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Official Review by Michael Davis, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Alberta B. Farrington Softball Stadium is in Tempe, Arizona on the campus of Arizona State University. The stadium is located in the athletic area in the northeast part of the campus, across Scottsdale Road, from ASU’s Wells Fargo Arena and Sun Devil Stadium.
The stadium was built in 2000, on the grounds of the previous stadium. The new stadium holds 1,535 fans. Farrington Softball Stadium is the home of the Arizona State softball program and considered one of the nation’s top collegiate softball stadiums with recent renovations done in 2013 and 2014. The stadium has amenities such as the chair back seating in the upper level of the seating area, while the lower level provides individual seats. There are solar panels above the seating area to provide shade for fans as well as provide an interesting architecture look to the stadium.
There is a team store and a permanent concession stand behind the home plate area at the main entrance to the stadium. The stadium has a natural grass surface with field dimensions of 202 feet down both lines and a distance of 210 feet to center field.
The Sun Devil softball program has made four trips to the Women’s College World Series concluding with two national championships in 2008 and 2011. Arizona State softball claims two more softball national championships with back to back titles in 1972 and 1973 when women’s softball had a different NCAA format.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Farrington Stadium has one concession stand behind home plate on the concourse entry of the stadium. The concession is very basic which is perfect since there are so many restaurants in the area that eating ballpark food should just be a snack. The food prices are typical for sporting events; the best bargain being the $10 souvenir popcorn tub. The bratwurst and hot link cost $6, regular hot dog, popcorn, peanuts, and candy are $4, while the nachos and pretzels are $5. ASU serves Coca-Cola in its facility with pricing of $4-$6 for drinks, and no alcohol options.
College softball doesn't attract the tailgating atmosphere of college football or the fans craziness in college basketball; however the softball atmosphere is simply an enjoyable event.
The atmosphere is typical of baseball/softball games across the country. As you walk into the only entrance to the stadium behind home plate, there is the Arizona State apparel shop next to the only concession stand serving the basic ballpark fare. There is music in between innings and appearances of the Arizona State mascot, Sparky. College softball players tend to be very vocal with chants for players with familiar beats to them, so there is never a quiet moment during the game.
If Arizona State wins, then there is the ringing of the victory bell near second base. The number of times the bell is rung depends on how many wins the softball team has during that season.
Overall, it is a wonderful two hours of enjoyment, especially if you enjoy the sport.
Arizona State provides one of the best neighborhoods for athletic facilities in the college sports. Farrington Stadium is located across the street from Wells Fargo Arena and Sun Devil Stadium, and just east of the well known nightlife on Mill Avenue.
Mill Avenue provides the nightlife of Tempe and Arizona State University. It is located on the west side of campus, just a short walk away. There is a large variety of restaurants, so it won't be hard to find something you would like as far as food and drink are concerned. One of my favorite places is Pedal Haus Brewery, a local brewery with good food and an outside patio.
There is also the Tempe Marketplace, about a mile from Farrington Stadium. Tempe Marketplace has numerous of restaurants, outlet shops, and a Hawkins movie theater. If you are from the Chicago area, the marketplace has Portillo's Hot Dogs which is really a popular spot during Cubs Spring Training games in nearby Mesa.
If you want to stay close by there are restaurants all along Rural and University Avenue such as Buffalo Wild Wings, IHOP, and Raising Cane's Chicken.
The majority of the fans are young women that play softball and are there because they love the sport and want to see some of the women that could be on TV in May at the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City. Other fans are usually the players' family or friends. The Arizona State fans are the typical home town fans as they wear the school's maroon and gold colors, and show support at the correct time. They are polite, fun, and enjoyable to be around. Although, when the other Arizona program from Tucson is in town, the fans are a lot more vocal towards each other.
Farrington Stadium itself is located close to the Rural Road and University intersection across from Wells Fargo Arena and the soon to be demolished Packard Stadium. It is very easy to get to just by taking the Rural/Scottsdale exit on the Loop 202.
The Valley Metro Light Rail provides public transportation throughout the Valley. People traveling from out of town can go straight from Sky Harbor International Airport to the ASU/Downtown Tempe area with a short walk to Farrington Stadium.
Although there is a lot of reserved campus parking, the softball games are played on weekends, therefore finding parking is easy and free.
The main entrance and ticket office for game day tickets are behind home plate. The only concourse is below the seating area so you will have to climb stairs to see the playing field. The stadium is easy to get around; the signage is good for finding seating and restrooms.
The Arizona State Sun Devil program competes in the PAC-12 Conference which has dominated college softball, with programs such as Arizona, UCLA, Washington, as well as the Sun Devils winning many of the Women's Softball World Series championships. In fact, the Pac-12 has 23 of the first 33 championships in the NCAA's current format. The games cost anywhere from $7-$14. For Pac-12 games, especially against the school located in Tucson, tickets could be limited, so check the Sun Devil website for availability. The free parking, low ticket cost, and high caliber college softball action is well worth a visit to Farrington Stadium.
Throughout the stadium, you will find the ASU current softball player murals.
The view of palms trees and mountains from the seating area of the stadium is worth an extra point.
Tempe and the surrounding area provides numerous options.
The Arizona State softball schedule is played during the prime months of Arizona's tourist season, providing great weather and during the Cactus League Season (Major League Baseball Spring Training). Sun Devil softball at Farrington Stadium, is a perfect addition for the Spring Training traveler. The Phoenix Metro Valley has many things to offer and attending Arizona State softball game is certainly one of them.
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730 S Mill Ave
Tempe, AZ 85281
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