Explore Louisville Slugger Field
Welcome to Louisville Slugger Field, a charming ballpark sitting on the banks of the Ohio River, and downtown in one of the country's most historic cities. Whether you're just into taking in a ballgame, history or the fine spirits of America, this place has you covered.
Louisville Bats (Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds since 2000)
Established: 1982, in the American Association
Ballpark: Louisville Slugger Field (opened in 2000)
League: International League
Championships: 1984, 1985, 1995, 2001
Notable Alumni: Jim Fregosi, Joey Votto, Homer Bailey, Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, Aroldis Chapman, Deion Sanders
Professional baseball in Louisville came to be in 1982, when the St. Louis Cardinals moved their Triple-A affiliate -- the Springfield Redbirds -- from Illinois to Kentucky. The team became the Louisville Redbirds and played their home games at Cardinal Stadium, where they broke the Minor League attendance record with 868,418 fans during their inaugural season. The club remained a Cardinals affiliate until 1998 when the American Association League dissolved and the team entered the International League as a Brewers affiliate and changed its name to the Louisville RiverBats. That lasted for three seasons and in 2001 the club became the Triple-A affiliate of the Reds and dropped "River" from its name.
The Bats name possesses a double meaning, as it refers to both the flying mammal and baseball bats. Given its proximity to the world-renowned Louisville Slugger baseball bat manufacturer, that was an easy name choice. The team rebranded its colors and logo in 2015 for the first time in 13 years. The Bats went from a black-and-purple scheme to their current red and navy combination. The team's logo also incorporates both meanings of its name -- a flying bat in front of a baseball moon while gripping a baseball bat in its talons.
Louisville Slugger Field
Ballpark Location (via Google Maps)
401 East Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202
Dimensions: left field, 325; center field, 405; right field, 340
Louisville Slugger Field is located in the heart of downtown Louisville, right on Main St. It was built on the banks of the Ohio River, within one block of the Waterfront Park. The ballpark includes 11,522 seats with a grassy berm area beyond the left-field wall and a picnic area down the right-field line that was added two years ago. There is a continuous concourse that spans around the entire field, an 850-seat second-deck with club seating that was recently renovated and 32 private suites. One of the unique features of the park is a kids playground area which contains the only carousel in pro baseball.
Adult fans can also enjoy the Miller Time Taphouse located on the main concourse just beyond the right-center-field wall. The team also added the Double Play Bar, a bar and seating area located off of the main concourse down the 3rd base line. The On Deck Club is a premium seating option with padded theatre-style seats positioned directly behind home plate. Outside there are statues of Paul Hornung and Pee Wee Reese.
Another unique feature of the park is a former train shed on the site that was incorporated into its design. Fans enter Louisville Slugger Field through the restored train shed building, formerly the Brinly-Hardy Co warehouse. The park also offers those in attendance scenic views of the Ohio River and downtown Louisville. For anyone planning on driving to a game, the ballpark is accessible from highways I-64, I-65 and I-71.
Louisville Slugger Field offers a number of concession stands throughout the park. The Slugger Dog is its namesake item, and no experience at a baseball game is complete without a native hot dog. Other items to indulge in include: stuffed pretzels, baked potatoes, roasted corn on the cob, and smoked turkey legs. Its most popular item is the fried bologna sandwich. The park also offers a pork chop sandwich and ribeye sandwich. There is also the Overlook Grill in right-center field.
In addition to its extensive food options, Louisville Slugger Field also offers a wide variety of adult beverages. Domestic, imported and microbrewed beers are just the tip of the iceberg here. The local brewery attached to the park also produces a special release brew each year that is only available in-house and is catered towards drinking at the game. And if the calories in beer aren't for you, the park also sells wine, Jack Daniels cocktails, mixed and frozen drinks.
The team went from Billy Bird to Buddy Bat in April of 1999. Buddy was born in the largest cave in the world, Mammoth Cave in Park City, KY. There, Buddy became acquainted with many visitors and he developed a love for children. Buddy then flew his way up I-65 and landed in Louisville where he became the official mascot of the Bats. Besides Bats games, Buddy especially likes picnics and birthday parties and is a special feature at all of the Bats' ballpark activities.
You can't be located in the heart of a place deemed "the bourbon capital of the world" and not have several distillery options nearby. There are nine distilleries in Kentucky, and four are within a mile of Slugger Field: Angel's Envy, Michter's Fort Nelson Distillery, Evan Williams Bourbon Experience and Old Forester Distilling Co.
The other obvious choice here is the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory where you can see how bats are made and the history of the factory, which dates back to 1884. After a tour of the facility, visitors are also treated to a free mini bat.
A newer addition to the area is the Roots 101 museum -- an African-American History Museum which is dedicated to exploring the African-American story, and to grow a greater understanding of the achievements, cultural contributions, and the experiences of African-Americans.
The Muhammad Ali Center is also in the area.
Food and Drink
For the easiest and most convenient option if you're looking for food after or before a Bats game, you don't even need to leave the park. Against the Grain Brewery is attached to Slugger Field and offers local Bar-B-Q favorites and beer made on-site.
If you feel like you want to get out and explore the city more, other local favorites include: Feast BBQ, Royals Hot Chicken for Nashville style hot chicken and all the southern comfort food your heart desires and Bearno's Little Sicily Pizza.
Bearno's claims to offer "Louisville style" pizza since 1977. I asked two Bats executives what makes a pizza "Louisville style" and they both said, "No idea, but it's good."
If going to the game is just part of a bigger trip to visit Louisville, you're going to need a place to sleep. There are three hotels within a close proximity to Slugger Field -- in addition to the other attractions downtown -- and they offer a variety of experiences based on what you're looking for out of your trip.
The Omni Louisville Hotel, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Louisville Downtown and the Cambria Hotel Louisville Downtown-Whiskey Row.
The Bats are one of two Minor League teams in Kentucky. The Bowling Green Hot Rods are located about 110 miles Southwest of Louisville. Still, there are other nearby teams in neighboring states. If you wanted to cross into Ohio, the Dayton Dragons are about a two and a half hour drive north, and crossing south into Tennessee you could find the Nashville Sounds also about a two and a half hour drive away. The former Lexington Legends -- now known as the Lexington Counter Clocks -- are also nearby, but are a part of the Atlantic League.
The Road to Cincinnati
The road to Great American Ball Park is quite sprawling. After getting started in the Florida State League with Single-A Daytona, players who get promoted make the nearly 1,000-mile venture to Dayton, Ohio to suit up for the High-A Dragons. From there, it's south to Tennessee with the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts, before making the trip northeast to Louisville.
Single-A: Daytona Tortugas
High-A: Dayton Dragons
Double-A: Chattanooga Lookouts
Triple-A: Louisville Bats