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It’s Okotoks vs. Vermont in 2023 Best of the Ballparks, Summer Collegiate finals

Ballpark Digest squareIt’s Seaman Stadium (Okotoks Dawgs) vs. Centennial Field (Vermont Lake Monsters) in the finals of the 2023 Best of the Ballparks, Summer Collegiate fan vote.

The victory by Seaman Stadium means we will have a new champion this year, as the home of the Dawgs outpaced Robin Roberts Stadium, last year’s champion, in Final Four voting.

This year’s championship round is certainly a study in contrasts: Seaman Stadium is one of the newest summer-collegiate ballparks, opening in 2007 and upgraded since, while Centennial Field is one of the venerated old ballparks of baseball, originally opening in 1906 with a wooden grandstand and rebuilt with concrete and steel main grandstand in 1922, albeit upgraded several times since. (For those not up on their geography, Okotoks is south of Calgary, and Centennial Field is located on the University of Vermont campus in Burlington.)

Receiving the most votes in the Finals Four round: Seaman StadiumRobin Roberts Stadium (Springfield Lucky Horseshoes, in an unfortunate matchup), Centennial Field and Alumni Field (Keene Swamp Bats).

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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