Butler Park slides into top 16

After a last-minute submission, Trail’s Butler Park made the cut, as Baseball Canada announced the 16 finalists for Canada’s Favourite Ballpark Friday.

After a last-minute submission, Trail’s Butler Park made the cut, as Baseball Canada announced the 16 finalists for Canada’s Favourite Ballpark Friday.

Trail Jays advisor Ed Ferraro organized Butler’s entry just prior to last month’s deadline and despite some local pessimism, a Baseball Canada panel selected Butler and 15 other parks from over 40 other entries.

“I was pretty pumped about that,” said Ferraro upon hearing the news Saturday. “We’re one of the 16 and it’s kind of nice to see Grand Forks’ (James) Donaldson Park in there too.”

In addition to Butler and James Donaldson parks, Prince George’s Citizen Field was the only other B.C. park to crack the sweet 16.

The 16 ballparks are now randomly placed into four groups with four entries in each group. Beginning July 11, a group of four ballparks will be showcased on Baseball.ca where fans will be able to vote for their favourite ballpark amongst the group of four.

Butler Park will be vying for a berth in the semis against Kiwanis Park from Moncton, N.B., Quebec’s Stade de Trois-Rivieres, and Cullen Field in Windsor, Ont. Voting for those parks will go in Week 3, from July 25-Aug. 1.

Until then, Ferraro plans on spreading the news with even more conviction.

“We’ve got a couple weeks yet, so we’ll get the word out through print and radio and who knows maybe even start a Facebook page.”

In the week prior to voting, Butler Park will host the North Idaho American Legion district tournament and Ferraro hopes to recruit and remind residents to vote. He is also sure to make the distinction that the contest is not for the “best” ballpark but “favourite” ballpark.

“Wrigley Field and Fenway Park are everybody’s favourite ballparks but they are dilapidated buildings falling apart,” he said. “The fact that we come to a ball game and there’s river moths flying around the lights, it’s all part of what makes Butler go.”

Whether it’s the “Butler bounce” or drowned foul balls, it all adds to the ambience and character of the facility, says Ferraro.

“Butler to me is just like my dad’s old Lazy Boy, it’s just my favourite ballpark and that’s what we’re trying to promote.”

The ballpark with the most votes each week will advance to the semifinal round where again they will be matched-up against another park where voting will determine the two finalists.

The final round voting will then determine Canada’s Favourite Ballpark and will be announced September 7. Go to Baseball.ca for more information and to vote.