Your winner in the 2021 Best of the Ballparks fan vote for college facilities: O’Brate Stadium, opening this season as the new home of the Oklahoma State University Cowboys baseball program.
The vote shattered previous records for participation in Best of the Ballparks college-baseball polls: almost 35,000 fans voted at least once in the five rounds of the competition, and more people voted in the final round than did in the entire vote during the last college-baseball vote.
“Thank you to all the fans that voted for O’Brate Stadium and all those who make college baseball so great! We look forward to the day when we can open our doors to everyone who wants to come take in a game at O’Brate Stadium and enjoy the sights and sounds of college baseball in this wonderful facility,” said OSU head coach Josh Holliday. “There are so many wonderful venues across the country, and with more and more programs upgrading their facilities, the pride and fan involvement on each campus will only grow.”
“The upgrading for college ballparks for both players and fans is one of the biggest stories in the industry, and that passion for the college game is reflected in this fan vote,” said Ballpark Digest publisher Kevin Reichard. “We’re grateful to all the fans who voted in this competition, and we’re looking forward to even more fans showing their love for college baseball in 2022.”
Fans selected O’Brate Stadium over Baum-Walker Stadium, home of the Arkansas Razorbacks, by a 54%-46% margin. Named after major benefactor Cecil O’Brate and originally scheduled to open for the 2020 college-baseball season, the ballpark includes approximately 3,500 permanent seats, 11 suites and 400 premium seats in dedicated club and suite areas. Seating can be expanded to 8,000 as needed. On the player side, a “training triangle” area comprised of an indoor facility, a pitching lab and an artificial turf infield allows the Cowboys to practice year-round without having to utilize the ballpark’s main natural grass playing surface. In addition, the facility sports a 7,400-square-foot clubhouse and player lounge, as well as a nutrition center and a tiered-seating classroom.
As newsletter subscribers know, we earlier announced our winners for Best of the Ballparks 2021 for spring training. In the Cactus League, fans once again selected Salt River Fields at Talking Stick (Diamondbacks, Rockies) by a comfortable margin over Camelback Ranch-Glendale (Dodgers, White Sox), while in the Grapefruit League fans chose Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium (Tigers) over LECOM Park (Pirates) by a closer margin: 53%-47%, although the vote was neck-and-neck until the final weekend of voting. Thanks to each and every one of you for voting: over 10,000 fans voted at least once in this competition, which is double the number of voters from a year ago.
Up next: the Best of the Ballparks MLB fan vote, launching on Friday.