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Official Review by Jason Bartel, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The AZL Mariners are one of many professional teams that call Peoria Sports Complex home throughout the year. During the summer, they share the grounds with the AZL Padres and Arizona United SC. In the spring, the Mariners and Padres both hold their Spring Training at the facility, and during the fall, the Peoria Javelinas will likely return in 2015 as certain stadium renovations have forced them out during 2013 and ’14. The main Mariners practice field is where the AZL Mariners call home in the summer months. The field is located directly behind Seattle’s clubhouse, training facilities, and offices. As is the case with all of the Arizona League teams, the baseball experience is simplistic, but that’s what gives it that certain charm.
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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".
There is a concession stand located down the right field line, but was closed when I visited. If you feel the need to buy food, the AZL Padres concession stand is open when they are playing, and you can walk to it by going around the main stadium at Peoria. You can also bring your own food to the game.
The strangest part about the setup for the AZL Mariners is that the bigger, closer bleachers are actually next to the visiting dugout, which is on the first base line. Those bleachers have a shade structure above them, but the sun goes behind the Mariners' clubhouse not too long after the game starts (AZL games typically start at 7 PM local). The visiting bullpen is also easily accessible from here, but getting to the Mariner bullpen is impossible. Lawn seating and places to set up your camping chair are along the first base line too. There is no scoreboard at this field, so if you have a smart phone, be sure to pull up the live box score on MiLB.com. Also, the backstop behind home plate is solid along the very bottom, so sitting behind home plate is impossible. There is no music, no announcers. Just baseball.
The area around Peoria Sports Complex is what makes it the place to watch AZL games. The Mariners are located on the southern half, which puts the parking lot right across the street from the Harkins Theaters. Also right across the street are Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, Buca Di Beppo and Texas Roadhouse. Also in the immediate area are Cheesecake Factory, Famous Dave's BBQ, Salty Seńorita, and a lot more. Arrowhead Towne Center offers more fast food choices, as well as another movie theater with an AMC. For hotels, most of the major chains all have a location located at the Bell Rd. exit on the 101 Fwy. For even more entertainment options, AZ Ice Peoria is just down the road as well. There's just so much to do in this area of Peoria.
The Mariners had a nice, little group of hardcore fans there cheering them on, which is a rare sight for these types of games. Those fans knew all the players' names, and would cheer for them after every at bat and every good pitch. I'm sure those players appreciate that support.
Peoria Sports Complex is located just off the Loop 101 Agua Fria Fwy at the Bell Rd. exit. From there, just two blocks down 83rd Ave. brings you right to the stadium. To get to the Mariners' field, you can turn at either Stadium Way or Mariners Way. Both those roads will take you to the parking area next to the clubhouse. You'll want to park close to the Mariners' main building, as that's the easiest way to get to the field. Just walk through the staff parking lot and that'll take you right to the main set of bleachers. The bathrooms are located in the concession stand near the right field foul pole.
There are no tickets, and parking is free. Combine this with all of the pre and post game entertainment in the area, and going to a Mariners game is certainly worth it. I feel that Peoria is the best place to go to AZL games just based on the immediate area and how close the Loop 101 is.
Giving the neighborhood the nod for the extra point here.
Again, Peoria is the place to go for these games. The Padres have a little bit more going for them as far as facilities are concerned, but Mariners games aren't bad either. I definitely recommend going here over any of the other complexes used for AZL play.
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16067 N Arrowhead Fountains Center Dr
Peoria, AZ 85382
16091 N Arrowhead Fountains Center Dr
Peoria, AZ 85382
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