It’s that time of year again. With the summer in full swing, we are announcing the launch of nominations for the annual Ballpark Digest Awards, covering the 2019 season. And we want to hear from you!
We are currently in phase one of awards season: we run the Best of the Ballparks competition as a fan vote. In the fall we switch to industry awards—MLB, MiLB, independent, summer collegiate and college—with the annual Ballpark Digest Awards, as chosen by the site editors. The lineup may change from year to year, but over the years we’ve been blessed to highlight some great achievements in the game.
Here’s a look at last year’s awards:
And, as in past years, we need your help. We are seeking nominations for the following awards, which will be announced beginning in August.
Broadcaster of the Year (MLB) Who notably calls a game? Who presents the best face of the game? Who tells the best stories? 2018 winner: Pat Hughes.
Broadcaster of the Year (MLB) Which MLB broadcaster consistently calls a great game? An entire body of work will be evaluated in this case, so longtime broadcasters will be considered for accomplishments over their whole careers, rather than just one season. 2018 winner: Tim Heiman.
Best Renovation What renovations best impacted operations and gave a fresh start to fans and a franchise? Here we are looking at large-scale, coordinated renovations affecting the entire ballpark. 2018 winner (MLB): Bat & Barrel, Minnesota Twins. Beat Ballpark Renovation (MiLB/College): Franklin Rogers Park, Mankato MoonDogs.
Best Ballpark Improvements What specific ballpark improvements made an impact on the fan experience? As opposed to best ballpark renovation, these awards are more focused in scope. 2018 winner: Over $1M, GCU Ballpark. 2018 winner: Under $1M: Round Rock Express
Best Continual Ballpark Improvements What ballpark has undergone gradual, but beneficial changes in recent years? This award, new for 2019, is for a ballpark that just finished a major multiyear renovation or has benefited from a series of smaller capital improvements over the last 3-4 seasons.
Best New Logo/Branding What teams overhauled their looks to a positive effect? What team successfully enhanced their image with a new branding? 2018 winner: Copa de La Diversión.
Best Promotion Promotions are the heart and soul of professional baseball. What team showed the most imagination in bringing a new promotion to fans? We like to see flair and imagination, as well as effectiveness, when it comes to noteworthy promotions. 2018 winner: Deaf Awareness Night, Myrtle Beach Pelicans.
Best Charity Event / Commitment to Charity Successful teams usually have some level of commitment to charity, giving back to their communities. What team or organization should be recognized for their commitment to charity? 2018 winner: Hartford Yard Goats.
Best New Food Item What new ballpark food item made your mouth water?
Best New Concessions Experience What ballpark has rolled out the most complete revamp to its food and beverage offerings? This can include renovated or rebranded stands, overhauled menus, and any major upgrades that directly affected a ballpark’s concessions slate.
Executive of the Year Who is a leading light in the front office, making an impact on the game? 2018 winner: Doug Scopel, Nashville Sounds.
Team of the Year What team made the biggest mark on the industry with improved operations, increased attendance and noticeable buzz? 2018 winner: Indianapolis Indians.
Organization of the Year What front office boosted the fortunes of their team to best effect? We’re looking to honor the entire front-office team here, as well as owners of multiple teams who excel across the board. 2018 winner: Elmore Sports Group.
Continued Excellence It’s one thing to put together a great year; it’s another thing to do it for years. This award is designed for extended excellence.2018 winner: Fort Wayne TinCaps.
Editor’s Choice We use this as a wild-card category; past winners have included MiLB for charity efforts, MLB for a Fort Bragg game and the Cape Cod League for sending a league baseball to space. If there’s something that does not fit in the previous categories, enter it here. We want to recognize the truly noteworthy, not just fill a checklist. 2018 winner: Ivy at Berlin Place, South Bend Cubs.
We are likely to refine this list further after all the submissions are in—our goal is to recognize accomplishments in the industry, not to ignore them because of some arbitrary restrictions. And we are likely to be expanding this list into MLB and MiLB/indy/summer collegiate divisions, as we’ve already heard from MLB and MiLB teams about submissions. Our deadline: August 14.
Awards will be rolled out over a period of months, likely beginning in mid-to-late August.
At this point, we want to see your nominations. We usually receive 400 or pages of documentation from teams and PR agencies making a pitch for an award, and these presentations are a great help. But you don’t need to create a big presentation to nominate yourself, your team or your friend for an award: All we need is an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). All submissions, of course, will be treated with absolute privacy, so go ahead and push your credentials!