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Official Review by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
The beautiful Goodyear Ballpark is the spring training home of the Cincinnati Reds as well as the Cleveland Indians. It is located 22 miles from downtown Phoenix, AZ. The Cincinnati Reds used to play their spring training games at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, FL before heading to the Cactus League in 2009.
It is a compact and intimate ballpark; the stadium contains 8,000 stadium seats, 1,500 berm seats, six suites, and a 500 seat party deck in right field.
One unique feature of the ballpark is the squished baseball art structure in front of the stadium called ‘The Ziz.’ The Ziz is a griffin-like bird in Hebrew mythology that rules over and protects smaller birds. The height of The Ziz at Goodyear Ballpark plus the pedestal is 60 feet, 6 inches, which is the exact distance between home plate and the pitcher’s mound.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The ballpark has your standard food options and a bit more. There are four fixed concession stands plus plenty of portable carts offering a whole variety of snacks, meals, and drinks.
The fixed concession stands are:
• Hot Dog Nation (located behind home plate) which features Cincinnati, Cleveland, New York, Arizona and Chicago dogs, nachos, churros and pretzels
• Pizzaiolo (located inside the first base entrance) and offers pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken breast sandwiches, nachos, pretzels and other snacks either ala carte or in a basket ($4 - $10.25). Pizzaiolo also offers healthy alternatives such as a wrap of the day or salad of the day ($7.50 / $6.75)
• The Show (located in the outfield) that features hamburgers, fried bologna, chili cheese fries, hot dogs, nachos, churros and pretzels
• Tamales (located on third base side) whose specialty is burritos (carne asada or chicken), tacos, and bean burrito ($5.25 - $7.25), as well as the other standard fare
Portable carts and trucks include Kona Ice (which actually has a sugar free option, something I have not noticed at other stadiums), Macayo's (Mexican), Mister Softee (ice cream), lemonade, cotton candy ($6), cheesesteak ($8.25), Southwest Grill (bratwurst, mild Italian sausage, giant dog), and others.
Coca-Cola is the soda provider at the ballpark. Beer options include the likes of Miller Lite, Coors Light, Blue Moon (domestic beer $7.25 / premium beer $8.25). I did not see any local craft beer offered. At the game I attended there was a pre game promotion for $1 PBR and Old Style beer so be sure to check their website for promotions on the day you plan on attending.
There is an all you can eat pavilion in the outfield. For $18 you can dine on all the hamburgers, hot dogs, pulled BBQ chicken, potato salad baked beans, chips and cookies you want.
One sealed plastic water bottle (non-carbonated and colorless water only) not exceeding one liter, per guest may be brought into the ballpark. It appears that is the only outside food or drink allowed in the stadium.
The beautiful Arizona sunset beyond the third base side is amazing (this will vary based on when you attend a game). During an evening game, be sure to wander to the outfield as the sun is starting to set.
Upon entering the stadium, you'll notice historical posters and displays of both Ohio teams from days gone by.
One can walk around the entire concourse and not miss a single pitch or play. The concourse is plenty wide but it does get crowded behind the infield area - from the first base to third base sections. Palm trees adorn the scoreboard which is located in left field.
Seats are of the traditional green plastic fold down variety and include cup holders. There are some grassy berm seating options in both left and right field. The concourse contains some picnic tables with umbrellas where you can squat while consuming any food or drink you may have purchased. These tables are mostly located near the grassy berm areas in the outfield.
Both bullpens are not on the playing surface, but are behind a short fence and are in the left field area underneath the scoreboard.
The music level and selection is just about perfect. The volume does not overpower the PA announcer as is done in other Cactus League facilities.
I'd recommend bringing a light jacket or sweatshirt as it can get a bit chilly after the sun sets during an evening game.
The between inning promotion at the game I attended was the ZOOperstars. The ZOOperstars are something like blow up characters/mascots spoofing sports greats that entertain the fans by dancing and performing skits. Many fans get a kick out of it.
There are no hotels, bars, restaurants, or attractions within walking distance (1/2 mile) of the ballpark.
There are plenty of fast food restaurants just off the I-10 interstate as you head to Goodyear Ballpark: Subway, McDonald's, Jack in the Box, the Burger Joint, etc. (most are just over a mile away).
Do check out the Hoot and Howl which is one exit on I-10 from the ballpark exit and just two miles from the ballpark. It is located in a Best Western on N Litchfield Rd. I was told this Best Western is a good place to stay when visiting for Reds spring training games. The Hoot and Howl is a sports bar/restaurant and includes some non-traditional domestic beers. There are a lot of nooks and crannies in the restaurant. And, even better, you may meet and have conversations with great Cincinnati Reds fans while having a beer (which Reds fans like to do).
Another recommended hotel is the The TownePlace Suites by Marriott Phoenix/Goodyear about three miles from Goodyear Ballpark.
There are plenty of things to see and do in the Goodyear/Phoenix, AZ area.
The Reds fans do tailgate at a ballgame in Goodyear; that's not something I've seen at other spring training facilities in the Cactus League. They eagerly watch for their players to take the field. They play with their kids in open areas around the stadium. They eat, they drink and they party. They eagerly converse with other fans on the concourse and discuss the state of baseball and the Cincinnati Reds. It's all grand.
Some say they are hard core and that's perfectly fine. They are committed to their Reds team and the best to them. They are a fine group of fans.
The majority of fans visiting any spring training game in the Cactus League are from places north which have had cold freezing temperatures, ice, and snow through the winter season. So everyone is happy to be in Arizona in March.
Goodyear Ballpark is a good distance from Phoenix. From Phoenix, take I-10 West to N Bullard Ave, go south and follow the signs. Depending on from where you are starting, you may run into rush hour traffic for an evening game.
If flying in, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is your best option.
There is no indication of public transportation so a vehicle is the only way to get to the park. Parking ($7) is on a grass lot so watch for mud if you should attend on a rainy day.
There are four entrances into the stadium. Choose the one that's closest to your vehicle. If you want to see The Ziz (which I recommend) then head to the home plate entrance. Bag check through security is a breeze. They do allow bags up to 16" x 16" x 8" including back packs.
The bathrooms serve their purpose and are clean with minimal lines at peak times.
The concession lines can get very long especially closer to the start of the game and between innings so be prepared to work on your patience.
Ticket prices range from $8 (lawn seating) to $32 (right field pavilion). Parking is $7.
The pre game promotion of $1 PBR and Old Style beer seems like a great deal if those are your beers of choice.
The Reds do offer spring training travel packages that include tickets, your choice of accommodations, rental car with unlimited mileage, and a custom Reds merchandise package. Be sure to check those out when heading to Goodyear.
Visiting Goodyear Ballpark and a Reds spring training game or two is worth the expense.
The Ziz baseball statue in front of the stadium is worth another mention. The Reds fans are some of the best. The scoreboard is crisp and clear and looks beautiful with the surrounding palm trees. Being able to actually hear the PA announcer, talk with your neighbors without having to yell at them and not be drowned out by loud music levels is stellar.
Goodyear Ballpark is a beautiful stadium and is very worth visiting. It's just a tad far from the hubbub of Phoenix.
Member Review by Prince on Mar 26, 2012
Goodyear Ballpark is the home of Spring Training baseball for the Cincinnati Reds who joined the Cactus League in 2010 after leaving Sarasota, Florida where they trained for a number of years. The ballpark is also the spring home for the Cleveland Indians who moved there in 2009 from Winter Haven, Florida. The Indians previously trained in Arizona from 1947-1992. The ballpark holds up just over 10,000 people which includes 8,000 seats, 1,500 lawn seats, six suites and 500 premium seats on the party deck in right field.
55 N Litchfield Rd
Goodyear, AZ 85338
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55 N Litchfield Rd
Goodyear, AZ 85338