Fair Grounds Field
Review by Gary
Captains Log 04281996: In the far northwest corner of Louisiana, about 20 miles from the Texas border, lies the sleepy town of Shreveport, home of Fair Grounds Field. Built in 1986, this ballpark was home to many a ball team and most recently shared the team name with its sister city, Bossier. The Texas League’s Captains (1971–2000) and Swamp Dragons (2001–02) played here until they moved to Frisco, TX to become the RoughRiders. From 2003 to 2005, the Sports of the Central League and later the American Association (’06-’08) defended Fair Grounds Field until the last occupant, the 2009–2011 Shreveport–Bossier Captains (American Association) resided here.
The cleverly named Fair Grounds Field is located just off Interstate 20 on the Louisiana State Fair Grounds. The park holds 4,200 fans and is right next to Independence Stadium, longtime home of college football’s Independence Bowl. In 1996, this was one of the first ballparks I visited and the Double-A farm team for the San Francisco Giants had just won its third of three Texas League titles the year before.
This concrete stadium has an impressively tall glass-enclosed press box that towers over the home plate area and is flanked by seating areas down to the 1st and 3rd base bags. The reserved seats that have seat backs and arms are below the narrow concourse while aluminum bleacher seating rises above with narrow roofs that cover the upper rows of each section. As these were the days before kids play zones, a visit to this stadium in the 1990s meant you were there to do one thing, watch baseball.
As of August 2019, a local group wanted to convert Fair Grounds Field into a multipurpose stadium using private funds. The plan is for the stadium to be used for youth and adult baseball, softball, and soccer. Unfortunately, other than the high cost to renovate this grand old stadium, this group has to first figure out how to remove and relocate the 260,000 bats that have taken up residence in the confines of the concrete structure, accessed through cracks and crevices that have opened since the Captains left in 2011. If the stadium does make a comeback, I wouldn’t be surprised if at least one of the teams that play there isn’t named after some sort of Chiroptera species.