East of Scottsdale, Arizona, on the land of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, sits a beautiful 140-acre complex named Salt River Fields at Talking Stick – the first MLB park to be built on Native American land. The complex is the Spring Training home for the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies. Salt River is currently the newest MLB Spring Training facility and replaced the Tucson Electric Park for the Diamondbacks and Hi Corbett Field for the Rockies.
Each team has an 85,000-square-foot clubhouse (with offices, fitness, and locker rooms), six full-size practice fields (one with the same dimensions as the respective team’s home stadium), two infield only practice diamonds, and 10 covered batting cages. The Diamondbacks occupy the facilities along the left field and the Rockies are in the right field area. I must say, I conducted interviews in the Rockies’ Clubhouse (no photography allowed) and it was magnificent … open space, spacious lockers, leather seating areas, flat screen TVs, computers, granite bars … five star all the way!
The stadium was positioned to face northeast to maximize shade within the grandstand. With 7,000 chair back seats and 4,000 berm seating (the largest of all the facilities), the stadium lists 11,000 as capacity; however, the latest attendance record was established on March 24, 2013 with 12,864 – obviously, fans utilized extensive berm and standing room only to squeeze in! Luckily, there are over 3,000 parking spaces as well.
Grand Opening was February 11, 2011 and the first game was the Diamondbacks and Rockies on February 26, 2011. The ceremonial first pitch was delivered by Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Tribal President Diane Enos and Vice President Martin Harvier. The National Anthem was performed by Salt River Elementary School choir. The Rockies won the first game 8-7 after 10 innings of play.
The name Salt River Fields at Talking Stick defines the location and culture of the facility.
- “Salt River Fields” represents the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
- “Fields” refers to the 12 practice fields located within the facility and also the Community’s rich agricultural history.
- “Talking Stick” is an historical reference to the traditional Pima calendar stick on which carvers recorded historical events and milestones
A local Pima artist and calendar stick carver, Royce Manuel, designed the concept for the logo. It brings together the Diamondbacks’ rattlesnake with the Rockies’ mountain range. Great that it also emphasizes the local mountain ranges as well as the rattlesnake in Southwestern Native American culture. A Dallas-based design firm, FocusEGd, refined the design into a graphic image.
The fans have been packing the stadium for both teams since the stadium opened in 2011. The beautiful facility, lovely mountain backdrop, and two MLB teams makes it a great destination for Spring Training fans. And if you go to Salt River Fields, you will have many options to suit your palette. From Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar to 101 Cattle Company’s angus burgers; Cold Stone Creamery to chocolate covered bananas & strawberries on a stick (berry kabobs); numerous wieners abound at the Home Plate Hot Dogs and, of course, the Salty Senorita taco bar and Del Rios southwestern cuisine. If you are more health conscious, never fear! There are specialty wraps, salads of the day, sweet potato fries, Island Noodle, and several gluten free choices.
Notes – As noted earlier, the practice fields are extensive. The Rockies’ half is known as the “Mountain” side … park in the Mountain Parking lot on the south side of the complex. The fields are named: Duststorm, Red Mountain, Adobe, Wild Horse, Red Clay, and Cottonwood. The Diamondbacks use the “Desert” side of the complex … park in the Desert Parking lot on the north side of the complex. Those fields are named: Whirlwind, Jackrabbit, Quail, Ramada, Devil’s Claw, and Mesquite. Parking is complimentary on non-game days but there is a $5 charge on game day, regardless of whether or not you actually attend the game. Of course, if you are attending the game, the gates open 2 hours and 10 minutes before first pitch and you will usually find the home team taking batting practice in the stadium.
When planning your Spring Training visit – be sure to include Salt River Fields at Talking Stick!
The Baseball PHD visited Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on Friday, Mar 01, 2013 … The Rockies hosted the Brewers and the home team was victorious with a 5-2 score and 7,443 fans in attendance.Ballpark address: 7555 N. Pima Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85258