For some reason, UPS made this an extra-long wait and sent my tickets on quite a vacation before arriving on my doorstep. I received the notice on Mar 28 that they had been shipped and started tracking their progress. Now I’ve worked in distribution and logistics in my past – and I understand the concept of hubs and how that may cause items to seemingly go further away before coming back to the final destination – but this was just crazy! Honolulu? Really? Maybe I should start traveling with the season tickets 🙂
Nevertheless – they finally arrived! I don’t know about you but I am like a kid on Christmas morning when my box arrives with my baseball season tickets. Sure, I could access them online. Absolutely, I already know who we will be playing and when – it’s already in my Outlook calendar. But there is something special about holding them in your hand … finding out the design … seeing which players are featured. And you never know what else might be in the box. Woo hoo!
Here is the box … isn’t it beautiful! Love the gold embossed SD Padres logo. The 4-color photos that line each side are a nice touch this year.
Not only are the tickets inside but also the brand new “Membership” cards. Your game package determines whether you are Black, Platinum, Gold, or Blue … I have a full season in Toyota Terrace and that makes me “Platinum.” We were then able to select from Family, Business, Social, or Fanatic … I selected Fanatic … shocking, I know! Each level of membership comes with added benefits and special activities. If you want to get season tickets, I highly recommend Hayley Hallam – she always hits a homerun with her customer service!!
Featured on this year’s tickets:
The Skipper, Buddy Black
Yonder Alonso, Chase Headley, and Mark Kotsay
Chris Denorfia, Carlos Quentin, and Cameron Maybin
Huston Street, Clayton Richard, and Edison Volquez
The Padres as remind us that they are a Team for the Military!
81 home games to look forward to! In addition to our NL West Division rivals and playing the NL teams, we will have interleague play with Mariners, Blue Jays, Orioles, and for the first time at Petco Park – the Yankees.
Eleven MLB Teams!
Saw 11 teams play in 7 different games.
Ten Days in Arizona!
Can’t say the weather was great. So spoiled with the typically sunny and warm Spring Training weather in Phoenix but this year it was very chilly the first week (low 40s for morning practices and 60 at game time) and rainy the second week (including a top-of-the 4th rainout). Nevertheless, it was still baseball!
Nine Innings of Baseball!
Honestly – was having trouble coming up with a “9” and this was suggested. It is appropriate since Spring Training games don’t go into extra innings. Overall, I truly saw 75 innings, if you include the World Baseball Classic.
Eight Nights in Hotels!
I’m never sure why people find this great … I would rather be home, in my own bed. But I have no complaints. My longest stay was 5 nights at the Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham in Mesa, AZ … it is very close to the AZ101 and to the ballparks on the East side. On our return trip, we stopped in Yuma, AZ and stayed at our usual Oak Tree Inn. Once we arrived in Peoria, AZ, it was back to the Ramada Inn in Peoria … our 3rd stay there. None of these hotels are five star but they are family-friendly, reasonably priced, clean, and conveniently located.
Seven Spring Training Games!
- 2/25 – White Sox at Giants
- 2/26 – Diamondbacks at Angels
- 2/27 – Giants at Angels
- 2/28 – Athletics at Cubs
- 3/01 – Brewers at Rockies
- 3/08 – Athletics at Mariners
- 3/09 – Rangers at Padres
Six New Baseballs!
Five Spring Training Ballparks!
Be sure to read the blogs on each of these ballparks.
4 Media Credentials!
A huge thank you to the following teams for your hospitality:
- Giants – provided Pressbox, Field, and Clubhouse access
- Rockies – provided Pressbox, Field, and Clubhouse access
- Angels – provided Pressbox, Field, and Clubhouse access … was able to interview Manager, Mike Scioscia
- Padres – was able to interview, Manager, Bud Black
3 Great Travel Companions!
This was our sixth consecutive year to make the trek to Arizona for Spring Training … it is amazing how much the boys have grown in that time.
2 World Baseball Classic Games!
We loved the WBC when it was in San Diego in 2009 and were happy to have the opportunity to catch some games in conjunction with Spring Training. We saw USA play Italy on 3/08 and then USA play Canada on 3/10. TheBaseballPHD even got a few tweets on the jumbotron 🙂
1 More Year of Terrific Memories!
It was another wonderful year at Spring Training and I look forward to 2014 … but first, it’s time for the regular season! Play Ball!!
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
Destination – Tempe, Arizona … location of the Tempe Diablo Stadium … Spring Training home for the Los Angeles Angels … celebrating their 20th year at this location. The 75-acre complex includes 6 1/2 practice fields plus the main stadium that seats 9,558. There is berm seating (up to 2,300) but is only on the left field side – right field is a parking lot and the entrance for the visiting team. The stadium sits at the base of the Twin Buttes and one provides a beautiful backdrop behind left field. Tempe Diablo Stadium also hosts the night games for the Arizona League’s Tempe Angels.
History – Tempe Diablo Stadium was opened in 1968 and was the Spring Training home of the Seattle Pilots 1969-1970; the Milwaukee Brewers 1971-1972; and the Seattle Mariners 1977-1993. Similar to Scottsdale Stadium, this facility had extensive renovations in 2006 ($20 million) and (like the Giants) the Angels signed a lease extension through 2025.
People – Fans were plentiful – even on a weekday when the weather was a bit cooler than normal for Spring Training. With All-Stars like Albert Pujols (9x), Josh Hamilton (5x), Jared Weaver (3x), CJ Wilson (2x), Mark Trumbo, and Mike Trout … the fans have a lot to be optimistic about in 2013! There is a picnic area above the third base outfield with a great view of the game. It includes numerous picnic tables, round tables with umbrellas, and even a party zone area. Of course, there are many food stands along that zone as well … I personally tried the pulled pork sandwich and thought it was excellent.
Between the practice field accessibility and the plentiful autographs along the first base line, Tempe Diablo is a pretty fan-friendly complex and one that I encourage you to visit.
The Baseball PHD
The Baseball PHD visited Tempe Diablo Stadium on two consecutive days:
Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 – Diamondbacks @ Angels: concluded in a 7-7 tie with 3,094 in attendance.
Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 – Giants @ Angels: concluded in an 8-8 tie with 4,042 in attendance.
2200 West Alameda Drive
Tempe, AZ 85282
Hello baseball fans!
As we begin to get the itch for the start of the season, there is no better way satisfy it than by going to Spring Training. Since I live on the West Coast, I have been going to the Cactus League Spring Training since 2008. With just a six hour drive, I can be in the heart of baseball for half of our MLB teams. This year I am making two visits to Arizona. On this first trip, my focus is on those stadiums on the “East” side of town …
- Scottsdale Stadium – Home of the SF Giants
- Tempe Diablo Stadium – Home of the LA Angels
- Hohokam Park – Home of the Chicago Cubs
- Salt River Fields – Home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies
I look forward to sharing more about these destinations over the next several days.
The Baseball PHD