Review by Mike
Cardinal Stadium was the home of the Louisville Redbirds of the American Association. The Redbirds were the longtime AAA affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. Cardinal Stadium opened in 1957 as Fairgrounds Stadium because, as you might have guessed, it sat on the Kentucky State Fairgrounds. The stadium was mostly vacant after the Redbirds moved to Louisville Slugger Field in 2000.
This was a tremendous ballpark, seating 20,000 for baseball and there were two press boxes; one for baseball and the other for football. It was a truly striking venue, with its massive roof and brightly colored seats. The shimmering, unreal green of the artificial turf only added to the surreal nature of the place.
Despite its size, there were a lot of nice touches here, like the ticket windows set into the exterior wall all around the park. The roof was majestic and spectacular. There was a huge, uncovered grandstand beyond the right field fence that was used during football games.
When Gary & I arrived at the fairground, we found a security gate. We explained to the guard that we wanted to see the ballpark and he kindly let us pass. Once there, we found that the gates were open, so we wandered in. Nobody bothered us. We didn't want to push our luck, though, and therefore we did not venture down the portals and into the gloom under the stands.
I can't imagine what inspired them to install seating in so many bright colors, but I can only applaud them for it and ask that modern ballpark builders, with their oceans of bland, forest green seating, take a look at how totally cool this place looks.
Standing on the field, the rows of seats seemed endless. I can imagine a dad going out for hot dogs and never finding his family again. When we visited in 2011, the outfield fence was gone and it looked like the scoreboard had displayed it's final score. The building was sound, but obsolete. It would remain so for another eight years before being demolished in 2019, but I am really glad we got a chance to see it on a brilliantly clear summer day. We walked the field, stood on the mound and imagined...