Well, it was a good run.
Barring any unforeseen developments, 2017 will mark the first time since 1980 in which no new Minor League ballparks opened. Every season since 1987 has seen the opening of a Minor League ballpark that is still currently in use.
Over 130 Minor League ballparks opened between 1981 and 2016, an average of nearly four per season. The majority of these occurred between 1993 and 2005, a period of time that accounts for over half of the 159 facilities currently in use today. It was during this time that Minor League Baseball made the transition to its now-entrenched "affordable family fun" philosophy as 360-degree concourses, ample group areas and massive videoboards became the order of the day. This was accompanied by a distinct trend toward building within a city's downtown, as opposed to the comparatively remote locations that had previously characterized ballpark placement.
While nothing is set in stone, 2017's ballpark drought probably won't last for long. New ballpark plans are in various stages of development in cities such as Amarillo, Augusta, Fayetteville, Potomac and Richmond (to name just a few); this is an industry that is always in flux. Yet, the economic conditions that helped foster the ballpark boom of the '90s and early 2000s -- namely, state and local governments willing to contribute funding and land -- are not as prevalent in this thriftier, warier era.
What follows is a list of every active Minor League park that has opened since 1987, the last season which saw the debut of a new ballpark that is still in use. Please note that compiling lists such as these can be a tricky business, if you note an omission then please get in touch.
2016: Spirit Communications Park (Columbia Fireflies); Dunkin Donuts Park (Hartford Yard Goats)
Note: The opening of Dunkin Donuts Park has been delayed; it is currently scheduled for May 31.
2015: MGM Park (Biloxi Shuckers); First Tennessee Park (Nashville Sounds), Monogalia County Ballpark (West Virginia Black Bears)
2014: BB&T Ballpark (Charlotte Knights); Southwest University Ballpark (El Paso Chihuahuas)
2013: Regions Field (Birmingham Barons); Ron Tonkin Field (Hillsboro Hops)
2012: Blue Wahoos Stadium (Pensacola Blue Wahoos)
2011: Werner Park (Omaha Storm Chasers)
2010: PK Park (Eugene Emeralds); ONEOK Field (Tulsa Drillers); BB&T Ballpark (Winston-Salem Dash)
Note: The Emeralds share PK Park with the University of Oregon baseball team.
2009: Bowling Green Ballpark (Bowling Green Hot Rods); Charlotte Sports Park (Charlotte Stone Crabs); Huntington Park (Columbus Clippers); Parkview Field (Fort Wayne TinCaps); Coolray Field (Gwinnett Braves); Greater Nevada Field
Notes: When Bowling Green Ballpark opened, the Hot Rods were a member of the South Atlantic League. They shifted to the Midwest one year later….Charlotte Sports Park serves as the Spring Training home of the Tampa Bay Rays.
2008: Dehler Park (Billings Mustangs); Coca-Cola Park (Lehigh Valley IronPigs); Arvest Ballpark (Northwest Arkansas Naturals)
2007: Dickey-Stephens Park (Arkansas Travelers); Dow Diamond (Great Lakes Loons)
2006: Fluor Field (Greenville Drive); Medlar Field at Lubrano Park (State College Spikes)
Note: The Spikes share Medlar Field with the Penn State baseball team.
2005: Whataburger Field (Corpus Christi Hooks); NewBridge Bank Park (Greensboro Grasshoppers); Trustmark Park (Mississippi Braves); Northeast Delta Dental Stadium (New Hampshire Fisher Cats); Home of the Owlz (Orem Owlz); Banner Island Ballpark (Stockton Ports), Appalachian Power Park (West Virginia Power)
2004: Bright House Field (Clearwater Threshers); Pioneer Park (Greeneville Astros); Ogren Park at Allegiance Field (Missoula Osprey); Riverwalk Stadium (Montgomery Biscuits); Hammons Field (Springfield Cardinals)
Note: Pioneer Park is the newest stadium in the Appalachian League. This is the "oldest newest" stadium in any of the 14 domestic Minor Leagues.
2003: Isotopes Park (Albuquerque Isotopes); Dr Pepper Ballpark (Frisco RoughRiders); Classic Park (Lake County Captains); Bragan Field at the Baseball Grounds (Jacksonville Suns); State Mutual Stadium (Rome Braves)
Note: When Classic Park opened, the Captains were in the South Atlantic League. They shifted to the Midwest (along with the Bowling Green Hot Rods) in 2010.
2002: Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium (Aberdeen IronBirds); Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium (Cedar Rapids Kernels); Chukchansi Park (Fresno Grizzlies); Security Bank Ballpark (Midland RockHounds); Dozer Park (Peoria Chiefs); Fifth Third Field (Toledo Mud Hens); Joseph L. Bruno Stadium (Tri-City ValleyCats)
2001: MCU Park (Brooklyn Cyclones); FirstEnergyPark (Lakewood BlueClaws); Whitaker Bank Ballpark (Lexington Legends); Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George (Staten Island Yankees)
2000: AT&T Field (Chattanooga Lookouts); Fifth Third Field (Dayton Dragons); Louisville Slugger Field (Louisville Bats); AutoZone Park (Memphis Redbirds); The Dell Diamond (Round Rock Express); Raley Field (Sacramento River Cats); Smokies Stadium (Tennessee Smokies)
Note: The Round Rock Express played in the Texas League through 2004, at which point they transitioned to the Pacific Coast League.
1999: Peoples Natural Gas Field (Altoona Curve); Eastwood Field (Mahoning Valley Scrappers); TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark (Myrtle Beach Pelicans)
1998: The Ballpark at Jackson (Jackson Generals); Roger Dean Stadium (Jupiter Hammerheads and Palm Beach Cardinals); Edward LeLacheur Park (Lowell Spinners); Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (Oklahoma City Dodgers)
1997: Canal Park (Akron RubberDucks); Joseph P. Reilly Jr. Ballpark (Charleston RiverDogs); Hank Aaron Stadium (Mobile BayBears); Zephyr Field (New Orleans Zephyrs); Lindquist Field (Ogden Raptors); Frontier Field (Rochester Red Wings); Volcanoes Stadium (Salem-Keizer Volcanoes); NBT Bank Stadium (Syracuse Chiefs)
Notes: Hank Aaron Stadium is the oldest stadium in the Southern League. This is the "newest oldest" stadium in any of the 14 domestic Minor Leagues….The New Orleans Zephyrs were in the now-defunct American Association in 1997, shifting to the Pacific Coast League the following year.
1996: Dwyer Stadium (Batavia Muckdogs); Arthur W. Perdue Stadium (Delmarva Shorebirds); Victory Field (Indianapolis Indians); San Manuel Stadium (Inland Empire 66ers); The Hangar (Lancaster JetHawks); Cooley Law School Stadium (Lansing Lugnuts); George M. Steinbrenner Field (Tampa Yankees).
Notes: The Indianapolis Indians were in the American Association in 1996, shifting to the International League two years later….George M. Steinbrenner Field also serves as the Spring Training home of the Tampa Yankees.
1995: Falcon Park (Auburn Doubledays); Lake Olmstead Stadium (Augusta GreenJackets); Dodd Stadium (Norwich Navigators); Durham Bulls Athletic Park (Durham Bulls); Jerry Uht Park (Erie SeaWolves); CMC-Northeast Stadium (Kannapolis Intimidators); Hunter Wright Stadium (Kingsport Mets); LewisGale Field (Salem Red Sox); Gesa Stadium (Tri-City Dust Devils); Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities (Wisconsin Timber Rattlers)
Notes: Dodd Stadium is now the home of the New York-Penn League's Connecticut Tigers. The Norwich Navigators (who later renamed themselves the Connecticut Defenders) relocated to Richmond and became the Flying Squirrels.
1994: Prince George's Stadium (Bowie Baysox); Space Coast Stadium (Brevard County Manatees); Dutchess Stadium (Hudson Valley Renegades); The Diamond (Lake Elsinore Storm); Hadlock Field (Portland Sea Dogs); Smith's Ballpark (Salt Lake Bees); Nelson Wolff Municipal Stadium (San Antonio Missions); Arm & Hammer Park (Trenton Thunder); Fifth Third Ballpark (West Michigan Whitecaps)
Note: Space Coast Stadium served as the Spring Training home of the Florida Marlins (1994-2002), Montreal Expos (2003-04) and Washington Nationals (2005-2016).
1993: Legion Field (Danville Braves); L.P. Frans Stadium (Hickory Crawdads); Harbor Park (Norfolk Tides); LoanMart Field (Rancho Cucamonga Quakes); Daniel S. Frawley Stadium (Wilmington Blue Rocks)
1992: NYSEG Stadium (Binghamton Mets); Principal Park (Iowa Cubs)
Note: The Iowa Cubs were in the American Association through the 1997 season.
1991: Five County Stadium (Carolina Mudcats); William H. Hammond Stadium (Fort Myers Miracle); Mavericks Stadium (High Desert Mavericks); Fifth Third Bank Ballpark (Kane County Cougars
Note: William H. Hammond Stadium also serves as the Spring Training home of the Minnesota Twins.
1990: Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium (Frederick Keys)
1989: Memorial Stadium (Boise Hawks); PNC Field (Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees)
1988: Coca-Cola Field (Buffalo Bisons); Security Service Field (Colorado Springs Sky Sox); Hunnicut Field (Princeton Rays); Tradition Field (St. Lucie Mets)
Note: Tradition Field is the Spring Training home of the New York Mets.
1987: FNB Field (Harrisburg Senators); Four Winds Field (South Bend Cubs)
Benjamin Hill is a reporter for MiLB.com and writes Ben's Biz Blog. Follow Ben on Twitter @bensbiz.