We are back to tradition this year: Gone are the old Double-A regional designations, replaced by the traditional Double-A league names: Eastern League, Southern League and Texas League. There is a lot of baseball history and tradition wrapped up in these leagues, so a return back to the old monikers is welcome. No new ballparks this season, and no major renovations, either. Receiving the most votes in contested brackets in the first round: Toyota Field (Rocket City Trash Pandas), ONEOK Field (Tulsa Drillers), Riverwalk Stadium (Montgomery Biscuits), Riverfront Stadium (Wichita Wind Surge), Whataburger Field (Corpus Christi Hooks) and Regions Field (Birmingham Barons).
This was a challenge to seed. This isn’t the result of a formal grading system, but rather recommendations based on years of attending games, seeing how the ballparks function behind the scenes, how these ballparks have made an impact in their communities, performances in previous Best of the Ballparks competitions, and noting how ballparks are regarded within the industry. One of the reasons we love working in baseball is that many industry folks, including many on the player side, are ballpark geeks, and we think this list reflects broad sentiment among those who know ballparks best. This is a wide-open competition. Last year’s winner, Dunkin’ Donuts Park (Hartford Yard Goats), is the #1 seed. In terms of MiLB ballpark quality, this is one of the most balanced competitions.
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.
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. Vote below: