|Triple-A National Championship Game|
|Location(s)||Varies (see prose)|
|Inaugurated||September 19, 2006|
(AT&T Bricktown Ballpark, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States)
|Most recent||September 17, 2019|
(AutoZone Park, Memphis, Tennessee, United States)
|Next event||October 2, 2022|
(Las Vegas Ballpark, Summerlin, Nevada, United States)
|Participants||League champions of the two Triple-A baseball leagues|
|Organized by||Minor League Baseball|
|Website||Official website (archived)|
The Triple-A National Championship Game, previously known as the Bricktown Showdown, is a single championship game held annually between the league champions of the International League (IL) and Pacific Coast League (PCL) affiliated Triple-A leagues of Minor League Baseball (MiLB) to determine an overall champion of the classification. With the exceptions of 2020 and 2021, the game has been held at the end of each season since 2006.
In 2022, the game will be the culmination of a three-day event called the Triple-A Triple Championship Weekend in which league champions of the IL and PCL are determined on the first two days, and the Triple-A National Champion is crowned on the third.
From 2006 to 2010, the championship game was held annually at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Thereafter, the game has been hosted in a different Triple-A city each year. The Durham Bulls and Columbus Clippers have each made four appearances in the championship game, the most of any team. The Sacramento River Cats have won three championships, more than any other team. Durham, Columbus, and the Omaha Storm Chasers have each won two. Five other teams have won one championship each. Nine titles have been won by PCL teams, while the IL has won five titles.
Between 1904 and 1975, the league champions of the three highest-classification Minor League Baseball leagues periodically met in the postseason to determine a classification champion. The Little World Series (1904–1931) and Junior World Series (1932–1975) usually consisted of a best-of-seven (or eight) series modeled on the World Series of Major League Baseball. Most often it was held between the champions of the International League and the American Association (AA), leaving the Pacific Coast League out of the championship.A one-time Triple-A World Series was held in 1983 as a round-robin tournament featuring the champions of all three Triple-A leagues. The IL and AA champions met in the Triple-A Classic, a best-of-seven series, from 1988 to 1991. From 1998 to 2000, the Las Vegas Triple-A World Series pitted the IL and PCL champs (as the American Association had folded in 1997) in a best-of-five championship series.
In 2006, Triple-A Baseball announced the creation of a single championship game between the league champions of the International League and the Pacific Coast League to determine an overall champion of the classification. The game, called the Bricktown Showdown, was to be played at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In addition to serving as the pinnacle of the Triple-A and MiLB season, the leagues sought for the championship game to develop and prosper like the Triple-A All-Star Game did since its creation in 1988.
The first Bricktown Showdown was played on September 19, 2006. The PCL's Tucson Sidewinders defeated the IL's Toledo Mud Hens, 5–2, in front of an announced paid attendance of 12,572 and a national television audience watching on ESPN2.The initial Showdown was approved only as a one-time meeting by Major League Baseball, but subsequent meetings were planned following the event's success.
The game was rebranded as the Triple-A Baseball National Championship Game in 2009, and later to simply the Triple-A National Championship Game. This was done to increase the event's national appeal and to emphasize its significance as a championship game.
The championship continued to be held in Oklahoma City through 2010. Since 2011, the game has been held in a different Triple-A city each year.The first city to host under this new format was Albuquerque, New Mexico, home of the Albuquerque Isotopes of the PCL. Games have since been held in other Triple-A cities. No host city's team has ever participated in the championship game.
From 2006 to 2016, the league that won the Triple-A All-Star Game earned the distinction of having its team designated as the home team.This changed in 2017, when home team status began being awarded to the team from the hosting league.
The event has been televised nationally every year. It aired on ESPN2 from 2006 to 2009 and on NBC Sports Network (formerly known as the Outdoor Life Network and Versus) from 2010 to 2018.Fox Sports became the broadcaster in 2019.
The start of the 2020 season was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic before ultimately being cancelled on June 30.This resulted in the cancellation of the game, which had been slated for Las Vegas Ballpark in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In conjunction with Major League Baseball's restructuring of Minor League Baseball in 2021, the IL and PCL disbanded, and Triple-A teams were reorganized into the Triple-A East and Triple-A West.Due to travel restrictions in place in the 2021 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, teams played limited opponents. The 2021 schedule did not include a scheduled postseason for league championship playoffs or the Triple-A National Championship Game. Instead, each Triple-A league's champion was crowned based on regular-season records. The regular season was followed by the Triple-A Final Stretch, a 10-game postseason tournament in which all 30 Triple-A clubs competed for the highest winning percentage over that stretch.
In 2022, the game will be the culmination of a three-day event called the Triple-A Triple Championship Weekend in which league champions of the International League and Pacific Coast League will be determined on the first two days, and the Triple-A National Champion will be crowned on the last. On September 30, the two division winners from the PCL will compete for their league championship. The two IL division winners will do the same on October 1. The league champions determined on those days will compete for the Triple-A National Championship on October 2.
The Triple-A National Championship Game consists of a single nine-inning game to determine a champion. The only championship game to ever go beyond the prescribed nine innings was the 2009 contest which went to eleven innings.The host league's team serves as the home team. (Prior to 2017, the league that won the Triple-A All-Star Game was designated as the home team. ) Designated hitters bat in place of the pitchers.
Most recently, the game was umpired by a four-man crew with one umpire behind home plate and the others covering each base. Two of the umpires worked in the IL, while two worked in the PCL. Assignments rotated each year such that PCL umpires were assigned to home plate and second base in even years, and IL umpires manned those positions in odd years.
|Indicates home team|
|Date||Winning team (MLB affiliation)||League||Score||Losing team (MLB affiliation)||League||Ballpark (league)||Attendance||Ref.|
|September 19, 2006||Tucson Sidewinders (ARI)||PCL||5–2||Toledo Mud Hens (DET)||IL||AT&T Bricktown Ballpark (PCL)||12,572|
|September 18, 2007||Sacramento River Cats (OAK)||PCL||7–1||Richmond Braves (ATL)||IL||AT&T Bricktown Ballpark (PCL)||11,124|
|September 16, 2008||Sacramento River Cats (OAK)||PCL||4–1||Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (NYY)||IL||AT&T Bricktown Ballpark (PCL)||8,213|
|September 22, 2009||Durham Bulls (TB)||IL||5–4||Memphis Redbirds (STL)||PCL||AT&T Bricktown Ballpark (PCL)||6,777|
|September 21, 2010||Columbus Clippers (CLE)||IL||12–6||Tacoma Rainiers (SEA)||PCL||AT&T Bricktown Ballpark (PCL)||7,525|
|September 20, 2011||Columbus Clippers (CLE)||IL||8–3||Omaha Storm Chasers (KC)||PCL||Isotopes Park (PCL)||9,569|
|September 18, 2012||Reno Aces (ARI)||PCL||10–3||Pawtucket Red Sox (BOS)||IL||Durham Bulls Athletic Park (IL)||8,601|
|September 17, 2013||Omaha Storm Chasers (KC)||PCL||2–1||Durham Bulls (TB)||IL||Coca-Cola Park (IL)||9,602|
|September 16, 2014||Omaha Storm Chasers (KC)||PCL||4–2||Pawtucket Red Sox (BOS)||IL||BB&T Ballpark (IL)||8,886|
|September 22, 2015||Fresno Grizzlies (HOU)||PCL||7–0||Columbus Clippers (CLE)||IL||Southwest University Park (PCL)||9,332|
|September 20, 2016||Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (NYY)||IL||3–1||El Paso Chihuahuas (SD)||PCL||AutoZone Park (PCL)||9,471|
|September 19, 2017||Durham Bulls (TB)||IL||5–3||Memphis Redbirds (STL)||PCL||PNC Field (IL)||9,383|
|September 18, 2018||Memphis Redbirds (STL)||PCL||14–4||Durham Bulls (TB)||IL||Huntington Park (IL)||9,183|
|September 17, 2019||Sacramento River Cats (SFG)||PCL||4–0||Columbus Clippers (CLE)||IL||AutoZone Park (PCL)||9,123|
|September 22, 2020||Cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic||Las Vegas Ballpark (PCL)||—|
|Date||City||Ballpark||Host team (league)||Ref.|
|October 2, 2022||Summerlin, Nevada||Las Vegas Ballpark||Las Vegas Aviators (PCL)|
One player is recognized for their outstanding play in the game and is awarded the Triple-A Championship Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award.
|2006||Scott Hairston||Tucson Sidewinders||PCL||Left fielder|
|2007||Lou Merloni||Sacramento River Cats||PCL||Third baseman|
|2008||Chris Gissell||Sacramento River Cats||PCL||Relief pitcher|
|2009||Jeremy Hellickson||Durham Bulls||IL||Starting pitcher|
|2010||Jerad Head||Columbus Clippers||IL||Left fielder|
|2011||Joe Martinez||Columbus Clippers||IL||Starting pitcher|
|2012||A. J. Pollock||Reno Aces||PCL||Center fielder|
|2013||Chris Dwyer||Omaha Storm Chasers||PCL||Starting pitcher|
|2014||Brett Hayes||Omaha Storm Chasers||PCL||Catcher|
|2015||Chris Devenski||Fresno Grizzlies||PCL||Starting pitcher|
|2016||Chris Parmelee||Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders||IL||First baseman|
|2017||Kean Wong||Durham Bulls||IL||Second baseman|
|2018||Alex Mejia||Memphis Redbirds||PCL||First baseman|
|2019||Caleb Baragar||Sacramento River Cats||PCL||Starting pitcher|
|2020||None selected (Game cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic)|
|2021||None selected (Game not held)|
Defunct Triple-A teams appear in italics.
|Appearances||Team||League||Wins||Losses||Win %||Most recent|
|3||Omaha Storm Chasers||PCL||2||1||.667||2014||2014|
|3||Sacramento River Cats||PCL||3||0||1.000||2019||2019|
|2||Pawtucket Red Sox||IL||0||2||.000||—||2014|
|1||El Paso Chihuahuas||PCL||0||1||.000||—||2016|
|1||Toledo Mud Hens||IL||0||1||.000||—||2006|
The Columbus Clippers are a Minor League Baseball team of the International League (IL) and the Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Guardians. They are located in Columbus, Ohio, and are named for speedy merchant sailing vessels known as clippers. The team has played their home games at Huntington Park since 2009. They previously played at Cooper Stadium from 1977 to 2008.
The Tacoma Rainiers are a Minor League Baseball team of the Pacific Coast League (PCL) and the Triple-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. They are located in Tacoma, Washington, and play their home games at Cheney Stadium, which opened in 1960. Tacoma has competed in the PCL since 1960, including the 2021 season when it was known as the Triple-A West. The team operated under several monikers before becoming the Rainiers in 1995.
The Louisville Bats are a Minor League Baseball team of the International League (IL) and the Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. They are located in Louisville, Kentucky, and are named in dual reference to the winged mammal and baseball bats, such as those manufactured locally under the Louisville Slugger brand. The team plays their home games at Louisville Slugger Field, which opened in 2000. The Bats previously played at Cardinal Stadium from 1982 to 1999.
The Memphis Redbirds are a Minor League Baseball team of the International League and the Triple-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. They are located in Memphis, Tennessee, and are named for their Major League Baseball affiliate. The Redbirds play their home games at AutoZone Park, which opened in 2000 and is located in Downtown Memphis. The team previously played at Tim McCarver Stadium in 1998 and 1999.
The Charlotte Knights are a Minor League Baseball team of the International League and the Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. They are located in Charlotte, North Carolina, and play their home games at Truist Field, which opened in 2014 and is located in Uptown Charlotte. The team previously played at Knights Park (1976–1988), Knights Castle (1989), and Knights Stadium (1990–2013).
The Durham Bulls are a Minor League Baseball team of the International League and the Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. They are located in Durham, North Carolina, and play their home games at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
The Fresno Grizzlies are a Minor League Baseball team of the California League and the Single-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. They are located in Fresno, California, and play their home games at Chukchansi Park, which was opened in 2002 in downtown Fresno. They previously played at Fresno State's Pete Beiden Field from 1998 to 2001.
The New Orleans Baby Cakes were a Minor League Baseball team in the Pacific Coast League (PCL) and the Triple-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins. They were located in Metairie, Louisiana and played their home games at the Shrine on Airline.
The Oklahoma City Dodgers are a Minor League Baseball team of the Pacific Coast League (PCL) and the Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. They are located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and play their home games at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, which opened in 1998 in the city's Bricktown district.
The Omaha Storm Chasers are a Minor League Baseball team of the International League and the Triple-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. They are located in Papillion, Nebraska, a suburb southwest of Omaha, and play their home games at Werner Park which opened in 2011. The team previously played at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium, home to the College World Series, from 1969 to 2010.
The Sacramento River Cats are a Minor League Baseball team of the Pacific Coast League (PCL) and are the Triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Prior to 2015, the River Cats were the Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics for 15 years. They are based in West Sacramento, California, and play their home games at Sutter Health Park which opened in 2000 and was known as Raley Field through 2019.
AutoZone Park is a Minor League Baseball stadium located in downtown Memphis, Tennessee, and is home to the Memphis Redbirds of the International League and Memphis 901 FC of the USL Championship. The Redbirds are the Triple-A affiliate of Major League Baseball's (MLB) St. Louis Cardinals. In 2009, the stadium was named Minor League Ballpark of the Year by Baseball America.
Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark opened in 1998 in downtown Oklahoma City's Bricktown Entertainment District, replacing All Sports Stadium. It is the home of the Oklahoma City Dodgers, the Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers Major League Baseball team. The park has seating for up to 13,066 fans and currently utilizes a seating capacity of 9,000 for Dodgers games.
The International League (IL) is a Minor League Baseball league that operates in the United States. Along with the Pacific Coast League, it is one of two leagues playing at the Triple-A level, which is one grade below Major League Baseball (MLB).
Triple-A has been the highest level of play in Minor League Baseball in the United States since 1946. Currently, two leagues operate at the Triple-A level, the International League (IL) and the Pacific Coast League (PCL). There are 30 teams, one per each Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise, with 20 in the IL and 10 in the PCL. Triple-A teams are located in smaller cities as well as larger metropolitan areas without MLB teams, such as Austin, Jacksonville, Columbus, and Charlotte.
The Triple-A All-Star Game is an annual baseball game sanctioned by Minor League Baseball between professional players from the two affiliated Triple-A leagues. When last held in 2019, these leagues were the International League (IL) and Pacific Coast League (PCL). In conjunction with Major League Baseball's restructuring of Minor League Baseball in 2021, these leagues disbanded, and Triple-A teams were reorganized into the Triple-A East and Triple-A West. There was no Triple-A All-Star Game scheduled for 2021 nor has there been any announcement about it resuming in the future.
Double-A is the second-highest level of play in Minor League Baseball in the United States since 1946, below only Triple-A. There are currently 30 teams classified at the Double-A level, one for each team in Major League Baseball, organized into three leagues: the Eastern League, the Southern League, and the Texas League.
The El Paso Chihuahuas are a Minor League Baseball team of the Pacific Coast League (PCL) and the Triple-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres. They are located in El Paso, Texas, and play their home games at Southwest University Park, which opened in 2014. The Chihuahuas moved to El Paso from Tucson, Arizona, where they were known as the Tucson Padres. They played in the PCL until the 2021 restructuring of the minor leagues when they shifted to the Triple-A West, but this league was renamed the PCL in 2022. The Chihuahuas won the PCL championship in 2016.
Minor League Baseball (MiLB) refers to professional baseball below Major League Baseball (MLB), including teams affiliated with MLB clubs and independent baseball leagues consisting of teams with no affiliation.