Jim Patterson Stadium – Louisville Cardinals
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Everything’s in the Cards for Louisville Baseball
Jim Patterson Stadium is a beauty of a college ballpark and home to the University of Louisville Cardinal baseball team. In 2005, the initial cost of the stadium was $8.5 million and was privately funded by Mr. and Mrs. Patterson; and, just a few years later in 2012, the couple contributed $4 million more to upgrade the facility.
The stadium upgrades were also helped by fan donations of autographed baseballs in colors of red and gold that were purchased and displayed in a giant Cardinal logo in the back of home plate. The improvements increased capacity to 4,000 and the stadium has been able to host both NCAA Regional and Super Regional games.
The field itself is FieldTurf with the exception of the pitcher’s mound and batter’s box. These two areas feature dirt that was transported from the university’s former home Parkway Field that was home to the Cards from 1952-1997. There is another nod to the former baseball field, the first 8 feet of the roof supports were constructed from its left field wall in the speckled colors of green and red.
A visit to a game on the weekends makes for a nice alternative to ball games at nearby Louisville Slugger Field and with all home games free of charge and discounted concession items it is very affordable.
Food & Beverages 4
There are two main concession stands underneath the seating area in back of home plate. The prices are affordable and feature hot dogs, pretzels, nachos, and soda. There are a few stand-alone stands that sell ice cream and grilled cheesesteaks.
However, make a trip to the tiered, turf seating area behind left field for the real bargains. Burgers and foot long brats and fresh off the grill are a steal at $3 and so are the 16-ounce PBR and Natural Light beers for $2. These prices are for Saturday games only, but beer and sodas are $1 on Friday nights.
It’s a college venue that feels like a low-level minor league park of two decades ago, but without the promotions and overzealous public announcer. The 3,000 chair back seats are of the red bucket variety, while a 6,400 square foot terrace sits directly in the back on top offering wheelchair accessibility and the press box area.
The ballpark offers various features that set it apart from your normal college venues in the area. There are three large baseball bats near the front entrance that form a water fountain, various large baseballs are embedded into the ground and act as speed bumps, and a gorgeous glass case of the school’s Cardinal logo is filled with autographed baseballs inside the main concourse.
The U of L provides various promotional nights to enhance the experience at the ballpark that include $1 Beer Fridays (Bud and Pepsi products), T-Shirt Tuesdays, BBQ on the Berm ($2 beers and $3 brats/burgers on the Sun City Patio), and Family Fun Days on Sundays ($1 hot dogs, inflatables, and kids run the bases).
The weekend is an opportune time to take in a game as crowds are larger and certain concession prices are heavily discounted. It is also a great time to bring out the kids as inflatable rides are on display on Sundays and the play area behind center field should keep them busy if baseball is not yet their source of entertainment.
The ballpark is across the train tracks from Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium and across the street from Churchill Downs, two of the city’s premier sports venues. The area is also home to many other U of L athletic facilities south of campus.
There are a few chain restaurants near the stadium and a few local Mexican places, El Molcajete, Santa Fe Grill, and Señor Iguanas. The Kentucky Derby Museum is within walking distance. However, the best places for food and entertainment are elsewhere in town: Franklin Avenue, Bardstown Road, and downtown.
A few recommendations while in town would be the Louisville Slugger Museum, Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, Franklin Avenue Beer Depot for tantalizing barbecue, and Shirley Mae’s Cafe for low-key, but very good soul food.
The Cardinals have been one of the better ball clubs in the conference the past few seasons and fans have been flocking to the stadium to watch them play. They display red throughout the building and cheer on their favorites out on the field. Not too shocking, since the city supports its college football and basketball teams with an equal passion.
There is a large parking lot in back of left field that is more than ample for the number of customers who attend games. There is also parking down the first baseline, but it can fill up quickly for certain games, most notably weekends. However, once inside, it is rather simple to get around the ballpark, but the bathrooms are somewhat cramped.
Return on Investment 5
All home games, with the exception of games played at Louisville Slugger Field, are free of charge and that is almost too good to be true. There are workers at the gate who check your bags but walk right in and grab a seat. If attending a Saturday game, one could easily enjoy a brat, nachos, and two beers for under $10. Parking is also free for all games.
The use of the outfield wall from Parkway Field not only provides a nice connection to the program’s past, but jazzes up the concourse area with a little artistic flair.
All home games are free of charge; enough said.
The promotional nights should be well received from people of all ages. There are nights where hot dogs, sodas, and beers are just a buck and kids are allowed to run the bases. Depending on who you are with, there should be a night that will satisfy you and your entourage.
Jim Patterson Stadium is more than a respectable venue to enjoy college baseball during the warm spring months in Louisville.The promotions, aesthetics, concession prices, and weekend games make it well worth the nine innings of baseball. If you are in town, check out when the Cards are playing.
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