. 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 TVA Credit Union Ballpark, home of the Pioneer League’s Johnson City Cardinals, the winner of the Best of the Ballparks in 2017 and 2018 voting. We 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. TVA Credit Union Ballpark (Johnson City Cardinals; AppL)
2. Dehler Park (Billings Mustangs; PL)
3. UCHealth Park (Colorado Springs Vibes; PL)
4. Calfee Park (Pulaski Yankees; AppL)
5. Burlington Athletic Stadium (Burlington Royals; AppL)
6. Lindquist Field (Ogden Raptors; PL)
7. Melaleuca Field (Idaho Falls Chukars; PL)
8. Suplizio Field (Grand Junction Rockies; PL)
9. Pioneer Park (Greeneville Reds; AppL)
10. Ogren Park at Allegiance Field (Missoula Osprey; PL)
11. Centene Stadium (Great Falls Voyagers; PL)
12. Hunnicutt Field (Princeton Rays; AppL)
13. Hunter Wright Stadium (Kingsport Mets; AppL)
14. Bowen Field (Bluefield Blue Jays; AppL)
15. Legion Field (Danville Braves; AppL)
16. Boyce Cox Field (Bristol Pirates; AppL)
17. Home of the Owlz (Orem Owlz; PL)
18. Northeast Community Credit Union Ballpark (Joe O’Brien Field) (Elizabethton Twins; AppL)
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 Rookie-level vote:
First Round: Completed
Second Round: Now-June 27, 3 p.m. Central
Third Round: June 27, 3 p.m. Central- through July 2, 3 p.m. Central
Semifinals Round: July 2, 3 p.m. Central through July 7, 3 p.m. Central
Finals: July 7, 3 p.m. Central through end of day, July 12
Here’s our schedule for Best of the Ballparks 2019 vote:
Low A: Completed (Fort Wayne TinCaps)
High A: Completed (LECOM Park)
Class AA: Now-June 23
Class AAA: Now-June 30
Short Season A/Rookie: Now-July 12
Independent: Now-July 8
Summer Collegiate: Now-July 13
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.