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Official Review by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Salt River Fields at Talking Stick is the new (in 2011) spring training facility for both the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Prior to the 2011 season, both teams had facilities in Tucson, AZ. The move north by these teams brings the entire Cactus League to the Phoenix, AZ area.
“Salt River Fields” alerts baseball fans that they are visiting the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
”Fields” refers to the 12 practice fields located within the facility and also the Community’s rich agricultural history.
”Talking Stick” is a historical reference to the traditional Pima calendar stick on which carvers recorded historical events and milestones.
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".
This stadium has a large variety of food and drink. The 101 Cattle Company offers fantastic burgers and the like; Dos Rios provides southwestern fare; Home Plate Hot Dogs offers a variety of different hot dog options; there's a Cold Stone Creamery (ice cream); Verde Grill (traditional ball fare); and even a concession stand that sells salads. There is a stand that sells chocolate dipped fruit on a stick and another one with pizza.
There is a variety of beer offered throughout the stadium (domestic and premier), though no local brews. On both the third base and left field concourse there are Leinenkugel stands that sell both a cherry and a honey brew. I got a 'mix' - half cherry and half honey brew and it was perfect. There is a daiquiris stand on the concourse, as well, for those hot Arizona afternoon games.
As mentioned in other AZ spring training reviews, a fan can only buy one beer at a time. If you are getting a beer for yourself and a friend, either bring your friend with you or plan on making two trips.
One can walk around the entire stadium and not miss a pitch or hit of the game. There is standing room only tickets available as well as many grassy berm seating options. The standing room only tickets have a ledge where one can place their beverage, food, camera, scorecard, or bag while watching the game. One can peer over both bullpens and watch the pitchers warm up.
Dignity Health provides free SPF 30 sunscreen on the first base side concourse.
The history comes from the name and from the game that was played in this area of the country in days gone by. For more than 2,000 years, people have played ball games in the Americas. In Arizona, more than 200 ball courts have been discovered. During the period of history when the ancestors of the Pimas, the Huhugam culture, flourished, dozens of ball courts were in action in the valley.
Logo: The logo incorporates a rattlesnake to symbolize the Arizona Diamondbacks and a mountain to symbolize the Colorado Rockies.
They did play music while announcing the starting lineup which is a pet peeve of mine. The Diamondbacks' organist, Bobby Freeman, is located right on the concourse behind home plate at Salt River Fields. Click here for an entertaining interview of the organist (it's 3:16 minutes and worth it).
The stadium is walking distance from The Pavilions at Talking Stick shopping center. A suggestion if you go - park in the Target lot (it's free - pick up an item or two from Target if you've forgotten something) on Indian Bend Rd and walk towards the movie theater to get to the park. Google Maps says it's .8 miles to the stadium but from Target it is less than a .25 mile stroll.
On your short walk to Salt River Fields, there is a YC's Mongolian Grill. It offers a 'make your own' stir fry with different choices of sauces, meats, vegetables, and noodles. It's a great place to go, eat, and pass time if you're doing a double header at Salt River Fields.
It was another sell-out crowd at the Diamondbacks game. The lawn area was packed; the standing room only area was packed.
There are three entryways to Salt River Fields. The first base side (Rockies side), third base side (Diamondbacks side), and behind home plate (main ticket booth is located here).
There are plenty of stalls in the bathroom and it was clean and flood free.
As mentioned previously, park in the Target Department Store lot. There appeared to be only one two-way road in and out of the stadium; there was lots of traffic leaving the parking areas.
There are three entryways to Salt River Fields. The first base side (Rockies side - which is how I entered); third base side (Diamondbacks side), and behind home plate (main ticket booth is located here).
There are plenty of stalls in the bathroom and it was clean and flood free. After the end of the game there was a line to the ladies room, but it moved quickly.
Seeing a baseball game in March, in warm Arizona, after a long, baseball-less winter is worth the price of admission. Tickets range from $8 (lawn seating) to $26 (infield box). I found the concession prices for food and beer to be expensive. The items in the gift shop(s) - there are three gift shops - were major league prices.
One point for the free sunscreen; another for being able to get a free printed copy of the starting line ups and rosters from any of the customer service tables; another for the available customer service and security reps throughout the concourse; and a final one for the go-carts that can transport folks to the stadium entranceway.
Would I go back? Yes, absolutely.
Side note: The scoreboard was hard to read; it was very cluttered. Bring binoculars when you go.
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