It’s time for the Elite Eight round in the 2021 Best of the Ballparks, MLB Summer Collegiate division, comprising ballparks in the sanctioned Appalachian League and MLB Draft League.
This comes after a first round that saw plenty of upsets, including the elimination of #3 seed Muncy Bank Ballpark at Bowman Field (Williamsport Crosscutters, a former champion at the Short Season A level) and #4 seed Medlar Field at Lubrano Park (State College Spikes). All in all, the Appalachian League ballparks were favored by fans. The ballparks receiving the most votes in the first round: Bowen Field (Bluefield Ridge Runners), TVA Credit Union Ballpark (Johnson City Doughboys), Hunter Wright Stadium (Kingsport Axmen), Pioneer Park (Greeneville Flyboys) and Motor Mile Field at Calfee Park (Pulaski River Turtles).
This is a totally new category for 2021. These two summer-collegiate leagues are officially sanctioned by Major League Baseball and feature former Double-A, High-A, Short Season A and Rookie level pro ballparks. The 10-team Appalachian League transitioned from a pro Rookie league to a high-level summer-collegiate leagues, while the six-team MLB Draft League features an assortment of former pro teams. Yes, like everything in 2021, there’s a little weirdness involved. We include Trenton Thunder Ballpark in this vote, even though the summer-collegiate Thunder are playing at Rider University’s Sonny Pittaro Field temporarily after being displaced by the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons. We made the decision to include Sahlen Field, Buffalo’s home, in our Triple-A vote; we include Trenton here in our MLB Summer Collegiate vote.
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.
This was a challenge to seed: ballparks formerly in four levels of play were hard to compare. There is no uniformity at this level yet, and we will be eager to see what our readers think of the new MLB Summer Collegiate lineup. These seeds are based on previous rankings and performances in prior Best of the Ballparks fan votes.
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 at the bottom of this page in the form of brackets. And yes, we will be running a vote for summer-collegiate ballparks not sanctioned by MLB. Vote below: