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2023 Best of the Ballparks, Summer Collegiate moves to Elite Eight

Ballpark Digest squareWe have a fascinating mix of ballparks old and new up for your consideration in the Elite Eight round of the 2023 Best of the Ballparks, Summer Collegiate fan vote.

This year’s Elite Eight sees a wide range of ballparks, including a former Triple-A ballpark (Robin Roberts Stadium), Double-A venue (Jackson Baseball Stadium), a former Low-A ballpark (Warner Park), a former Short Season-A venue (Centennial Field) and a former indy ballpark (Turtle Creek Stadium). We also have one of the oldest baseball facilities on the continent in the form of Cardines Field, as well as one of the newest, Seaman Stadium, custom-built for summer-collegiate ball.

Receiving the most votes in the Sweet Sixteen round: Alumni Field (Keene Swamp Bats), Seaman Stadium (Okotoks Dawgs), Centennial Field (Vermont Lake Monsters), Jackson Baseball Stadium (Jackson Rockabillys), Cardines Field (Newport Gulls) and Mel Olson Stadium (DubSea Fish Sticks, in an unfortunate matchup).

To say summer-collegiate baseball is still in a growth cycle would be an understatement, as new teams pop up every summer. Because of timing and resources, we’re limiting this particular vote to 32 teams. Running this competition is a much more daunting task than one would assume, mostly due to the sheer number of summer-collegiate teams and leagues. We began with a master list of 116 contenders, a list that could have been much larger had we included the 16 summer-collegiate ballparks in the two leagues with direct MLB ties, the Appalachian League and MLB Draft League. We trimmed that master list to 32 strong contenders, based on what ballparks and teams successfully combined top ballpark aesthetics, history and current offerings to create a top fan experience, as well as performances in past fan votes. From that list we randomly generated the brackets, resulting in this lineup.

Is this a perfect list? No. If your favorite summer-collegiate ballpark did not make the cut, our apologies in advance; given how many fine facilities are out there, inevitably tough decisions needed to be made, but rest assured we agonized over the 32-ballpark final list. We will revisit the parameters of this particular competition in 2024.

Last year’s top two ballparks in the fan vote–Robin Roberts Stadium, home of the Springfield Lucky Horseshoes, and Cardines Field, home of the Newport Gulls—are the top two seeds, but the rest of the seeds were randomly generated. So ignore the seedings and vote for your favorites:

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