Triple-A Team Takes Home “Ballpark of the Year” Award

dsc06037For the 10th year in a row, Baseballparks.com gave out their Ballpark of the Year award for the best new baseball stadium to open this season. Despite spending over a billion dollars each, neither New York team factored in the final verdict.

Taking into account the best combination of design, site selection and fan amenities, this year’s winner was, of course, the Huntington Park the new home of  the triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, the Columbus Clippers.

“I think this year’s award is even more special than in the past,” said webmaster Joe Mock. “First, this is the tenth straight year we’ve presented this honor. Second, we’ve never seen so much competition for the award.”

Among the nominees were 3 spring-training parks, both New York stadiums, the renovated Royals stadium and five minor league venues.

“When you consider that the Mets’ and Yankees’ new parks were eligible and over two billion dollars were spent building those two, then it’s an understatement to say that there was stiff competition this season,” Mock noted.

This has to especially burn the Yankees since up until this season, the Columbus Clippers were THEIR triple-a affiliate, and this makes only adds to their recent lack of championships.

“To receive this award in a year when there were no less than a dozen new facilities brought on-line, and two of them major league facilities at that, is rather overwhelming and humbling,” said Ken Schnacke, President and General Manager of the Clippers. “This award is a tribute to all the outstanding partners who were a part of our design and construction team; and it was the complete cooperation of this team and our entire community that made our vision become a reality.”

Veteran ballpark reviewer Charlie O’Reilly of Rutherford, NJ has attended games at nearly 350 different pro ballparks, and he was anything but shocked to learn the news. “I can see why Huntington Park was chosen for this award.  It has received rave reviews, and when I visited it, I was really impressed with how the designers created a very accessible space with great views from everywhere in the park, including windows to watch the game from the street a la AT&T Park in San Francisco.  The removable batter’s eye is like nothing I’ve ever seen.  It’s one of the many novel design elements in the park.” O’Reilly’s ballpark reviews can be found here.

The fans have noticed the delightful new ballyard, leading the minor leagues in attendance with a 9,487 per game average, with over 531,312 Clipper-maniacs passing through the gates with 14 games remaining in the season.

Past winners of this “coveted” prize include AT&T Park in San Francisco, Pittsburgh’s PNC Park, Petco Park in San Diego and last year’s winner, Arvest Ballpark, home of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.

Alas, the success of the ballpark hasn’t translated to the product on the field; the Clippers are in last place with a .426 winning percentage and are 17 games back from the lead.


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