After a few close votes and a few upsets, we’re now in the Elite Eight round of the Best of the Ballparks 2020 independent-baseball competition. So you know what to do: Vote!
We always preach that your vote counts, and that was proved once again in the second round of independent-baseball voting. Fans chose Franklin Field (Milwaukee Milkmen) over Shaw Park (Winnipeg Goldeyes) by just four votes, and AirHogs Stadium (Texas AirHogs) over Constellation Field (Sugar Land Skeeters) by just 21 votes. The five ballparks receiving the most votes in the Sweet Sixteen round: Clipper Magazine Stadium (Lancaster Barnstormers), Impact Field (Chicago Dogs), U.S. Steel Yard (Gary SouthShore RailCats), Boomers Stadium (Schaumburg Boomers) and Truist Point (High Point Rockers).
This is a fascinating group of ballparks, ranging from historic old facilities like Bosse Field (which opened in 1915) to classic former MiLB ballparks like Stade Canac to high-end new facilities like Impact Field and Truist Point. This independent-baseball category features facilities that run the gamut of fan experiences, so there are plenty of varied choices available. For the purposes of this voting, we are presenting what we feel are the top 32 ballparks in independent baseball. So, let the vote begin!
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 independent ballparks in the American Association, Atlantic League, Frontier League and United Shore Professional Baseball League. Seeding in this category is difficult: there is such a wide variety of facilities that comparisons can be difficult. Results of last year’s vote played a part in our seedings, as well as improvements entering this season. Occupying the top spot is Impact Field, home of the American Association’s Chicago Dogs and the winner of the Best of the Ballparks 2019 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. Impact Field (Chicago Dogs; AA)
2. The Depot at Cleburne (Cleburne Railroaders; AA)
3. Constellation Field (Sugar Land Skeeters; AtL)
4. Shaw Park (Winnipeg Goldeyes; AA)
5. U.S. Steel Yard (Gary SouthShore RailCats; AA)
6. CHS Field (St. Paul Saints; AA)
7. TD Bank Ballpark (Somerset Patriots; AtL)
8. Rent One Park (Southern Illinois Miners; FL)
9. Truist Point (High Point Rockers; AtL)
10. Palisades Credit Union Park (New York Boulders; FL)
11. Clipper Magazine Stadium (Lancaster Barnstormers; AtL)
12. Jimmy John’s Field (Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers/Utica Unicorns/Eastside Diamond Hoppers/Westside Woolly Mammoths; USPBL)
13. Franklin Field (Milwaukee Milkmen; AA)
14. AirHogs Stadium (Texas Airhogs; AA)
15. Haymarket Park (Lincoln Saltdogs; AA)
16. PeoplesBank Park (York Revolution; AtL)
17. DuPage Medical Group Field (Joliet Slammers; FL)
18. Boomers Stadium (Schaumburg Boomers; FL)
19. Bethpage Ballpark (Long Island Ducks; AtL)
20. Regency Furniture Stadium (Southern Maryland Blue Crabs; AtL)
21. Bosse Field (Evansville Otters; FL)
22. T-Bones Stadium (Kansas City T-Bones; AA)
23. Yogi Berra Stadium (New Jersey Jackals; FL)
24. UC Health Stadium (Florence Y’alls; FL)
25. Newman Outdoor Field (Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks; AA)
26. Stade Canac (Quebec Capitales; FL)
27. Skylands Stadium (Sussex County Miners; FL)
28. Sioux Falls Stadium (Sioux Falls Canaries; AA)
29. Mercy Field at Lewis & Clark Park (Sioux City Explorers; AA)
30. Crushers Stadium (Lake Erie Crushers; FL)
31. GCS Credit Union Ballpark (Gateway Grizzlies; FL)
32. Stade Quillorama (Trois-Rivières Aigles; FL)
Sharp-eyed readers will note some changes on the list. First, two ballparks are summer-collegiate facilities: New Britain Stadium (New Britain Bees) and CarShield Field (O’Fallon Hoots). Second, the Can-Am League is now part of the Frontier League, but not all Can-Am League teams made the move.
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 independent vote:
First Round: Now through June 28, 3 p.m. C
Second Round: Completed
Third Round: Now through July 7, 3 p.m. C
Semifinals Round: July 7, 3 p.m. C through July 12, 3 p.m.
Finals: July 12, 3 p.m. through end of day, July 16
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 (Whitaker Bank Ballpark)
High A: Completed (The Diamond)
Class AA: Now-July 8
Class AAA: Now-July 10
Short Season A/Rookie: Now-July 17
Independent: Now-July 16
Summer Collegiate: Now-July 20
MLB: July 19-August 14
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.