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Official Review by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
The Oakland Athletics baseball team (also known as the A’s) relocated their spring training facility from Phoenix Municipal Stadium (aka Phoenix Muni) to Hohokam Stadium in 2015. Hohokam Stadium had been the Chicago Cubs spring training park since 1979 (though reconstructed in 1996) until they moved to the brand new Sloan Park in 2014.
Major renovations were done in 2014 prior to the A’s taking residence. No longer is it a dark crowded venue but one that is bright and wide open. Renovations included a new video scoreboard, new player locker rooms and an expanded weight room, party decks with shade down the left and right field lines, and a new coat of Oakland A’s green paint.
The Athletics brought over some of the grand history of their team from Phoenix Muni but some of it is missed in Hohokam and still resides at Phoenix Muni, e.g., historic events etched into the concourse floor.
It is a fine venue in which to watch some spring training games so if headed to Arizona in March be sure to take a visit to this stadium.
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".
Plenty of food and drinks are available at Hohokam at comparable prices to other spring training venues; they even may be a bit lower in price than some of the other venues.
Lots of vendors stroll the stands selling water, beer, peanuts, lemonade, cracker jacks, etc. with prices as follows: peanuts $4.50, water $4.50, domestic beers $8.25, craft premiums $10.
All concessions are beyond the seating area or near the picnic decks down the baselines (the craft beer stand on the third base side has the best selection (in my opinion) including New Belgium IPA and Fat Tire).
Ike's Sandwiches, a bay area staple, has a cart at Hohokam offering a variety of their sandwiches to A's fans and visiting guests.
Hungry Hill Sausages provides delicious bratwurst, Italian, or Polish for $9 (cash only). Other stands include an Island Noodles, Kettle Corn, Spinato's pizzeria, and Dickey's barbeque. And, of course, traditional stadium fare of burgers, hot dogs, nachos, and the like are available. Spinato's has a delicious apple/pecan salad.
Some stands are cash only so come prepared with more than a credit/debit card. Hohokam Stadium is a Pepsi venue.
Outside food is permitted as long as it is single serving sizes and coolers are soft sided.
There's nothing better than sitting in the warm (not hot) sun on a Feb/Mar afternoon watching the boys of summer getting ready for the season. It's relaxing, entertaining, and it just feels right after a long winter. Hohokam Stadium fills this craving perfectly.
Seating consists of two levels with a small walkway between the two, some suites, and lawn seating is abundant beyond the left and right outfields. Infield seats are comfortable with average legroom and cup holders. Terrace reserved seats (second level beyond the dugouts) are metal bleachers with backs. The A's home side is on the first baseline.
As part of the renovations in 2014, two impressive covered picnic decks were constructed down the first and third baselines; anyone can visit and they have food and drink vendors, picnic tables, and some games.
Dual bullpens (one just up and behind the other) are in right field. A resplendent new scoreboard was added during the renovations and sits on the left field berm.
Stompers Kid Zone is beyond the batter's eye in center field so that may be a nice place to stroll if the young ones are getting restless, though the playing field is not visible from there.
Starting lineups are posted inside Gate D and they are called nice and slow but music is played over the lineup announcement so it is hard to hear. Music is also played when announcing player and pitcher changes (which happens a lot in spring training); other than those important messages, for the most part the announcements are hearable and understandable.
Sign up for any promotions just inside Gate D. Gates open two hours before the first scheduled pitch.
Hohokam Stadium resides in a residential neighborhood and there's not much in the immediate vicinity to eat before or after the game. Tailgating is allowed so bring the party atmosphere to the parking lot.
The Draft Sports Grill (about five miles from the ballpark) is a sports bar that is very popular because of their great food and their spiked milkshakes. For Mexican food and margaritas, Casa Ramos (about four miles from the ballpark) seems to be a very popular destination.
No hotels are within walking distance of Hohokam Stadium, however, there are plenty along Main St just two to three miles away with the closest (and most expensive), the Phoenix Marriott Mesa. Others a little more affordable are less than a mile from the Marriott.
Within 4 - 12 miles of the stadium are four other spring training venues so be sure to include those as well if doing a spring training stadium tour.
I love Oakland A's fans. One must admire them as they follow their team through thick and thin even with their current ownership issues. An average of 7,000 or so fans have come out to Hohokam Stadium to watch the A's the last two seasons.
The fans are engaged, respectful, energizing, easy to talk with and very knowledgeable of their team and the game. They are helpful when asking questions about the play at hand and/or Athletics information.
Attending an Athletics game is worth it regardless of the venue in which the team is playing because of the fabulous fans.
The staff (and I consider them fans) at the spring training games are exceedingly friendly and helpful.
The ballpark is located in a neighborhood and roads getting there are only two or four lanes so traffic getting in and out can be slow. The best bet is get there early and stay late to avoid traffic headaches. Fire up that tailgate and enjoy the afternoon. Parking is $5 with most spots on a grass field.
I did not notice any public transportation choices however Uber and taxis are available to and from the park with drop off and pick up on N Center St behind home plate.
The closest airport is Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (about 12 miles distance); a smaller regional airport, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, may be another pick if arriving via Allegiant or WestJet Airlines (both servicing smaller destinations).
The standard bag check occurs at the entrances and it is painless. If bringing luggage (and no car) do call in advance to see how the organization can manage storing over-sized items.
One can walk the entire concourse around the diamond but can't see the field from behind center field.
Bathrooms are quite functional with minimal or no lines.
A plethora of wheelchair seating areas are available on the concourse between the first and the second seating levels.
Ticket prices run from $10 (lawn seating) to $35 (first few rows of the infield behind home plate and the dugouts). Almost any seat is fine. Fans in the field level third baseline seats (sections 116 - 224) may find themselves turning their heads a bit to see the video scoreboard.
Souvenir programs are $5 and include the rosters. Parking is $5. Concession prices are what is expected though bringing in outside food can help reduce expenses.
Watching the Athletics players embrace the start of a new season in a remarkably updated spring training venue is well worth a fans' entertainment and/or travel dollars spent.
The party decks/picnic areas down the baselines deserve extra mention as they brighten up the seating area.
The staff at Hohokam Stadium are tremendously helpful, pleasant, and easy to converse with. They make visitors feel right at home.
Bringing over the Athletics history from Phoenix Muni (as much as they could) deserves additional recognition.
If you're an A's fan, a baseball fan, an Arizona spring training destination fan, or a snowbird, visiting Hohokam Stadium should be on the list for Feb/Mar activities. Watching a game here fulfills the need for watching the boys of summer getting ready for the season and away from dreary, cold northern territories of the US and Canada. Fans from all nations and teams are welcome here.
Member Review by ryannorris on Mar 26, 2015
Opening in 1997, Hohokam Stadium was the longtime spring training home of the Chicago Cubs before they moved to Sloan Park in 2014. The Oakland Athletics took over a renovated Hohokam Stadium in 2015 after spending over 30 years at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
This isn’t the A’s first stint in Mesa. They opened up the original Hohokam Stadium in 1977 prior to their lengthy stay in Phoenix.
If you caught the Cubs at Hohokam, you’ll notice the differences now that the A’s are there. They have removed some seating and lowered capacity, however it’s a much more attractive stadium now.
Member Review by Tejasduck on Mar 08, 2016
If you haven't visited Hohokam Stadium since the Athletics became the Spring Training tenant then a revisit is a must on the Cactus League circuit. The food/beverage is average, the access and neighborhood is the same as it was in the past. However, the renovation from the Cubs era, along with a new scoreboard has improved the ballpark. I suggest watching the game from the 200 level seats on the third base side, which provides a beautiful background beyond right field with the Superstition Mountains.
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