Fans send Cardinals off to St. Louis

An estimated crowd of over 15,000 packed 4th Street Live on Tuesday evening for a pep rally to send the Cardinals off to St. Louis and the Final Four.

It's been 19 years since the Cardinals made their last appearance in the Final Four. Since I was only in high school the last time that the University of Louisville accomplished that feat I find myself having a difficult time recalling anything that resembeled what occurred on Tuesday evening at 4th Street Live.

While the pep rally to send Rick Pitino's squad off to Saint Louis officially kicked off at 5:00 p.m., the fans decked out in red and black began arriving more than an early. The city streets surrounding 4th Street Live were bumper to bumper. If you arrived near the start of the event, you found little room to move. Fans filled 4th Street from Muhammad Ali Blvd to Liberty Street. The stairs, balcony, escalators - which eventually were turned off for safety - and all the windows at each establishment was full.

The post championship celebrations in 1980 and 1986 filled Freedom Hall and one has to wonder if the pep rally had been held there if it would have been a standing room only event.

Francisco Garcia addresses the crowd
The team arrived to a roaring crowd and after Coach Rick Pitino introduced them, a few, especially Otis George - who was singled out by Pitino - displayed their dancing abilities.

The comments from some the messageboard members paint a great picture...

I just walked back from 4th Street Live. Great crowd! People were really crammed in there. - pkkuam01

It was great. I think the glass in the roof was eardrums still are. The guys seemed to be having so much fun. I am happy for them because they sacrifice all of their time and energy. Days like today are the payoff. Pitino getting them to dance was the best. - BigEASTMASTER

That was absolutely awesome. Big, big crowd - loud and really into supporting the Cards. It was so funny seeing the players dancing. They really seemed relaxed - hope they stay that way. Thanks to everyone who showed up. Great time!!! - LuvCards

The Cardinals will tip off against top-ranked Illinois on Saturday at 6:07 p.m. for the right to play for the National Championship.

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