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Top 10 Louisville Bats Facts You Didn’t Know
The Louisville Bats are one of Triple-A Baseball’s exciting teams every sports fan needs to learn about. In fact, the Kentucky-based franchise is a top-level farm club for the Cincinnati Reds. Any Louisville fan that bleeds Bats red will know every information possible, from the team winning three straight division titles (2008-2010) to Buddy Bat being the official mascot. However, there are new Louisville Bats facts that many baseball supporters never knew or never heard of in their lives. For details on what facts baseball fans rarely knew about, please refer to Top 10 Louisville Bats Facts You Didn’t Know below!
10: Louisville Slugger Field Hosted Two No-Hitters Since its Opening in 2000
Accomplishing a no-hitter is one of baseball’s rarest gems baseball fans can witness in their lives. This accomplishment takes place when a starting pitcher goes through nine innings without giving up any base hits. In more rare situations, no-hitters can occur in a combined effort if a starting pitcher is unable to continue due to injury. Perhaps the most difficult challenge for a pitcher is throwing a perfect game, where a pitcher throws nine innings without any hits or baserunners. But for Louisville Slugger Field, the Bats stadium has hosted two no-hitters since its opening in 2000.
In May 2010, Gwinnett Braves (now Stripers) right-hander Todd Redmond tossed a no-no against the Bats at Louisville. Six years later, Gwinnett achieved a combined no-hitter led by Rob Wooten vs. Louisville in Kentucky. Despite being no-hit in both of those games, the Bats claimed a no-no of their own. In 2015, Louisville tossed a hitless contest in a combined effort led by Tony Cingrani against the Toledo Mud Hens in Ohio. By the way, that 2015 game was the only no-no in the history of the Louisville Bats.
9: The Bats Won Multiple Rookie of the Year Awards Since Joining the International League
Winning a major award is considered a huge deal in professional baseball, especially for those who are trying to get to the big leagues. If a person wins Most Valuable Player or Pitcher of the Year, then this accomplishment could increase his odds of getting called up to the big leagues. In addition, that person might face the possibility of receiving an invitation to spring camp (Florida or Arizona) from his team’s parent club. Luckily, for the Bats, they have made Louisville proud by winning two Rookie of the Year awards since the 2000s. As a matter of fact, the team has won player awards along with one of the best sporting venues in Kentucky.
In 2007, INF Joey Votto claimed International League MVP honors by batting 0.294 with 22 home runs and 92 runs batted in. Votto would go on to have a great MLB career as he became a six-time All-Star with the Cincinnati Reds. Also, he won the National League MVP in 2010 and led the Reds to four playoff appearances. In 2019, OF Aristides Aquino won the MVP Award with a 0.299 batting average with 28 long balls and 53 RBIs. When he got called up to the Majors in 2019, he hit 19 home runs and 47 RBIs for the Reds.
8: Bats Stadium Served as the Official Site for the 2008 Triple-A All-Star Game
Over the past 20-plus years, Louisville Slugger Field has witnessed some pretty exciting baseball events. For example, the Louisville Bats claimed three straight division championships during the late 2000s. In addition, the Kentucky facility has hosted multiple no-hitters in its lifetime so far. The Bats are one of the three professional baseball teams from Kentucky, along with the Lexington Legends and Wild Health Genomes (Independent). But for Louisville Slugger Field, it was the official site for the 2008 Triple-A All-Star Game.
For the first and only time in its history, the current Bats ballpark got to host the Minor League’s Midsummer Classic. The event’s main logo incorporated Louisville Slugger Field’s home plate entrance exterior. Some of the most high-profile players who took part in the All–Star Game were OF Andrew McCutchen (Indianapolis), OF Nelson Cruz (Oklahoma City) and C A.J. Ellis (Las Vegas). Team Pacific Coast went on to beat Team International by the final score of 6-5. The 2008 event was not the first time Louisville hosted the Triple-A All-Star Game, as the city previously served as the home for the 1991 Midsummer Classic at the now-demolished Cardinal Stadium.
7: Before the Current Name, the Louisville Baseball Club was Called Something Else
Coming up with a name is a crucial part of building a team because it would become the main representation for fans and the media alike. There are a couple common ideas where such a club name can be developed. One idea is to have a name-a-team contest where fans could submit their suggestions either in person or online. Another idea is via franchise ownership, where members could create team names based on the city’s local surroundings. But before the current name, the Louisville baseball club was called something else.
In the late 1990s, the team was known as the Louisville RiverBats since the city was situated close to the Ohio River. Also, the Club received the “Bats” brand because Louisville is the home of the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory (where baseball bats are made). However, the RiverBats era only lasted a couple seasons as Louisville simply became the Bats in the early 2000s. But during the time when the club had the previous brand, Louisville won the International League championship in 2001. The name change was quite similar to the Tampa Bay Rays when they dropped the “Devil Rays” image in 2008.
6: Good Morning America Made an Appearance at Louisville Slugger Field
Good Morning America (or GMA) is one of the most beloved early day programs on television today. Notably, the show is currently hosted by Robin Roberts, former NFL player Michael Strahan, and George Stephenopoulos. GMA usually covers every day topics, such as current events, weather updates, entertainment news, and sports headlines. The program is based in New York City, but it sometimes does live tapings from various cities across the country. Believe it or not, Good Morning America did a live show at Louisville Slugger Field (sort of).
In April 2022, GMA personality Kaylee Hartung came to the Bats ballpark to film a live report for baseball’s opening week. Hartung spotted a Bats alternate red jersey and a baseball hat while doing that live segment. The reporter even jogged around the bases and was congratulated by Louisville mascot Buddy the Bat. Perhaps the best part about GMA coming to Louisville was that more than a dozen fans showed up to the Bats stadium to appear on live television. In addition to the stadium visit, the reporter visited the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory to learn how baseball bats are made.
5: A Louisville Bats Minor League Game was Delayed by a Kitten in 2022
Whenever a baseball contest goes into a delay, it usually happens because of something on the field. One instance is that teams that play in open-air stadiums tend to have rain delays and have fans seek shelter. Another instance is that unwanted guests like gnats and bees can interfere with the gameday experience for both fans and players. One more thing to address is that a baseball game can go into a brief delay if a manager gets ejected by the umpire or if a player suffers a major injury. But did you know that a Bats contest went into a brief delay in 2022 because of a kitten?
In July 2022, the Louisville Bats were taking on the Columbus Clippers. Then, in the top of the 3rd inning, a small black kitten was spotted walking past the Bats’ 3rd base dugout. Soon, the cat ran towards the left field line bullpen and hid under one of the field tarps. The game went into a brief delay as the Bats dugout was trying to figure out what’s happening with the kitten. Eventually, two of the Bats players captured the cat unharmed and gave the animal to an unidentified employee.
4: Louisville Slugger Field was Named the Best Triple-A Park of 2016
The Louisville Bats stadium is one of the most visited Minor League ballparks in the country. Louisville Slugger Field has a 360 concourse where fans can walk around the stadium without missing any game action. Also, the venue has a merry-go-round carousel (right field) that children can ride on either before or during games. In most cases, anyone who has seats to the Bats contest would get a glimpse of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge over right field. But did you know that Louisville Slugger Field was named the Best Triple-A Park of 2016?
According to Ballpark Digest, the Louisville Bats stadium claimed that honor as part of a bracket-style voting process. How this worked was that fans could go to the site and click on the picture of a given stadium. The ballpark that had the most votes would move on to the next round, and the process continued until the final round. Over 14,000 fans took part in the voting competition as Louisville Slugger Field defeated Victory Field (Indianapolis Indians) as the top Triple-A Park of 2016. Six years later, the Bats venue finished as the runner-up as the Best Triple-A Stadium of 2022 (lost to Las Vegas Ballpark-Las Vegas Aviators).
3: There’s a Statue of a MLB Legend Located Outside the Bats Stadium
Most likely, every sports facility within the nation has a statue either inside or outside the premises. For instance, Camden Yards in Baltimore has a life-sized sculpture of baseball great Cal Ripken Jr. Another example is that Progressive Field has a statue of the first African American player in the American League: Larry Doby. One more example to include is that Fenway Park in Boston has a life sized figurine of Red Sox favorite Ted Williams. But did you know that there’s a statue outside Louisville Slugger Field that is dedicated to one of baseball’s greatest players of all time?
Former Brooklyn Dodgers infielder Pee Wee Reese has his own statue located outside the home plate entrance at Louisville Slugger Field. Reese was a 10-time All-Star and guided the Dodgers to a 1955 World Series title. The player also spent time serving for his country during the Second World War in the 1940s. But before Reese began his storied career with the Brooklyn, he spent his first two seasons with the then-Double-A franchise: the Louisville Colonels. During the late 1930s, the infielder compiled a 0.278 batting average with 7 home runs and 54 RBIs during his Louisville tenure.
2: Louisville Slugger Field is One of the Couple Triple-A Parks to Have a Home Plate Club
Whenever a fan buys a ticket to go see a baseball game, he or she has a couple seating options to choose from. One option is the berm seating (grass area) located in the outfield where families and their little ones can enjoy game action. Another option is dugout side seating, where fans have the opportunity to catch foul balls and receive toss-ups from players during the course of the contest. One last option to include is the seating section behind home plate where spectators can get the best views of the stadium. But in some big league ballparks, they have a special home plate club where fans can get in-waiter service and all-you-care-to-eat buffets in the home plate lounge.
Luckily, for the Louisville Bats, they have a home plate seating section called On Deck Club. The one-of-a-kind area is located in the first two rows behind home plate. Anyway, the experience offers in-seat service where fans could order food and have it delivered to their seats. Also, the section has cushy theater-style seats as a way to differentiate itself from the rest of the stadium seating sections. Louisville Slugger Field is one of the couple Triple-A ballparks to have a home plate club, along with Cheney Stadium (home of the Tacoma Rainiers).
1: The Bats Have One of Longest Active Playoff Droughts in Triple-A Baseball
Since changing their names from RiverBats to Bats in the early 2000s, the Louisville club has had some successful moments on the field. For instance, the Bats won the 2001 International League championship despite having the postseason cut short due to the September 11 attacks. During the late 2000s, Louisville won three straight division titles and made the playoffs each time. But over the last decade, the Bats have not accomplished that same success as in the earlier years. In fact, the Louisville Bats have one of the longest active playoff droughts in Triple-A Baseball.
Despite being one of the most beloved baseball clubs in Kentucky, the Triple-A team has not been to the postseason since 2010. To make matters worse, Louisville has not achieved a winning record since 2011 (73-71). Since 2017, the Bats have finished in 4th place or lower in the West Division via the International League. The Kentucky-based franchise is not the only Triple–A club with a currently active playoff drought. The Rochester Red Wings have not reached the postseason since 2013, while the Syracuse Mets have not played a single playoff contest since 2014.