It was Blue Wahoos Stadium over Hodgetown in the final round of the Best of the Ballparks 2020 vote, as fans chose the home of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Southern League) as their favorite Double-A facility.
It was a battle of high seeds, with #3 seed Blue Wahoos Stadium edging last year’s champion and #1 seed Hodgetown, home of the Amarillo Sod Poodles (Texas League), in the final round. Over 84,000 fans voted at least once in the course of the Double-A voting, with over 11,000 voters participating in the final round of voting. As noted, Hodgetown won 2019’s honors in the midst of its inaugural season; Blue Wahoos Stadium won 2016 honors, with other prior winners include Birmingham’s Regions Field (2015) and Hartford’s Dunkin’ Donuts Park (2017 and 2018). All three Double-A leagues are represented by winners at some point.
“We’re very excited to bring the title of Best Ballpark back to Pensacola,” team president Jonathan Griffith said. “Our mission as an organization is to improve the quality of life in our community, so it’s an honor for us to bring this recognition to our city. While we’re proud to have a great ballpark, we’re even more proud to have such incredible fans who voted us to the title.”
Despite the cancelation of the 2020 Minor League Baseball season, it’s been a notable summer for the Blue Wahoos, unveiling two promotions to take upon the slack with the lack of baseball. First came Bubba Watson’s Diamond Disc Golf Challenge, with a nine-hole disc-golf course laid out by team owner Bubba Watson. Then came the promotion that made national headlines: The team listed Blue Wahoos Stadium, with complete ballpark access, on AirBnB. At $1,500 per night, the Blue Wahoos Stadium AirBnB experience features run of the ballpark, including the newly renovated and fully furnished clubhouse, a large bedroom with 10 beds, the batting cage, and the playing field. The experience covers everything available to players and more, including videogames in the clubhouse, breakfast at home plate and more. The newly renovated clubhouse at Blue Wahoos Stadium includes four leather couches, two flat screen TVs, a ping pong table, padded chairs, and two large tables. Two bathrooms with showers are connected directly to the clubhouse. The large bedroom is connected directly to the clubhouse and has four bunk beds and two queen-sized beds, allowing 10 to sleep comfortably. It also includes two flat screen televisions and a kitchenette with a fridge, freezer, coffeemaker, and microwave.
“Despite all the bad news, the Blue Wahoos ownership and management have responded with verve and imagination, refusing to let down their fans,” said Ballpark Digest Publisher Kevin Reichard. “The win in the fan vote against such a tough foe really shows how loved the Blue Wahoos are in the community.”
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, Lexington Legends)
High A: Completed (The Diamond, Lake Elsinore Storm)
Class AA: Completed (Blue Wahoos Stadium, Pensacola Blue Wahoos)
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