With 48 ballparks in the mix, we’re launching the 2022 MLB Partner Leagues Best of the Ballparks fan vote, as American Association, Atlantic League, Frontier League and Pioneer League teams compete for the title.
The bracket comprises the former major independent leagues as well as the Pioneer League, a former affiliated circuit that transitioned to independent status after the MLB takeover of Minor League Baseball. (We also include two professional ballparks in Michigan and Oregon that are not technically MLB Partner League facilities, but worthy of your consideration.) These leagues saw growth in 2021 from last year’s 45 entries. New this season are Wisconsin Brewing Company Park, home of the Lake County Dockhounds (American Association); Flathead Field, home of the Glacier Range Riders (Pioneer League); and Jackson Field, to be used this season as the temporary home of the Northern Colorado Owlz (Pioneer League). Also returning to action: SIUH Community Park, new home of the Staten Island FerryHawks (Atlantic League), formerly serving as the home of the Staten Island Yankees (NY-Penn League).
Admittedly, this is an unwieldy bracket because of the 48 entries; we decided to go for broke and have a vote of the full field rather than trim the roster to 32 teams. So we begin the voting with what’s essentially a play-in round and a limited number of contested matchups, versus the 16 byes needed to balance the brackets. Still, there are some interesting matchups here, and we think you’ll find the selections to be a challenge.
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.
Here’s our 2022 ranking of MLB Partner League ballparks. This is an extremely difficult list to seed: This list is a combination of former independent-league ballparks as well as a wide range of former affiliated facilities, ranging from Triple-A to Rookie ball. Honestly, there’s not a lot of difference between many of the ballparks in this competition, and there are plenty of arguments for most of these ballparks deserving a higher rating. Results of last year’s vote also played a large part in our seedings, as well as improvements entering this season. Occupying the top spot is Clipper Magazine Stadium, home of the Lancaster Barnstormers and last year’s champion. We don’t expect the voting to follow our seedings: our readers can be independent, and they share a love of ballparks and the fan experience.
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.