Cardinal Stadium    Louisville, KY
Dimensions: LF:  360  CF:  405   RF:  312        Capacity:  33,500 (1999)        Opened: 1956

Stadium Minor League History:  American Association       1957-1962
                                                            International League         1968-1972
                                                            American Association       1982-1997
                                                            International League         1998-1999
Current Status:  Home of University of Louisville football

What's Good:  Cardinal Stadium is an interesting place.  The stadium is shared with the University of Louisville football team, so the place has the largest capacity currently in the minors.  Because of the size, seats are just about always available, and there's plenty of room to move around and get comfortable.  The concourse, underneath the grandstand, is brightly lit with carnival colors and has a variety of food options, as well as scattered displays of photographs and memorabilia tracing Louisville's baseball past (and Louisville does have quite a history, including early stints with the major league American Association and the National League in the 19th century).  When I was there in 1994, a live organist (OK, he was playing an electronic keyboard, but it sounded like a ballpark organ) sat in the stands and played between innings, even taking requests.  Overall, the ballpark had a lively atmosphere despite its size, and without resorting to the numerous stunts, on-field promotions, and sound effects so common nowadays.  The stadium also has a huge and elaborately constructed roof for protection from the elements.

What's Not So Good:  The artificial turf, of course.  Installed in 1982, it doesn't fit with the traditional architecture of the stadium.  Also, the stadium is isolated from its city, sitting in the midst of an enormous parking lot on the state fairgrounds several miles south of downtown.  And the vast size, while certainly offering some benefits, can be overwhelming with a crowd of less than a few thousand.  It doesn't matter any more, however, since the team moved into a brand-new stadium (Louisville Slugger Park) for the 2000 season.


This Photo:    June 4, 1994     Louisville Redbirds vs. Nashville Sounds

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