AutoZone Park

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AutoZone Park
AutoZone Park outside.jpg
Location 200 Union Avenue
Memphis, TN 38103
Coordinates 35°8′35″N 90°2′57″W / 35.14306°N 90.04917°W / 35.14306; -90.04917Coordinates: 35°8′35″N 90°2′57″W / 35.14306°N 90.04917°W / 35.14306; -90.04917
Owner City of Memphis
Operator Global Spectrum
Capacity 14,384 (2008–present)[1]
14,320 (2000–2007)
Field size Left Field — 319 ft (97 m)
Left Center Field — 360 ft (110 m)
Center Field — 400 ft (122 m)
Right Center Field — 373 ft (114 m)
Right Field — 322 ft (98 m)[1]
Surface Grass
Construction
Broke ground January 15, 1998[2]
Opened April 1, 2000[6]
Construction cost $80.5 million[1]
($110 million in 2014 dollars[3])
Architect Looney Ricks Kiss
HOK Sport
Structural engineer Stanley D. Lindsey & Associates[4]
Services engineer Griffith C. Burr Inc.[5]
General contractor Beers-Inman[6]
Tenants
Memphis Redbirds (PCL) (2000–present)
Civil Rights Game (MLB) (2007–2008)

AutoZone Park is a Minor League Baseball stadium located in downtown Memphis, Tennessee, and is home to the Memphis Redbirds of the Pacific Coast League (PCL). The Redbirds are the AAA affiliate of Major League Baseball's (MLB) St. Louis Cardinals. In 2009, the stadium was named Minor League Ballpark of the Year by Baseball America.[7]

History[edit]

Designed by Looney Ricks Kiss Architects of Memphis with Kansas City based HOK Sport, AutoZone Park cost $80.5 million to build. This is by far the most money ever spent on a structure dedicated to a minor league baseball team.[8] AutoZone Park was built to "MLB standards", but a primary problem is the absence of outfield seats or food vendors far down the foul lines, making it a for comparison purposes a major league stadium with only the 'good' seats". It opened in 2000, replacing Tim McCarver Stadium. The stadium also hosts some games for the University of Memphis baseball team, and most notably, the annual game with Ole Miss.

The Redbirds had been unique in baseball until recently, in that they were owned by a non-profit community foundation, the Memphis Redbirds Foundation; the Green Bay Packers of the NFL have a similar ownership structure. However, the Foundation defaulted on its bond payment in 2010. On November 15, 2013, the Foundation announced that the default would be remedied by the St. Louis Cardinals paying off the bonds at a discount and acquiring the Redbirds, while the city of Memphis resumes ownership of the stadium.[9]

A panoramic view of the field and stands inside AutoZone Park

In October 2004 and 2005 AutoZone park was home to the Greater Mid-South Jaycees Field of Screams Haunted House.

In October 2005, AutoZone Park became the first venue outside of New Orleans to host the Voodoo Music Experience. One day of this music festival was moved to Memphis due to Hurricane Katrina.[10]

On December 4, 2006, at the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings, MLB announced that an exhibition game to be called the Civil Rights Game would be held at AutoZone Park, with the first game on March 31, 2007. The game featured the Cardinals and the Cleveland Indians, with the Cardinals winning 5-1.[11] The second game was played on March 29, 2008, between the Chicago White Sox and the New York Mets. The Mets Defeated the White Sox 3-2.[12]

On August 31, 2008, the ballpark's largest crowd to date witnessed the Redbirds lose to the Oklahoma RedHawks 10 to 7 in front of 18,620 fans.[13]

Size[edit]

AutoZone Park has a seating capacity of 14,384,[1] and has been aptly described as "one-third" of a major league baseball park.

For its construction 17,586 cubic yards (13,445 m3) of concrete were used, or enough to cover 11 acres (4.5 ha). There are 125,738 square feet (11,681.4 m2) of brick walls surrounding it, utilizing 380,000 specially manufactured bricks. It holds 3,400 tons[vague] of steel and 227 miles (365 km) of electrical wiring. To build the playing field, 350 tons[vague] of clay and 5,000 tons[vague] of sand were needed. The outfield contains 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2) of sod. The infield is capable of draining 1 inch (25 mm) of rain per hour. while remaining playable, which means that the field only rarely has to be covered during games.

AutoZone Park also has one of the largest video screens in minor league baseball. It is located 127 feet (39 m) above the play field, giving a view of the board to many areas of downtown Memphis.[8] On January 10, 2012 the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported that the Redbirds will install a 60 by 60 feet (18 by 18 m) full HD video display, replacing the old video screen.[14] The new video board will be the largest in "Minor League Baseball" .[15]

Amenities[edit]

AutoZone Park contains several special seating sections designed to give patrons a variety of viewing options.

  • The Delta Dental Picnic Pavilion is located on the east of the park, and contains several picnic tables and space for vending food. It is commonly used for special event hosting, and can seat up to 500 people.[16]
  • The Bluff on the north side of the park has grass covered lawn seating, and tickets to this area are sold cheaply, but in limited numbers. It is a favorite spot for many fans because of the picnic atmosphere. Chairs are not allowed on the Bluff.[17]
  • The upper club levels contain 700 seats in 48 suites, and are generally reserved to groups or local companies. Many larger Memphis companies retain one suite for the entire season, for all games.[17]
  • The normal club seating have access to an air conditioned concourse, along with several restaurants and bars located on the concourse itself.[17]
  • In total, the ballpark has 1,600 club seats.[18]
  • There are two open-air party decks, each of which seats up to 175 people, and three pre-game balconies.[17][19]
  • Next to the Bluff is "P.D. Parrot's Playhouse Perch", which is a playground for children. The playground is sponsored by Baptist Pediatric Care.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Pacific Coast League Ballparks". Ballparks.com. Retrieved September 22, 2011. 
  2. ^ Stukenborg, Phil (January 16, 1999). "Excavation Begins for New Ballpark". The Commercial Appeal (Memphis). Retrieved September 21, 2011. 
  3. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  4. ^ "Project: AutoZone Park Baseball Stadium". Geopier. Retrieved September 22, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Projects". OGCB, Inc. Retrieved September 22, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Knight, Graham. "AutoZone Park". Baseball Pilgrimages. Retrieved September 22, 2011. 
  7. ^ Leventhal, Josh (April 17, 2009). "Top 10 Ballparks". Baseball America. Retrieved March 28, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b "AutoZone Park Facts". Minor League Baseball. January 4, 2006. Retrieved February 19, 2013. 
  9. ^ "St. Louis Cardinals to Acquire Memphis Redbirds" (Press release). Major League Baseball Advanced Media. November 15, 2013. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  10. ^ Jones, Yolanda (October 31, 2005). "It's All Voodoo: Good Times Roll on in Festival's Home Away from Home". The Commercial Appeal (Memphis). Retrieved March 9, 2014. 
  11. ^ Cacciola, Scott (April 1, 2007). "Baseball Honors Leaders: Emotional Tribute Also Recalls Dr. King". The Commercial Appeal (Memphis). Retrieved March 9, 2014. 
  12. ^ Morgan, Marlon W. (March 30, 2008). "Reluctant GMs Reflect on Careers at Civil Rights Game". The Commercial Appeal (Memphis). Retrieved March 9, 2014. 
  13. ^ Morgan, Marlon W. (September 1, 2008). "Redbirds Ending With a Bang at the Gate". The Commercial Appeal (Memphis). Retrieved May 23, 2012. 
  14. ^ Morgan, Marion (January 10, 2012). "Giant Video Screen to Be Memphis Redbirds New Star". The Commercial Appeal (Memphis). Retrieved January 10, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Video Board to Be Replaced at AutoZone Park". Minor League Baseball. January 12, 2012. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Picnic Pavilions". Minor League Baseball. January 4, 2006. Retrieved May 16, 2014. 
  17. ^ a b c d e "AutoZone Park". Minor League Baseball. November 30, 2005. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  18. ^ "AutoZone Park / Memphis Redbirds". Ballpark Digest. February 21, 2009. Retrieved May 16, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Party Decks". Minor League Baseball. January 4, 2006. Retrieved May 16, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Events and tenants
Preceded by
Tim McCarver Stadium
Home of the
Memphis Redbirds

2000 – present
Succeeded by
Current
Preceded by
first game
Host of the
Civil Rights Game

2007 – 2008
Succeeded by
Great American Ball Park