Stadium Journey's 2023 Ranking of the Double-A Ballparks
Photo created by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey
The landscape of Double-A baseball has changed dramatically in the last couple of seasons. This past season 30 clubs in the Southern League, Eastern League, and the Texas League took the field and played games from early April to late September, resulting in over 10 million fans for an average of around 4,483 per game. The ballparks haven’t changed, perhaps some of the ball clubs and cities, but the true essence of family fun remains.
We present our rankings of the overall experience. Factors we include in our ratings are food and beverage in the ballpark, overall atmosphere, the neighborhood, the fans, access (which includes parking, traffic, restrooms, and concourses), return on investment, and an “extras” category for any unique or bonus points.
Without further ado, our 2023 Double-A Baseball ballpark rankings.
Michael Davis - Riders Field offers one of the best minor league baseball experiences in an intimate setting in a populated area. The Frisco area is becoming a sports fan’s destination paradise. If you’re in the Metroplex, be sure to give the ballpark, the lazy river, and the Frisco RoughRiders a visit – seeing this park is well worth it for the unique entertainment experience.
Gregory Koch - We have seen numerous older ballparks across minor league baseball close recently. Thankfully, it doesn’t seem likely that FirstEnergy Stadium will suffer the same fate, and we hope it stays that way. It is truly a gem of a stadium and among the last of its kind. It marries the old-school charm with the quirkiness of today’s ballparks.
Paul Baker - It feels like newer ballparks attract big crowds for a few years until interest fades and attendance settles in at a lower baseline. Dunkin’ Park seems to be bucking that trend as they play their sixth season in downtown Hartford, with crowds increasing annually. Complaints about the long road to building the ballpark have disappeared as Connecticut baseball fans enjoy one of the best ballparks in the minor leagues.
Meg Minard - ONEOK Field sports and entertainment is very much geared towards families and children. In addition, it is still an enjoyable visit for those without youngsters. Tulsa, though not the ‘hotbed’ of tourist destinations, has plenty to see and visit.
Matt Colville - You know you are in a special place as soon as you walk through the gates. Friendly ushers and the front office staff greet customers at the gates, providing an excellent atmosphere and plenty of on-field excitement. Almost every night, there is a different theme, promotion, or giveaway. Expect plenty of entertainment between innings, with emcees Downtown Dave and Sunshine Sammy providing a multitude of giveaways and games to keep the fans engaged.
Sean MacDonald - The ballpark has something for everyone. The main entrance is one of the most alluring in all the minors, and the unique stadium name shows creativity and a desire to be different. Of course, there is no history or “Road to the Show” display yet, but that will change. The Sod Poodles will be a mainstay in the area for years to come, and all minor league aficionados should schedule a visit at their earliest convenience.
James Hilchen - In its first few seasons, Riverfront Stadium is already a great ballpark. With the plans in place, it will only get better in the coming seasons. Good food, great seats, and an aesthetically pleasing stadium allow for a fun time for fans. For baseball-traveling fanatics, make sure to add this one to your list; it won’t disappoint.
Richard Smith - The Trash Pandas is loved across the minor league baseball landscape, and the ballpark offers eventful promotions and fun times during the spring and summer months in Northern Alabama.
Meg Minard - Baseball radiates strongly at Hammons Field. The ballpark is a dream for the baseball purist, and the Cardinals continue to be the ideal place for baseball enthusiasts and other fans to spend their evenings.
Ethan Stone - Smokies Stadium has been called "America’s Friendliest Ballpark”. It's obvious when fans walk through the gates. Everybody, from the fans to the event staff, is friendly, helpful, and passionate about the game. Check out a Smokies game while you can, as they make plans to relocate back to Knoxville in a few years.
Paul Baker - Hadlock Field is among the top minor league ballparks in the nation. It may have more to do with where it is rather than what it is. It may not be the most modern venue, but it houses enthusiastic, knowledgeable fans and plenty of kitschy touches.
Dave Cottenie - Most people don’t think “grand” or “baseball” when they think of Arkansas, but Dickey-Stephens Park shatters all of these preconceived notions. The stadium is a true minor league gem that provides an amazing game day experience in a beautiful setting that draws folks back again.
Eric Hasman - Canal Park is a comfortable, clean, and well-maintained ballpark and is worth the trip based on the food alone, but the people make this a must-see park. Nestled in the downtown buildings of Akron, Ohio, a RubberDucks game is a great time.
Gregory Koch - While it may not top anyone's list of best minor league ballparks, plenty is going on here to make it well worth visiting. While Manchester is clearly in Red Sox territory, and a Blue Jays affiliate may seem out of place, the team still has its loyal fan base and creates a wonderful game-day atmosphere for all in attendance.
Lloyd Brown - The ballpark provides a great game day experience for the whole family. The park is well-designed and offers several areas to entertain all age groups. The stadium has drawn development to this previously barren area of downtown Birmingham. There is also new housing, restaurants, and other forms of entertainment going up on all sides of the ballpark.
Lloyd Brown - Overall, the venue is a quiet little gem of a ballpark. It’s not grandiose and shiny like its northern neighbor in Birmingham and an ocean paradise like its southern neighbor in Pensacola. But it’s local, friendly, and casual and gives you the feeling that you’ve found something special that only a few know about.
Jay Wagner - Altoona is the ballpark with the roller coaster behind the outfield wall, providing one of the prettier backdrops in the minor leagues. However, there is much more to enjoy at the game during the season.
18. Whataburger Field - Corpus Christi Hooks 3.57
Eric Moreno - The ballpark shows its age but is still beautifully done and in a great location. Visiting Corpus Christi is also always a great respite. Whether you’re taking in another game, visiting one of the many museums, or just heading to the beach and dining on first-class seafood, there is plenty for any visitor to do on the Texas Gulf Coast.
Matthew Collins - The former independent ballpark has made the transition to affiliated ball quite smoothly. The ballpark is regularly packed with fans from all over the Garden State, and its location on the interstate makes it easy to access from the various towns in the area.
Gregory Koch - The ballpark was one of the first new ballparks to open during the ballpark craze started by Camden Yards. As a result, it is certainly a modern ballpark but lacks many of the bells and whistles that the newer parks have. While some of the new ballparks feature 360-degree concourses, specialty concession items, and unique areas, Prince George’s Stadium has none of that.
Lloyd Brown - Chattanooga and AT&T Field can provide you with a moderately priced getaway weekend. The stadium is near all the main attractions in the downtown area, including the Chattanooga Choo Choo, the Tennessee Aquarium, and the Riverwalk along the Tennessee River.
Matt Colville - This 6,000-seat ballpark is situated less than 100 yards from the beaches of the Gulf Coast. Biloxi is known as a casino destination, and MGM Park sits in the middle of all the casino action. The luxurious Beau Rivage Casino, a giant lit-up guitar, and Hard Rock Casino line the backdrop, providing a scene of glitz and glamor that remains unmatched at any ballpark in the country.
Joesph Oakes - While the Diamond shows its age and needs to be replaced, management has done a great job of making the giant chunk of concrete more welcoming through their promotions and “Funnville” initiative. Hopefully, the city of Richmond will keep its word and work with the Flying Squirrels to build a new ballpark.
Dave Cottenie - Taking in a baseball game at Arvest Ballpark in Springdale is a great idea for the whole family and the Northwest Arkansas Naturals provide a great experience. It’s only natural for fans to want to make return trips!
Matt Colville - Trustmark Park may not be as flashy as some of the more modern ballparks, but after close to twenty years, it holds up well as a great place to catch a ballgame. The M-Braves may not pack out the house every night, but they take great pride in being affiliated with their big-league club, something you don't see at many minor-league.
Dave Cottenie - The experience at UPMC Park for the Erie SeaWolves is a decent Minor League experience. The uniqueness of the park, even among minor league facilities, offers something a little different. The small footprint makes UPMC distinct, however, better, more consistent attendance would make the experience better.
Photo Courtesy of Mickey Meachem, Google.
Matt Finnegan - A game at Momentum Bank Ballpark offers a solid minor-league baseball experience at great prices, particularly for a Double-A team. Fans can see players just two steps away from reaching Major League Baseball in a beautiful stadium with easy access.
Photo Courtesy of Jerry Haines, Google
Eric Moreno - While it does have some age to it, there is no denying that there is something special about Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium. While it might lack some of the bells and whistles of more modern venues, it still captures all the best features. If you find yourself in the Alamo City during the summer, make it a point to head out to the Wolff and catch a Missions game.
Gregory Koch - Although an island in the middle of a river may not seem like the best place to build a baseball stadium, FNB Field manages to make things work. Although the layout is a bit quirky and perhaps annoying, once you manage to find your way into the stadium and to your seat, the experience is top-notch. Throw in unique extras like life-size bobbleheads and unusual promotions, and a Senators game is well worth a trip for anyone in Central Pennsylvania.
Photo Courtesy of Bill Christopher, Google.
Brian O'Sullivan - Even though the Binghamton franchise has struggled to increase its attendance numbers in recent years, the team offers a fairly good ballpark experience. If you have the chance to catch a game in Binghamton, it is worth the trip.