Welcome to Best of the Ballparks 2021 fan vote for MLB Partner Leagues ballparks! You don't need to login to vote: Just click on your preferences. Please sign up to be notified of vote results; entering your email address will automatically add you to the twice-weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter list.
This is a new category, made up mostly of what were previously called independent leagues. But after the great MLB reorganization of what were Minor League Baseball and independent-league baseball, we now have MLB Partner Leagues. The Frontier League, American Association and Atlantic League still exist, but they were joined in MLB Partner League ranks by the Pioneer League, formerly an affiliated Rookie league. In addition, we saw a slew of formerly affiliated teams joins the ranks of MLB Partner Leagues.
(OK, so strictly speaking, not every ballpark here is part of an MLB Partner League: Jimmy John's Field and Volcanoes Stadium host professional baseball and fall under the imprimatur of independent baseball.)
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 (we have seen plenty of ballpark cisterns while on visits in the past), how these ballparks have made an impact in their communities, 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. Clipper Magazine Stadium received the most votes in the 2020 independent-baseball vote, so the home of the Lancaster Barnstormers automatically received the top seed. We also included the Canadian ballparks in the MLB Partner Leagues, though they are not current in use to do border travel restrictions. This is consistent with our decision to include Canadian ballparks, such as Rogers Centre, in other votes. This was a very difficult bracket to seed: you had a traditional set of indy ballparks combined with a wide range of formerly affiliated facilties ranging from Triple-A to Low-A and rookie/short-season leagues. As is our practice, we placed a new ballpark, CaroMont Health Park, new home of the Gastonia Honey Hunters, near the middle of the rankings. This is not a reflection of the ballpark; we have not visited, so we feel this ranking is the fairest approach to the issue.
Here are our seeds for the Best of the Ballparks 2021 fan vote for MLB Partner League ballparks:
AA = American Association
AtL = Atlantic League
FL = Frontier League
PL = Pioneer League
We are running the contest with seeded brackets, so there will be plenty of action in coming days. Here’s our schedule for the Best of the Ballparks 2021 MLB Partner Leagues vote:
First Round: Completed
Second Round: Completed
Third Round: Completed
Fourth Round: Completed
Finals: Now through July 1, end of day