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Maryvale Baseball Park

Phoenix, AZ

Home of the Milwaukee Brewers Spring Training

1.4

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Maryvale Baseball Park (map it)
3600 N 51st Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85031


Milwaukee Brewers Spring Training website

Maryvale Baseball Park website

Year Opened: 1998

Capacity: 10,000

There are no tickets available at this time.

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A Not So Merry Time in Maryvale

The Milwaukee Brewers have been holding their annual Spring Training at Maryvale Baseball Park in Maryvale, AZ since 1998. Prior to moving here, the Brewers held Spring Training at Compadre Stadium in Chandler from 1986-1997.

The 56-acre facility includes five full practice fields, two practice infields, and the main stadium. The stadium seats roughly 10,000 people (7,000 grandstand and 3,000 lawn). During the rest of the year, the facility hosts many community events, and is also home to the AZL Brewers, who are the rookie-league affiliate of the Brew Crew.

One of the main issues with the stadium is where it is located, making it not a very attractive destination for baseball fans that visit the Phoenix area each March. While the Brewers website boasts that its easy access is one of the main drawing points, that’s not really the case at all.

1.4

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    3

The food options at Maryvale are very basic. Each baseline has two concession stands, which offer hot dogs and nachos for $4.75, and $7 for a loaded nachos. The pricing for all the food and beverages are very high for what you get.

Beers can cost up to $12 for the bomber cans, or around $7-$8 for a smaller one. Maryvale is a Coca-Cola facility, and obviously has a lot of Miller products.

The saving grace for the concessions is the mini food court located behind home plate. Here you'll find several different options including BBQ, noodles, a special grill, and a chicken stand. This little area at least gives diversity to the food options, and isn't significantly more expensive than the regular concession stands.

The outfield area doesn't have any food stands. There are simply two small beer carts, which sell beer, soda and water.

You can bring in a sealed bottle of water up to one liter to the ballpark, which is definitely a good idea, especially if you're sitting in the sun.

Atmosphere    2

All fans enter the stadium through one entrance which is located down the right field line. Prior to entering the park, you may want to check out some of the practice fields that are out near the parking lots to see some of the players up close before the game.

The Brewers logo is notably absent from the actual ballpark structures. The only things that you'll find the logo on is the tarp, and along the concourse on signs that point out where the drink carts and concession stands are. But unlike other parks, there's nothing on the scoreboard or outfield walls that would suggest you are at the Brewers' park.

The grandstand area has regular seats in the infield, and bleacher seating from the bases to where the lawn starts. The seats aren't all that comfortable, so the only thing that makes it worth it to sit in the infield is the shade. And the amenities. There are no amenities in the outfield, and as I'll get to during the access section, that is a huge downside to sitting out there.

The Brewers dugout and bullpen are found along the first base line, with the visiting team on the third base side. Before the game, some players from both teams sign autographs up above the top of the lawn seating outside the Brewers clubhouse near the right field foul pole, and then again sign some more along each baseline. There are three team shops. The big one is right where you enter the stadium. Behind home plate is a small one, and then a truck full of Brewers gear is parked out near the left field foul pole.

The scoreboard is very basic, and there is no video board to supplement it. If you are sitting in the outfield, you cannot hear the PA guy, so just one more reason why not to sit out there. You basically have no idea who is batting or pitching since you can't see it on the scoreboard or hear it over the speakers.

After the third inning, they do Brewers trivia, where a fan can win a prize. And in the middle of the sixth, the famous sausage race happens. I think it's shorter than the regular one at Miller Park in Milwaukee, with the sausages only running along the first base side from the Brewer bullpen to just past their dugout. After the race, the sausages walk through the concourse, and fans can take pictures with them near the exit gate.

Neighborhood    1

There's not a lot going on in the area around Maryvale Baseball Park. It's located in a residential area with not many businesses. Immediately north of the park are two shopping centers which include some fast food restaurants, as well as a Wingstop, a Sizzler, and a New China Buffet.

For hotels, your best option is to definitely stay closer to I-10 than the ballpark. The 51st Ave. exit at I-10 has a hotel from almost every major national chain.

A few miles west of the park is the Desert Sky Mall. It's just your typical mall, but does have more dining options.

The one upside to going to Maryvale is the ability to tailgate in the parking lot. And there are usually a lot of people taking advantage of this. So while there's no pre-game spot to go before the game, you can always tailgate.

Fans    1

The Brewer fans did not impress me the day I went. I visited for a game against the Angels, and while the Angels are one of the best draws in the Cactus League, they should not have 80% of the fans at the game like there were for this particular contest. Ryan Braun got booed ruthlessly at home. That's kind of embarrassing for the Milwaukee fans.

But I get why they wouldn't go to home games. The area is horrible, and so is getting to the stadium.

Access    1

Everything about the access here is horrible. It starts with the location, being at the corner of 51st Ave. and Indian School. It's not close to either the I-10 or Loop 101 Agua Fria Fwy. That makes all the fans take small, residential roads out for several miles. When coming up 51st Ave., there is a huge line of cars in the left lane waiting to finally make the turn into the only parking lot entrance.

When you finally make it to the parking lot, they charge you $5, even though that isn't advertised anywhere before you get to the attendants. That doesn't seem fair to say the least.

When entering through the one gate down the right field line, the security lines are slow, and getting into the ballpark takes longer than it needs to. Every fan enters through those gates, and the team shop is right there, so everything is very congested from an hour and a half before the game all the way until the game's over.

And it just keeps getting worse. The concourses are narrow and get jammed with people immediately. The concession lines take up the entire concourse, and there are lines starting an hour before the game. It's ridiculous. And the bathroom lines are just as bad. Just horrible trying to get anywhere in the park.

And then there's the problem of sitting in the outfield. The outfield walkway has no bathrooms or concessions along it, so all of those people have to make their way to the crowded infield concourse for food or to use the facilities. It's just a mess. I don't think it gets much worse than that in a professional ballpark.

Return on Investment    1

The food is definitely on the expensive side for a Cactus League facility, and you have to wait forever to get that food. Ticket prices range anywhere from $8-$30, and frankly, with the lack of facilities in the outfield, it's almost worth it to buy seats just to be somewhat in the shade and not have to walk through all those crowds to get anywhere.

There is some lawn seating right near the entrance gate that is in the shade and on the main concourse, so if you get there early enough, the lawn seats all of the sudden become much more worthwhile.

Extras    1

The only extra that I can come up with here is the Sausage Race. It's one of the great tradition of the MLB club that comes south with them in the spring.

Final Thoughts

The only reason to go to a Brewers home game during Spring Training is if you are a hardcore baseball traveler. Getting to the park itself is awful, and then once you're in it doesn't get any better. Sorry Brewers, but you can do so much better than this.

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Desert Sky Mall  (map it!)

7611 W Thomas Rd

Phoenix, AZ 85033

(623) 849-6661

http://www.desertskymall.com/

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