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Official Review by Jason Bartel, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The full name is Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark, but everyone knows it as Packard Stadium. The on-campus home to the Arizona State Sun Devils has been used by ASU since 1974. But the Packard Stadium era is coming to a close after the 2014 season when the Devils will move to nearby Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
Packard seats just over 4,000 people, with 3,000 of those being permanent seats in the main grandstand. There are also field level seats right behind home plate, and general admission lawn seating down each baseline. Packard has one of the best views of any stadium in Arizona, and probably one of the best in college baseball. Located at the corner of Rural and Rio Salado in Tempe, it looks out to Tempe Town Lake, as well as Karsten Golf Course, the Superstition Mountains, and the landscaping that surrounds the outfield wall.
The field and ballpark are named after two ASU legends; Bobby Winkles and Jim Brock. Winkles was the Sun Devils head coach from 1959-71, winning three national championships (1965, ’67, ’69) and coached Rick Monday, Reggie Jackson and several others. In 1972, he went to the California Angels organization, where he became manager in 1973, but was fired in the middle of the 1974 season.
Jim Brock followed Winkles at ASU, and stayed there until 1994. That 1972 team still owns the best winning percentage for a single season in college baseball history, going 64-6. In 1994, Brock was battling liver and colon cancer, but still coached every conference game for ASU that year. During the 1994 College World Series, Brock had to be airlifted from Omaha back to Arizona, where he died just three days after the team’s season ended. In 2006, Brock Ballpark was named.
Arizona State has seen some incredible players come through the program in its history, and has won a total of five national championships. The likes of Barry Bonds, Paul Lo Duca, Andre Ethier, Jason Kipnis, Ian Kinsler, Dustin Pedroia, Mike Leake, Fernando Viña and a ton of other MLB greats called Packard home in their college days. But in the search for more revenue, Packard will become a sacrificial lamb and be torn down when the program moves off-campus in 2014.
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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".
Right when you walk in behind home plate, there are a couple concession stands that offer the generic hot dogs, nachos, sodas and pretzels that you expect at any stadium. They do offer ice cream sandwiches and frozen lemonade, but that's about as exotic as it gets at those concession stands. The food is sort of expensive, $4 hot dogs, $3.50 water, etc.
Down the left field line, there is a family plaza that has a concession stand offering some different food, like chicken tenders, barbeque sandwiches, nachos, cotton candy. The chicken tenders and fries were pretty good, but again, a little pricy. But it's definitely worth going over to check it out, and there are a couple of picnic tables on the patio for people to sit. It's also where all the handicap seating is.
The scenery around Packard is as spectacular as it gets in the middle of the desert. Off in the distance, the Superstition Mountains line the horizon. Out beyond left field, Tempe Town Lakes offer a nice change from the typical sand. Beyond right field, the award-winning Karsten Golf Course stretches all the way down Rio Salado. You can even see the ASU softball stadium, and the ASU track stadium from Packard. And if you go up to the top of the grandstands and look west down the Loop 202, you can see the lights of the future ASU home, Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
The outfield fence is chain link, but is lined with shrubs and palm trees to help block out the traffic. The scoreboard is in left-center field, but lacks any kind of video board or place to put extra stats. In center field is the Tempe version of the Green Monster, which really acts as a place to put ads on the other side facing the streets.
Almost all of the seats in the main grandstand are metal benches, with just a few comfortable seats at field level. So definitely bring some kind of pillow or seat cushion if you plan on sitting here. There are also two grass berms for general admission seating, one down each baseline. There is more room down the right field line, but there are more trees and more food options down the left field line. You can bring in your own chairs for sitting down there, or you can get there early enough to sit at one of the picnic tables.
The ASU dugout and bullpen are also down the left field line, with their clubhouse being underneath the family pavilion area. The visitors sit in the first base dugout, and have a bullpen area down the right field line. There is also a practice infield down the right field line, but is not allowed to be used during games. One thing that is interesting is that if you are sitting in the general admission area, you are more than welcome to bring your dog to any game, not just a special Bark in the Park Day. Kind of a nice touch.
Since everything is metal benches, it can get kind of warm during a day game, so bring an umbrella or something with you to cool off. During the middle of the third inning, there is a Chicken Dance contest, where if Sparky the Sun Devil sees you, you can win a prize. Also, every middle of the 8th, they play the ASU fight song, which people don't really sing. And a 50/50 raffle happens every game.
The portion of campus that Packard Stadium is in is extremely nice, and has a ton of stuff that you can do before and after games. Firstly, all of the athletics facilities are packed in right next to each other, so if you are looking to go to a basketball game at Wells Fargo Arena, a football game at Sun Devil Stadium, or even a softball game, track meet, soccer game, golf invitational, or swim meet, they are all in the same basic area.
Mill Avenue is the most popular spot in Tempe to go hang out with some friends. There is a huge variety of dining, including fast food, sports bars, sandwich shops, and nice sit down restaurants. Whatever you are looking for you can find on Mill Ave. The area has tons of shopping, as well as art galleries and a wide variety of events throughout the year.
If you are looking for a more typical shopping center, Tempe Marketplace is a mile to the east of Packard Stadium. This also includes a huge variety of dining and shopping options for the entire family. There are live concerts and events during the year, as well as a movie theatre here.
The best part of taking in any sporting event at Arizona State is probably the things that you do before and after. They have developed the entire area so that people of any age can stay right around the stadiums and still be able to eat and shop wherever they could possibly desire. You can park at the free parking lots in between Packard and Sun Devil Stadium, and then either walk or take the light rail to wherever you want to go.
The Sun Devils always draw a pretty good sized crowd, but you can barely tell that there are a lot of people at the game. The only time that you really hear anything from the crowd is when there are 2 strikes and 2 outs when they start slow clapping, or if there is a call that goes against ASU. Other than that it is pretty much just a bunch of people sitting quietly, taking in a baseball game. Also, from my experience in the general admission area, it doesn't seem like a lot of them understand the nuances of baseball, and complain about things that are pretty typical in a college baseball game.
The stadium is very easy to get to, and there is plenty of free parking when you get to it. Since it is located just off of the Loop 202 and the Loop 101, people from all directions can get to it without any problems. The free parking is located on the west side of the stadium just across Packard Drive from the ticket office and main entrance. The parking is covered too after ASU put in solar panels over those parking lots. There are plenty of mass transit options, and the new light rail system has a station right across the street. The light rail basically ends right there, but does run to Downtown Phoenix. Day passes for the light rail are just $4. The light rail goes to Sky Harbor Airport as well, so if you are flying in it is possible to do the entire trip without a rental car.
There are plenty of bathrooms for everyone; some are located down both lines, and a couple right behind home plate. There are no lines, even when the stadium is mostly full. The food lines in the family pavilion get kind of long since that is the only place with a variety, but it's confined to just that one area. The pavilion is also the only handicap access.
Tickets are a little on the expensive side for a college baseball game ($6-$22), and the food is a lot more expensive than most college baseball stadiums. It seems like they can get away with charging more money than most places though because of the strong tradition of baseball at Arizona State. It certainly doesn't seem to affect how many people come to the games, as ASU is near the top of the list for attendance on the west coast year in and year out. Expect to spend about $25-$30 dollars per person a night at the ballpark. Parking being free and close to the stadium and covered certainly helps with the cost though.
I like the whole feel of Packard; the high grandstands, the lawn seating down each line, the family pavilion, and the view beyond the outfield. It all adds up to a great baseball experience.
Along the outfield fence are honored numbers of some of the greats that have come through the Sun Devil program. The five national titles are also displayed down the right field line, right where the visiting team can stare at them in pregame warmups and when they're in the bullpen. When you walk into the stadium, some banners and murals have even more of the rich history of ASU Baseball displayed for everyone to see.
It's just a cool place to go see a game. The area around it is great, and the feel of seeing a game there is very unique. It'll be sad to see it go.
Member Review by JasonBartel on Apr 25, 2012
Located on the campus of Arizona State University, Packard Stadium has a very relaxing feeling and a unique set up for fans. It is conveniently located at the corner of Rural and Rio Salado in Tempe, making it easy to access no matter which direction you’re coming from. The view from the stands is very nice, with the Tempe Town Lakes just beyond the outfield wall, and a very nice mountain landscape in the distance.
There is a lot of history at this stadium, with the 16 jerseys retired in the outfield, with names including Rick Monday, Kevin Romine, Paul Lo Duca, Reggie Jackson and Barry Bonds among others. They’ve also had 5 national championship seasons at Arizona State, with the last one being in 1981.
Member Review by megminard on Mar 23, 2014
The 2015 season will see the Sun Devils playing in Phoenix Municipal Stadium just a few miles away.
Packard Stadium will be torn down and I hear replaced with a new soccer field.
Select home games at Packard Stadium in 2014 honored different decades of player, coaches, and staff. The game I attended honored 1980-1989 individuals and Barry Bonds, Kendall Carter, Alvin Davis, Mike Devereaux, and Bert Martinez were on hand to throw out the first pitch.
I’m glad to got the opportunity to visit Packard Stadium before the wrecking ball demolishes the park. I should have taken more photos.
4 E University
Tempe, AZ 85281
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