These 75 degree days have been a great primer for what’s just around the corner…SPRING TRAINING! And, while it’s neat to see the out-of-town teams doing their Cactus League thing in the Valley, I’m soooo happy our D-Backs will be local. The finishing touches are being put on Salt River Fields for the Diamondbacks and Rockies. We’re just 38 days away from the first game!
(Courtesy of Peter Corbett – Arizona Republic)
Ducks already are on the pond at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick and it won’t be long until snowbirds flock to the new baseball stadium for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies.
Construction crews are busy completing the $100 million spring-training complex on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community near Loop 101 and Indian Bend Road.
Pitchers and catchers will report for their first workouts on Feb. 14 and the first game is Feb. 26, 38 days away.
“We’re looking forward to start playing some baseball here,” said Ken Kendrick, Diamondbacks general partner.
Officials from the Diamondbacks and Rockies led a media tour Tuesday of the 11,000-seat stadium and each team’s clubhouse. Both clubhouses overlook the stadium and six full-size practice fields for the Rockies on the first-base side and six more for the Diamondbacks north of the ballpark.
CLICK HERE to see photos of the facility.
The two teams are moving from Tucson to the Salt River community to join the other 13 Cactus League teams in the Valley and take advantage of the upgraded facilities at the 140-acre complex.
Rockies owner Dick Monfort said it was difficult to leave Tucson after many good years training there but it will be easier to develop players at the new complex.
“No more four-hour bus rides,” he said.
Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall said Salt River Fields will be a recruiting advantage for players who want to live in the Valley year-round and not leave home for spring training.
General Manager Kevin Towers said the Diamondbacks clubhouse was an important element of developing the character and chemistry of the team.
“This is the sort of complex that everyone else is going to be gunning for,” he said of Salt River Fields.
The Diamondbacks 60-stall locker room features a large backlit “A” team logo in Sedona red on the ceiling, overstuffed lounge chairs and drop-down screens for video replays. The entire complex and stadium is full of cameras to track play and help coaches evaluate players.
Fans will have lots of opportunities to interact with players at Salt River Fields, according to Hall, who describes it as a “Disneyland of baseball.”
Ramps leading into each side of the stadium go past the batting cages and pitching mounds so fans can watch players hitting and pitchers warming up.
The Diamondbacks intend to have a designated spot in left field near the clubhouse where players can meet with fans and sign autographs.
On the first-base side, youngsters can play Wiffle Ball on a miniature field with artificial turf.
The stadium features 7,000 fixed seats, most of them shaded for all or part of the game. The outfield berm – the largest in the Cactus League – will accommodate about 4,000 fans.
From most seats, fans’ views of mountains to the north and east are somewhat blocked by the two clubhouses and the batter’s eye in center field. But the views are unobstructed from the second- and third-level party decks, which are sponsored by Pepsi, Coors and Miller Lite.
Hall said he expected the party decks to be full of casual fans that will give it an atmosphere similar to the boisterous crowd at the 16th hole at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Tickets, which are on sale now, are $19 for the party decks. Lawn seats are $8 and the fixed seats range from $15 to $25.
The Diamondbacks and Rockies will play the first game at Salt River Fields on Feb. 26.
Ticket information for the Diamondbacks can be found online at arizona .diamondbacks.mlb.com. For the Rockies, visit colorado.rockies.mlb.com.