This distinction is just another in a long list of memorable moments that have made the Blue Wahoos inaugural season a resounding success. The Blue Angels flyover on opening day, visits from Masters Champion Bubba Watson and National Champion running back Trent Richardson, a no-hitter, Billy Hamilton's stolen base record and now baseball's best new stadium have all molded a lasting impression of Minor League Baseball on fans in the Pensacola community.
"We are very grateful for the high praise from Baseballparks.com," said Blue Wahoos' president Bruce Baldwin. "Considering the other stadiums that have opened this season, we are thrilled to receive this award. It is truly an honor. This is a testament to the hard work and dedication to this project by our owners Quint and Rishy Studer and the confidence and support of this stadium and the vision by the Community Maritime Park Associates, the City of Pensacola and its citizens. I don't consider this an award for the Blue Wahoos, but one for all of Pensacola and Northwest Florida."
Mock visited the park in May and provided a review of the stadium on his site following the trip. Other stadiums in consideration for the award included Marlins Park in Miami and the Boston Red Sox spring training facility in Lee County, Fla.
"The architects at Populous should be very proud of their facilities that opened this year," said Mock. "They designed the incredibly impressive spring-training park and complex in Lee County, Florida for the Red Sox. They were also the architects for one of the most ambitious sports facilities ever built, Marlins Park. But even though it was the smallest of their three projects, I think Pensacola's ballpark is the best."
The selection of Populous as the stadium's architecture firm is indicative of the commitment to the project by the City of Pensacola and the CMPA. Fans have been flocking to the stadium all summer long. The bayfront stadium has been sold out 37 times in 2012 and the Blue Wahoos boast an overall attendance of 303,744 averaging 4,821 fans per game.
"Over the past five months, thousands of people have enjoyed the great atmosphere and gorgeous view at Pensacola's new bayfront stadium," said Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward. "This latest accolade is another testament to the Blue Wahoos' fanastic first season and the hard work of so many over the past six years. This stadium has been an amazing addition to our vibrant downtown and growing waterfront and another reason that Pensacola is the Upside of Florida."
Mock credited the design, fan amenities and site selection as contributing factors for the award. Past recipients of this award include AT&T Park in San Francisco, PNC Park in Pittsburgh and last year's winner Salt River Field in Arizona. Mock's full review of Pensacola Bayfront Stadium can be found at baseballparks.com/Pensacola-1.asp.