It’s no secret that MLB has targeted these two leagues for contraction in 2021, but nothing is as yet final. And even if MiLB contraction happens, we’re guessing we’ll see some level of baseball at these facilities come 2021 and beyond. So let MLB know what you think of these hometown treasures.
Because there are only 18 teams in the Appalachian and Pioneer Leagues, this first round features plenty of byes, with only two contested brackets. So consider this a play-in of sorts.
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. Motor Mile Field at Calfee Park received the most votes in 2019, so the home of the Pulaski Yankees automatically received the top seed. 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. Motor Mile Field at Calfee Park (Pulaski Yankees; AppL)
2. Dehler Park (Billings Mustangs; PL)
3. UCHealth Park (Colorado Springs Vibes; PL)
4. Burlington Athletic Stadium (Burlington Royals; AppL)
5. Lindquist Field (Ogden Raptors; PL)
6. TVA Credit Union Ballpark (Johnson City Cardinals; AppL)
7. Melaleuca Field (Idaho Falls Chukars; PL)
8. Suplizio Field (Grand Junction Rockies; PL)
9. Northeast Community Credit Union Ballpark (Elizabethton Twins; AppL)
10. Pioneer Park (Greeneville Reds; AppL)
11. Ogren Park at Allegiance Field (Missoula PaddleHeads; PL)
12. Centene Stadium (Great Falls Voyagers; PL)
13. Hunnicutt Field (Princeton Rays; AppL)
14. Home of the Owlz (Orem Owlz; PL)
15. Hunter Wright Stadium (Kingsport Mets; AppL)
16. Bowen Field (Bluefield Blue Jays; AppL)
17. Legion Field (Danville Braves; AppL)
18. Boyce Cox Field (Bristol Pirates; AppL)
AppL = Appalachian League
PL = Pioneer League
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 2020 Rookie vote:
First Round: Now through June 26, 3 p.m. C
Second Round: June 26, 3 p.m. C through July 30, 3 p.m.
Third Round: June 30, 3 p.m. C through July 4, 3 p.m. C
Semifinals Round: July 4, 3 p.m. C through July 9, 3 p.m.
Finals: July 9, 3 p.m. through end of day, July 14
Here’s our schedule for Best of the Ballparks 2020 vote:
Spring Training: Completed (winners: Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium and Salt River Fields)
Low A: Completed (winner: Whitaker Bank Ballpark, Lexington Legends)
High A: Now-June 22
Class AA: Now-July 8
Class AAA: Now-July 10
Short Season A/Rookie: Now-July 14
Independent: June 24-July 16
Summer Collegiate: June 29-July 20
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.