Victory Field is one of the most lauded ballparks built in the last 20 years; go to the Indy Indians’ Web site and you’ll see kudos from the likes of Bob Costas, who hails the minor-league ballpark as one of the best ever built.
Year Opened: 1996
Largest crowd: 16,168 (July 22, 2000)
Dimensions: 320L, 418LC, 402C, 362RC, 320R
Ticket Prices (2016): Field Box Seats, $16 (kids $15); Reserved, $12 (kids $11); Lawn, $10 (kids $9)
League: International League (AAA)
Affiliation: Pittsburgh Pirates
Parking: Victory Field is part of White River State Park, along with attractions like the Indianapolis Zoo, the Indiana Convention Center, and the NCAA. It is also in close proximity to Lucas Oil Stadium. As a result, there are 6,400 parking lots and ramps with available parking close to the ballpark.
Directions: 501 W. Maryland St., Indianapolis. As mentioned, the ballpark is at the southwestern corner of downtown, so any signs pointing the way to downtown Indianapolis or Lucas Oil Stadium will lead you to the ballpark. Through the ballpark is technically on Maryland Street, the real location of the ballpark is at West Street (which runs north-south from I-70) and Washington Street, which runs east-west throughout Indianapolis and intersection with I-70 as well.
Written by: Kevin Reichard
And despite my contrarian tendencies, I must admit the plaudits for Victory are well-deserved. Yes, it’s a great ballpark. Yes, it’s a jewel of the minors. Yes, it a comfortable place to watch a game. Yes, the ballpark is immaculately maintained. All in all, it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the Indianapolis area.
The ballpark is located at the southwestern corner of downtown Indianapolis, in an area featuring a zoo, a museum of Western art and other attractions. In addition, Indiana state government offices are nearby, so all in there’s a plethora of easily accessible parking spaces (unless you visit for a weekday matinee when many of these parking spots are occupied). In addition, the ballpark is an easy walk from most of downtown Indianapolis. The ballpark is situated in such a way where the outfield view frames a gorgeous vista of downtown Indianapolis.
When first unveiled, Victory Field — along with Buffalo’s Dunn Tire Park — created a mini revolution in the design of minor-league ballparks: instead of treating them as the poor bastard brethren of major-league ballparks, minor-league ballparks were designed with their own distinctive layouts suited the smaller crowds, complete with concourses, picnic areas and entertainment areas. The footprints of these new minor-league ballparks became larger, but so did the entertainment options for patrons of the game. Tired of spending an entire game sitting in a single seat? Head out to the center-field picnic area for some ice cream. Spend some time sitting on the outfield berm. Relax on the main concourse with friends.
What this does — and this is something never quite grasped by ballpark opponents — is create a sense of community associated with, but independent of, the team. When you’re at the ballpark and have the ability to wander around a spacious environment, you have the potential to make new and/or temporary acquaintances. You’re already starting out with something in common, and you have the potential to expand on that shared experience. Community is a benefit to minor-league ballparks frequently undersold by team owners seeking public financing, but it’s very real. In an age when we are all searching for some sort of extended meaning in our lives, the ballpark can be a powerful force to provide meaning in the form of community and shared experiences.
Or, of course, you may want to head to the ballpark just to watch some baseball and eat some good food. You can do that at Victory Field as well. There are some fairly unique qualities to the ballpark as well. For instance, there are really two main entrances to the ballpark. The entrance for many entering the ballpark from downtown Indianapolis is in center field, leading to a picnic area and berm seating.
The other entrance is located on the west side of the ballpark, next to the closest parking lots. It’s also the entrance used by season-ticket holders and suites patrons.
This is actually the second Victory Field in Indianapolis baseball history. The original Victory Field opened as Perry Stadium in 1931 and was renamed Victory Field in 1942 to honor the United States victory in World War II.
That ballpark was renamed Bush Stadium in honor of former player, manager and team president Owen J. Bush on August 30, 1967. Bush Stadium stood for many years, and portions of it were converted into apartments in 2014.
The ballpark offerings are pretty standard — hot dogs, burgers, pizza, beer, pop and the like. Ice cream is sold in the center-field picnic area.
There is plenty of parking in the surrounding area — 6,400 spots in all, according to the Indians. If you arrive early enough at the ballpark you can snare street parking close by; otherwise you’ll be forced to pay for lot parking.
WHERE TO STAY
You can easily stay in downtown Indianapolis and then walk to the game. Directly across the street from Victory Field is a Courtyard by Marriott (501 W. Washington St.; marriott.com), while another block away is the Indianapolis Downtown Marriott (350 W. Maryland; marriott.com), if you want the most convenient locations. Other hotels within a half mile of the ballpark include the Best Western City Centre (410 S. Missouri), Westin Indianapolis (50 S. Capitol Avenue; westin.com), Embassy Suites Downtown (110 Washington Street; hilton.com), the ritzy Canterbury Hotel (123 S. Illinois), and the Crowne Plaza Union Station (123 W. Louisiana Street).
In addition, the ballpark is located six miles from the Indianapolis airport, so you could stay there in a pinch.
All images courtesy of of the Indians Communications Department.