We warned that this round was the hardest to seed because of the relative equality of the ballparks in the Triple-A International League and Pacific Coast League. We saw that play out when multiple high seeds were defeated by lower seeds, including #12 seed Isotopes Park (Albuquerque Isotopes) defeating #5 seed Victory Field (Indianapolis Indians), #3 seed First Horizon Park (Nashville Sounds) losing to #14 seed Coca-Cola Park (Lehigh Valley IronPigs) and #4 seed Polar Park (Worcester Red Sox) losing by a single vote to #13 seed NBT Bank Stadium (Syracuse Mets). The ballparks receiving the most votes in the Sweet Sixteen round: Las Vegas Ballpark (Las Vegas Aviators), Durham Bulls Athletic Park, Truist Field (Charlotte Knights), Isotopes Park, Coca-Cola Park and Louisville Slugger Field (Louisville Bats).
We are back to tradition this year: Gone are the old Triple-A East and West designations, replaced by the traditional International League and Pacific Coast League monikers. There is a lot of baseball history and tradition wrapped up in these leagues, so a return to the old league names is welcome. No new ballparks this season, either.
This was a challenge to seed. This is the level just below the majors, and in fact some MLB games have been played in this ballparks. 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, Las Vegas Ballpark (Las Vegas Aviators), is the #1 seed. In terms of MiLB ballpark quality, this is our most balanced competition.
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: