On Saturday of Labor Day weekend I attended my first American Association game.  I wrote about this geographically diverse league prior to the 2021 season. The Sioux Falls (SD) Canaries held a single-admission doubleheader (due to a prior postponement) during their final homestand of the season with ideal weather.  This meant vivid sunshine with low humidity.   At this game, members of the University of Sioux Falls marching band played the National Anthem and also entertained between innings.

Outside the main entrance to Sioux Falls Stadium between games of a Labor Day weekend doubleheader!

Sioux Falls Stadium, which the Canaries call home and fondly refer to as the “Birdcage”, holds over 4000 people but is seldom more than half full for games.  This venue is conveniently located on the north end of Sioux Falls, part of a large complex which includes the Denny Sanford Premier Center, and Howard Wood Field that was concurrently hosting a high school football game.

Originally built in 1951, the baseball stadium was extensively renovated in 2000.  A new center field video board was added in 2020.  A unique feature is an elevated flat berm down the third base line.  I appreciated this option for families wanting to be close to the action.  Smaller children playing on a blanket can be protected by a chain link fence while older family members enjoy a prime landing spot for foul balls with an excellent view of the action.  As noted in the Stadium Journey article on this venue, “A fun little addition (are) the ‘K’ signs that come flying down a pulley system over the concourse following every visiting team strikeout.”

Flat berm area for spectators along the third base line at Sioux Falls Stadium.

In an interesting statistic coming from game one, the Sioux Falls team broke the league record for number of walks received in a season!  In game two, the opposing pitcher allowed no hits in a seven-inning complete game but did surrender six walks, extending the Canaries’ record setting total. 

The announced attendance of nearly 1700 people seemed overstated, perhaps due to all the empty seats in the massive bleacher section down the first base line.   Tickets can be purchased online, but those buying at the ticket window are spared fees which shaves almost one-third off the ticket price ($17 vs. $25 on a same-day reserved ticket).

Sioux Falls Stadium prior to first pitch on September 4, 2021.

My seat, 10 rows up from the third base dugout, became shaded from the very warm sun by the end of the first inning of game two.  I was soon pulling on my long-sleeved T-shirt.  The temperature was reminiscent of my first minor league game of the 2021 season, but the similarity ended there.  At this early September game, the humidity was much lower and the sky clearer.

I really appreciated the fact that, even well out of a playoff position and losing this game badly, the home team still provided an entertaining and joyous event, including contests and freebies tossed into the crowd between innings.